tv Inter- American Dialogue Annual Development Bank of Latin America Conference CSPAN September 4, 2019 2:02pm-5:57pm EDT
a football game with a great defense if you're not willing to attack, if you're not willing to go to the rim? can you win a tennis game just waiting and standing behind the line? that's basic common sense. but the total military elite, with the exception really of one very important person, believed that that had to be the way france protected itself in the future. but france also had all these -- >> we are going to leave this "american history tv" at this point. you can go to our website to see it in its entirety, c-span.org. we are going to the latin america conference. world leaders are discussing trade and global challenges in latin america. live coverage. >> please turn your attention to a video that we'll be playing
showing and paying tribute to the past 50 year, celebrating 50 years of promoting sustainable development models to credit operations, resources, and support and the technical and financial structuring of projects in the public and private sectors of latin america. welcome. ♪ [ speaking foreign language ]
all right. i hope you guys all enjoyed and video, and welcome once again. to help start off for two days of what promises to be engaging and lively discussions, i would like to introduce the president of cast and also mr. michael shifter who is the president of the inter-american dialogue. they will each offer welcoming remarks to open the conferences.
good afternoon everybody. [ speaking foreign language ] i'm thrilled to welcome all of you to the 23rd annual conference widely known as the cast conference, organized by cast, the development bank of latin-american, the inter-american dialogue. i'm grateful for you joining us at this conference. i want to express special thanks for the support and collaboration in this joint effort. i'm also very pleased to recognize the dialogue two
wonderful co-chairs, former president of costa rica and former undersecretary of state for political affairs tom shannon. i'm grateful to call the dialogue's chair and former trade representative who has given so much and meant so much to this organization. you'll be hearing from all of them during the conference. this conference has undergone dramatic changes. what began as a meeting that brought together 30 to 35 participants in the dialogue's old office to discuss just trade and investment in the andian region. it's now 23 years later a conference with over a thousand registered participants that feature a wide variety of themes, and we meet in this historic hotel. in a world that is increasingly unpredictable with major disruptions in politics, economic, and society, trade wars and threats to democratic
politics is more crucial than ever to have a measure of continuity to focus on current and future challenges in this hemisphere. for the dialogue, this annual gathering is crucial. it gives us an opportunity to bring together and engage diverse leaders of different perspectives and generations not only from this hemisphere but globally from europe, asia, and africa. by reviewing recent developments in the americas and thinking of ways to best advance our goals and our mission of democratic governance, social equity and prosperity in the hemisphere, we can better shape a more relevant agenda and have greater impact in our work. this conference builds on important exercises with two objectives. if first is where dialogue
members assemble to exchange views about democracy, climate change, migration, economic growth, and the current crisis in venezuela. we also took note at that meeting of the increasing parallel with united states and particularly the disruptions that are taking place here. we expect a policy with recommendations to enhance hemisphere cooperations on these issues later this year. the second exercise led to an edited volume earlier this year entitled "unfulfilled promises, latin america today." that was pruzed in english, spanish, and portuguese with launch events in washington, mexico city. it offers a realistic and balanced assessment of recent history and current trends on such issues as the rule of law, crime and violence, poverty
inequality, economic growth, policy making, reintegration, and latin america in the world. as the title of the book suggests, the conclusions were not entirely sanguine. the book contains separate accounts of hopes and progress followed by setbacks and frustration. as the president put it in her introductory essay, latin america is a region particularly identified with unfulfilled promise, untapped potential, and unfinished business. but at the same time all the essays note there is a basis for building a more sustainable path forward. i'm very excited about this conference not only because of the caliber and diversity of the speakers because of the crucial topics that will be discussed. president karansa mentioned
these include global issues, particularly global issues between china and latin america and also the social media and digital revolution that is taking place in latin america and throughout the world. we will also look at the global issues to begin with and how they impact our intersect of latin america and also political shifts in the region since our conference a year ago, two new governments are in place in brazil and mexico, the regions's two largest countries and next month there will be an election in argentina, the third largest economy, where a significant shift is expected. we will conclude with a conversation tomorrow about the current crisis and possible scenarios in venezuela. i think we have an excellent stimulating agenda over the next
