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Research Report

The Trilateral Bond:: Mapping a New Era for Latin America, the United States, and Europe

José María Aznar
Christopher J. Dodd
Frances G. Burwell
Gabriel Sánchez Zinny
Copyright Date: May. 1, 2013
Published by: Atlantic Council
Pages: 39
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-1)
    Frederick Kempe

    For too long, the United States and Europe have failed to embrace Latin America as a partner in a broader transatlantic community. Modern Latin America, like the United States, springs from a common European heritage and shares the historical, political, and philosophical roots that bind the West so closely together. The region is of growing strategic importance, with its expanding markets, energy resources, and global economic reach. But while Latin America is changing rapidly, the United States and Europe have been slow to sufficiently recognize and embrace this new world, missing crucial policy and business opportunities.

    To remain competitive globally,...

  2. (pp. 2-2)
    Christopher J. Dodd and José María Aznar

    We want to extend our thanks and appreciation to the members and staff of the Atlantic Council’s Transatlantic Task Force on Latin America (“the Task Force”) who have worked collaboratively over the last seven months to produce a report that should be food for thought for policymakers in the United States, Europe, and Latin America seeking a new vision for a transatlantic partnership. Without a doubt, these three geographic regions share common interests, concerns, and aspirations. Given increased instability in other regions around the globe, the Task Force concluded that the time has come to build upon these similarities in...

  3. (pp. 8-10)

    It is time to redefine the transatlantic partnership. Economic challenges continue to test the European Union. The United States is slowly emerging from five years of low growth and high unemployment, while its political system has been plagued by severe partisanship. Yet the United States and the European Union together make up roughly 40 percent of the global economy and remain the most innovative and productive regions with the world’s highest standard of living. By 2060, however, they are expected to comprise only 24 percent of the global economy.¹

    To remain competitive—economically, politically, and strategically—they must expand their...

  4. (pp. 11-12)

    Underlying the specific policy issues examined in this report is the bedrock of shared values that form a foundation for this transatlantic partnership. Latin America shares historical, ideological, and political roots with Europe and the United States, and the continued success of all three partners depends on reinvigorating and deepening this community of values.

    Individual rights, open societies, and strong democratic institutions are the central pillars of the Western political tradition. This is not without its conflicts and contradictions—from the impositions of colonial powers to the waves of “democratic interruptions” and military regimes throughout Latin America—but it remains...

  5. (pp. 13-17)

    Although much attention has been focused on the economic rise of Asia, it is Latin America that is the fastest-growing trade partner of the United States. The European Union is the largest single foreign investor in Latin America, accounting for 39 percent of total foreign direct investment (FDI) in the region in 2011. The European Union is also the leading recipient of Brazilian exports and its foremost trading partner, importing primarily agricultural goods and accounting for 21.7 percent of Brazil’s total trade. The United States is a top national investor in the region and supplied 18 percent of total FDI...

  6. (pp. 18-21)

    Competitiveness is the cornerstone of economic development and growth. The United States, Europe, and Latin America must each address key issues if the transatlantic economy is to remain competitive in the global marketplace. Quality education is key to building competitiveness in a globalized, high-skill international economy. Education—including primary, technical, and secondary—is a key factor in enabling entrepreneurship and is thus a prime motor for spreading wealth, enhancing social mobility, boosting job creation, and encouraging technological innovation.

    Each year, the World Bank’s Doing Business Report measures economic competitiveness in over 180 countries by ranking each country on a variety...

  7. (pp. 22-27)

    Global energy supplies and markets are facing a great transformation—a transformation that could provide a significant opportunity for the Americas and Europe. While consumption is likely to grow most significantly in China and India, the Americas are expected to become even more significant global energy suppliers. Canada is already a major exporter of oil and natural gas, primarily to the United States. The United States is in the midst of developing unconventional oil and gas resources, and is expected to become an energy exporter around 2030 and perhaps eclipsing the Middle East as soon as 2020.21 Latin America is...

  8. (pp. 28-31)

    For too long, security issues have dominated the media in both Latin America and the United States. Although much of the criminal activity related to the “war on drugs” takes place within Latin America’s borders, the drug trade is a transatlantic, even global, phenomenon, with many elements originating outside of Latin America. Therefore, any solution must be transatlantic in nature. An initial step toward promoting real and broader partnership requires enlarging the narrow “war on drugs” framework to address citizen security across the board: rule of law, capacity-building, lessons learned, and community engagement.

    The dynamics of the transnational narcotics trade...

  9. (pp. 32-34)

    If the postwar experience of the traditional, US-European transatlantic relationship provides any lessons, it is that strong international partnerships require not only a congruence of interests and community of values, but also a set of key projects and an institutional framework.

    That framework is essential if a partnership is to move from an ad hoc, occasional arrangement, to one in which the partners routinely consult and take the interests of the others into account. The US-European space is thick with institutions dealing with issues ranging from collective security and human rights to trade relations and regulatory policy. There are regular...