Amid the numerous crises sweeping the nation, President Joe Biden will be pitching leaders an ambitious economic agenda when he travels to Los Angeles to attend the Summit of the Americas. However, the agenda will not be including new trade agreements.
The President will outline a proposal aimed at mobilizing new investments, facilitating inclusive trade, fortifying supply chains, promoting decarbonization and biodiversity, and updating the “social contract” between governments and the people. The proposal will be released on Wednesday and called “The Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity.”
“The overall objective is to build our economies from the bottom up and the middle out by building on the foundation established by our free trade agreements with the region to better address the inequality and lack of economic opportunity and equity,” shared a senior administration official.
The partnership is among the many initiatives the administration will cover throughout the triad days summit. It is meant to recover the rift that came about when world leaders speculated who would get invited, as well as the sense that the administration would give domestic issues priority over economic engagement.
When Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua were excluded, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador revealed he would not attend the gathering.
Another agenda for the administration is improving ties with its neighbors in the south to address topics like immigration and climate change and to discuss the growing economic and political influence of its geopolitical rival, China. However, the President’s proposal seems unlikely to satisfy Latin American countries’ desire for more trade access to the United States.
“I really worry America has sort of walked away from our engagement in Central and Latin America, and I think it’s going to take a deliberate, concerted effort to re-engage,” said House Ways and Means Committee’s member and free trade vocal supporter Rep. Kevin Brady. “I don’t see that happening at the Americas summit, principally because the whole world knows the president’s not interested in enforceable trade agreements that can help boost investment in two-way trade.”
Biden will likely bring up the economic agenda and health initiatives on the summit’s first day, while Thursday will focus on climate change and food security. For the final day, leaders will address the topic of migration.
Opinions expressed by NY Weekly contributors are their own.