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  • Author: Melanne Verveer
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: When I attended the first Summit of the Americas in Miami in 1994, only two female heads of state represented their countries: Dominica and Nicaragua. This past April at the Sixth Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, five of the presidents and prime ministers representing the 33 participating countries were women: from Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago. Their presence was an important example of the progress the hemisphere—and its women—have made. In fact, the region continues to make progress in a variety of areas. Latin America and the Caribbean are tackling ongoing challenges head-on, including promoting girls' education, improving women's and girls' health, facilitating women's political participation, and expanding women's economic opportunities. Governments throughout the hemisphere are increasingly recognizing that no country can get ahead if it leaves half of its people behind.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: America, Brazil, Caribbean
  • Author: Lourdes Melgar
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The time is ripe for a historic transformation of Mexico's energy sector. The 2008 Reforma Energética (Energy Reform)—a congressionally-approved presidential initiative that established or modified seven laws—highlighted the significant challenges facing the Mexican oil industry and the economic implications of a decline in oil production. The problem: it didn't resolve them. With the exception of Andrés Manuel López Obrador of the Partido de la Revolución Democrática (Party of the Democratic Revolution—PRD), for the first time in Mexican politics the presidential candidates this year set out a series of bold institutional reforms. These included what was unthinkable years ago: turning the state-owned enterprise, Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), into an autonomous firm that could issue stock shares—a model similar to the one adopted by Brazil's Petrobras in the 1990s.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Mexico
  • Author: Peter Klingstone, Lisa Schineller
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Is Brazil's economy too commodity-dependent? Yes: Peter Kingstone; No: Lisa Schineller In this issue: Brazil's reliance on commodity exports threatens its medium- and long-term growth prospects. Brazil's economic success is based on more than the demand for natural resources.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Brazil
  • Author: Olivia Ruggles-Brise
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Latin America's travel and tourism industry took a hit during the 2008–2009 recession. International arrivals slowed and tourists had less money to spend. But over the longer term, tourism has been a success story—and forecasts suggest continued growth. That should surprise no one. Latin America's sheer diversity in scenic beauty, cuisine and cultures has combined with an increasingly sophisticated domestic industry to cater to every kind of traveler. Since 2006, tourism's direct contribution to GDP in Latin America has grown by 7 percent in real terms—more than double the world average—to reach an estimated $134 billion in 2011. This figure, which is projected to rise to $224 billion in 2022, includes revenue generated by tourism-oriented services such as hotels and airlines, as well as restaurant and leisure industries that cater to tourists. Forecasts for this year suggest tourism's direct contributions will grow by 6.5 percent, behind only Northeast and South Asia (6.7 percent).
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Brazil, Latin America
  • Author: Leani García
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: There's no denying it; whether it's share of trade or percent of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the hemi sphere, the U.S.' economic presence has decreased. Even when the U.S. didn't slip a place in terms of a trade partner, its overall share of countries' imports or exports declined across the board, while other countries' increased—especially China's. In the same period, in Argentina and Brazil, the share of U.S. FDI declined by 22% and 27%, respectively.
  • Topic: Economics, Foreign Direct Investment
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Argentina, Latin America
  • Author: Alejandro M. Werner, Oya Celasun
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Latin America has bounced back economically in the past decade. Between 2002 and 2012, the region has seen strong and stable growth, low inflation and improved economic fundamentals. As a result, the weight of the region in global economic output increased from about 6 percent in the 1990s to 8 percent in 2012. With that has come a greater voice in the global economy.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Seth Colby
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: In November 2009, the cover of The Economist showed the iconic Christ statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro blasting off into outer space. This image, along with the cover headline, "Brazil Takes Off," represented the Carnaval-like euphoria about Brazil that infected journalists and financial markets at the time, buoyed by the country's impressive economic performance in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis.
  • Topic: Economics, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Prost, Brazil! Grab a stein-full of caipirinha and stroll down to Ipanema beach in your lederhosen—it's Germany-Brazil Year in Brazil. The yearlong festival, aimed at deepening German-Brazilian relations, kicked off in May with the opening of the German-Brazilian Economic Forum in São Paulo. “Brazil is one of the most successful new centers of power in the world,” says Guido Westerwelle, Germany's foreign minister. “We want to intensify cooperation with Brazil, not only economically but also culturally.” It's no surprise that Brazil, the sixth-largest economy in the world, has caught the attention of Europe's financial powerhouse. Brazil is Germany's most important trading partner in Latin America, accounting for $14.2 billion in imports in 2012. With some 1,600 German companies in Brazil providing 250,000 jobs and 17 percent of industrial GDP, it's an economic relationship that clearly has mutual benefits.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Environment
  • Political Geography: United States, New York, Europe, Brazil, Germany, Mexico
  • Author: Robert A. Boland, Victor A. Matheson
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: The urgency and scale of hosting can provide a needed boost to public investment and transform a country's image, infrastructure and business conditions beyond the games. BY ROBERT A. BOLAND Do megasports events contribute to economic development? Yes Following the 2014 World Cup? Read more coverage here. In the next two years, Brazil will host the three largest mega sports events in the world: the 2014 FIFA World Cup this summer, and then the Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Rio in 2016. Other nations in the Americas and across the globe will be watching to see if Brazil's hosting duties lead to broad-based, lasting growth, or are merely an expensive distraction. While history provides examples of both scenarios, hosting such megaevents can provide lasting and transformative value, including to developing nations. Megaevents can accelerate the process of planning for and executing much-needed public investment, while the host countries or cities can rebrand themselves as safe for investment and trade, and as a destination for tourism. For democratic governments, the construction blitz around megaevents can cut through political deadlock, representing the best available chance to quickly bring about focused and necessary change. The ability to develop infrastructure that can improve the quality of life, health and economic strength of the host nation is key. Hosts with plans focusing on self-improvement, investment and the enlargement of existing assets tend to fare better than countries that simply build competition venues.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: America, Brazil
  • Author: Paulo Sotero
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Brazil
  • Author: Roberto Setubal
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Gradually and firmly over the past 15 years, Brazil has consolidated a stable democracy, broken free from macroeconomic instability, and taken remarkable steps toward alleviating poverty and reducing a historically high level of income inequality. The country that welcomed Dilma Rousseff as its new president on January 1 is also the country that will host the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. Ms. Rousseff has a chance to push Brazil further along the road to development. To get there, she must maintain the achievements of the past and persevere in making the changes that Brazil needs. The opportunities are big—so are the challenges. Brazil's political, economic and social advances have paved the way for the development of a large consumer market. This puts the country in a position to benefit from today's global marketplace. Consumer spending in advanced economies is flattening out. At the same time, with their large potential consumer markets, emerging markets are becoming “consumers of last resort,” attracting an increasing share of global resources. Brazil is one of them. A new, larger middle class is now emerging. From 2003 to 2009, about 35.7 million people joined Brazil's middle-class income bracket. By 2014, Brazilian economists and business leaders estimate that another 30 million will have made that move. This development will have far-reaching implications for businesses, but also for society as a whole. Investment is very likely to rise in the years ahead. New projects now follow the expected consumer patterns of this new middle class. Investment is spurred by macroeconomic stability and other developments that have increased confidence and enabled a slow but steady decline in real interest rates. This has lowered the cost of capital and stimulated credit and capital markets. Investments will also increase for more specific reasons. First, the new deepwater oil fields will require vast financial resources and new technology, allowing Brazil's oil production to double by 2020. Second, pent-up demand for housing will be a catalyst for investment, since a significant number of Brazilians still live in sub-standard homes. Third, the World Cup and Olympics will require investments on a considerable scale. Preparing for these large sports events will benefit diverse sectors of the economy, through spending on ports and airports, urban transportation, sports facilities, hotels, telecommunications, energy, and security. Tourism is likely to benefit during the games, and also afterward. Nevertheless, with public and private domestic savings at their current low levels, Brazil will need to continue tapping external savings to finance growth. That means a larger current-account deficit and an exchange rate appreciated by capital inflows. Brazil will have to make the most of its available resources. It will be essential to create an environment that is conducive to private sector saving and investment. Ensuring stable macroeconomic conditions is critical. Remaining market-friendly in a well-regulated environment is also crucial for healthy and abundant financing. A well-established institutional design for regulatory agencies, which instills the necessary confidence that the private sector can undertake major, long-term projects, is indispensable. A great deal can be achieved through small but focused changes, instead of ambitious but often unrealistic regulatory agendas. The advance in credit regulation in Brazil is one such example. Developing a deeper market for private, fixed-income securities is important, but there needs to be a liquid secondary market, so that families have more confidence in extending the maturities on their investments. Just as we have such a market for equities, we can have one for fixed-income securities...
  • Topic: Security, Economics
  • Political Geography: Brazil
  • Author: Raul Rivera
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Most people have grown used to thinking about Latin America as a region of marginal global importance: painfully poor, violent, politically and economically unstable and, to top it all, fragmented into some 20-odd countries, each one different from the other. So when Jerry Wind, founding editor of Wharton School Publishing, invited me to speak on Latin America at a Wharton conference aimed at senior U.S. executives, I wondered what a group of U.S. businesspeople would be interested to hear about the region. Who, after all, would want to do business in a place like that? But how accurate are those perceptions? As I prepared for my talk, my conclusion was: not much. Let's address the four principal myths about the region one by one. Myth 1: Latin America Really Does not Matter Economically To start, the territory of continental Latin America is larger than the U.S. and China combined, four times larger than the European Union, and seven times larger than India—a country roughly the size of Argentina. With almost every ecosystem represented, it is in fact the world's most biodiverse region, containing five of the world's ten most biodiverse countries. The region's bio-capacity (the biological productivity of the land measured in hectares per capita) is also larger than any other's. Witness the region's role in the global food chain: it is the largest producer of soybeans, coffee, sugar, bananas, orange juice, a leading fishmeal producer, and a major grain and meat exporter. Its mineral riches keep world industry running: silver, gold, copper, zinc, lead, tin, bismuth, molybdenum, rhenium, telurium, borium, strontium—you name it. And it produces one out of every six barrels of oil. In fact, much of the global community depends on Latin America's vast riches for its prosperity—indeed, for its survival. To that point: the Amazon basin plays a crucial role in the recycling of atmospheric carbon, absorbing one fourth of all global emissions. Latin America's population, now approaching 600 million, is twice that of the U.S. and significantly larger than the combined population of the European Union. Those numbers do not include some 50 million U.S. permanent residents and citizens who trace their origins back to the region (and keep close ties with it). By 2050, the region's population will have risen to an estimated 800 million. Latin America is not poor either. It boasts a per-capita GDP similar to the global average: $10,000. It is no richer or poorer than the rest of the world. In fact, 400 million people, or two-thirds of all Latin Americans, already belong to the global middle class, with their purchasing power fueling much of Latin America's growth. With some 200 million people still living in poverty, Latin America's poor are still numerous. But their ranks are declining fast, at a rate of 5 million a year over the past decade. As a result, its Gini coefficient improved by 10 percent between 2002 and 2008. In brief: the world's poor are now elsewhere—mainly in Asia and Africa. A population this large combined with average income levels have turned Latin America into the fourth largest economy in the world, with a regional GDP of some $6 trillion (purchasing power parity). That is larger than that of Russia and India's combined—larger, in fact, than that of any country or region other than the U.S., the EU and China. Not bad for a “region of marginal importance.” You could argue that Latin America's fragmentation into small, separate markets makes all the difference. But you would be wrong. As a result of the free-market reforms of the past decades, Latin America's economy is now the most open to trade in the developing world, with average tariffs down to 10 percent or less. Intraregional trade is booming. Most significantly, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru have signed bilateral free-trade agreements (with both the EU and the U.S., though Colombia's is waiting for the U.S. Congress' approval). These agreements are giving rise to a free-trade zone of some 200 million consumers, larger than Brazil and fully open to global trade. Surprisingly, it does not yet have a name—or a space among the BRICs. It will, though. Let's name these four countries the L-4 for now...
  • Topic: Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, India, Brazil, Colombia, Latin America, Mexico, Chile, Peru
  • Author: Robert A. Pastor
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Two decades ago, the leaders of Canada, Mexico and the United States forged an agreement that transformed North America from just a geographical expression to the world's most formidable economic entity. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) eliminated most of the trade and investment barriers that had segmented the continent. Within a decade, trade among the three countries tripled and foreign direct investment (FDI) quintupled. By 2001, the three nations of North America accounted for 36 percent of the world product—up from 30 percent in 1994. And while many economists have waxed enthusiastic about the growing power of Brazil, U.S. trade with Mexico today is more than six times larger than its trade with Brazil. Unfortunately, since 2001 regional cooperation has stagnated. NAFTA, designed to expand trade and investment, has proven too limited in addressing the current issues facing the three countries. The time has come for the leaders of North America to recommit to regional integration if they want to effectively address the policy issues facing the region. For example, in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, NAFTA can play a major role in job creation. A revamped agreement can potentially double exports and allow North America to once again compete with integrated markets in Asia and Europe. Beyond jobs, enhanced coordination and information sharing among NAFTA partners will allow for better control of immigration and the flow of illicit drugs across our borders. Finally, strengthening ties will begin to close the development gap between Mexico and its two neighbors, fortifying the economic and political bloc. The Rise and Fall of North America Though NAFTA has long faded from the headlines, the agreement's first years showed much promise. When the North American market was created in 1992, the impact was almost immediate. Contrary to the claim by U.S. presidential candidate Ross Perot that American jobs would be “sucked” into Mexico, the dramatic increase in North American trade coincided with the largest wave of job creation in U.S. history. Between 1992 and 2000, roughly 22 million jobs were added in the U.S., while trade with and FDI in Canada and Mexico grew more than 17 percent each year. The combination of expanded trade and investment meant that the three countries were actually making products together rather than just trading them. By combining U.S. capital and technology with Mexico's cheaper labor and Canada's abundant resources, the enlarged North American market experienced rapid growth, while Europe stagnated. From the onset of the U.S.-Canadian Free Trade Agreement in 1988 to 2001, trade among Mexico, Canada and the U.S., as a percentage of their trade with the world, leapt from 36 percent to 46 percent. The decline of the integration idea could be dated to the spring of 2001, when Presidents Vicente Fox of Mexico and George W. Bush of the U.S. met Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien in Québec. Fox and his Foreign Minister Jorge Castañeda arrived with a suitcase filled with proposals, such as a North American Commission, a “cohesion” fund to reduce the development gap, a customs union and an immigration agreement. But Chrétien was not interested in including Mexico in Canada's talks with the U.S., and Bush rejected any new multilateral institution or fund. The opportunity for progress was lost. The share of trade among the three countries as a percentage of their trade with the rest of the world dropped from 46 percent in 2001 to 40 percent in 2009—almost to pre-NAFTA levels. The average annual growth of trade among the three countries declined by two-thirds, while growth of foreign direct investment decreased by one-half…
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada, Brazil, North America, Mexico
  • Author: Kevin P. Gallagher, Arturo Sarukhan, Anne-Marie Slaughter, Kurt G. Weyland
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Do traditional models of international relations apply in Latin America?
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Environment, Government
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America, Mexico
  • Author: Andrew Zimbalist
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Americas Quarterly
  • Institution: Council of the Americas
  • Abstract: Can Brazil build the massive infrastructure it needs to host the Olympics and the World Cup?
  • Topic: Corruption, Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Brazil