day, and i very much hope all of you can stay with us for all of the sessions. finally, i want to thank cast's excellent staff patricia scott and victor rico for their close collaboration. let me give special tribute to our amazing incredible team led by sofia who is a real task master working closely with joan kavino a veteran. thanks to all of you for your tireless efforts and special thanks to all of you for joining us for this conference. i hope you enjoy it. thank you. [ applause ]
>> thank you for those words and opening remarks for our conference. i would now like to introduce ambassador tom shannon. he's the cochair of the board of the inter-american dialogue and will be moderating a conversation with our featuring speaker. she's a former secretary of defense. she was a principle advisory to the secretary of defense in the formulation of national security and defense policy, oversight of militaries plans and operations, and in national security council deliberations. she's managing adviser of west exec and center for new american city, a bipartisan think tank. she was also senior adviser of the center for strategic and
international studies for several years and prior to that a distinguished researcher professor at the institute for strategic studies at the national defense university. ambassador tom shannon has spent more than 30 years in the u.s. foreign service most recently as under secretary of state for political affairs, the third highest ranking position at the state department. during his career, ambassador shannon served in the u.s. foreign service in guatemala, brazil, south africa, and venezuela. mr. ambassador, i am sorry to tell you -- not sure if you know yet -- but there's no more u.s. embassy in venezuela. he's currently also a senior international policy adviser for arnold importer. please help me welcome them to the stage.
>> well, good afternoon. what a tremendous pleasure to be here today at the willard hotel at the calf conference celebrating the calf and the inter-american dialogue. we welcome all of you and looking forward to having a tremendous conference. we are extraordinarily lucky to have with us michelle. you heard her biography today, an extraordinary career, a great public servant, great private sector leader as one of the founders and managing partners of west ec advisers. i can think of no one to better understand the global security environment we face today both strategically but also politically and to understand how it links to our larger concerns here at the calf conference which is to our hemisphere and especially latin america. but also looking into the future
to understand how those global security challenges link with the globalization that is happening in our own hemisphere, especially latin america. michelle, thank you for being with us. we're honored to have you here. and i think it might be good to start with taking a panoramic view of the world and understanding where you think the major global security challenges are right now. and then we can begin to understand how latin america links to that. >> sounds good. thank you for inviting me, and it's an honor to share the stage. so, i guess i would start based on the introductory remarks with china. we all see the rise of china and for many years in the united states, anyway, across multiple administrations, the bush administration, and obama administration, the expectation was that as china rose as a
power and influence, that we could influence their calculus and invite them into the rule space for international order and help them become a responsible stakeholder, a great power that was helping to maintain the international order, and you know, evolve the system. and i think several administrations have put a lot of effort into trying to make that a reality. but i think what we've seen in the last five to seven years really under president xi's leadership is a china that is dropping the veil, a china that is revealing itself to be a much more assertive and in some situations aggressive power that does not necessarily accept the rules of the road in asia or more broadly. and so china is rising and
revealing itself to be more of a revisionist power. and that composes a very differ challenge for the united states and for all of us in that more economically we've seen china's unfair trade practices that make it very difficult for western firms in terms of protecting intellectual property, having fair access to the chinese market, and so forth. we've seen them, in my world, in the military sphere, starting to develop capabilities that are quite worrisome and really seem to be pointed at giving them options to resolve long-standing disputes over territory and resources and sovereignty claims by force if necessary. and we've started to see them exercising some of those capabilities. what you are seeing right now within the economic zone of
vietnam, for example, where china's using the courses means. so, i think the question is how do we both compete effectively with china but also find area of cooperation, climate change, proliferation, and so forth, that also continue to try to insent china to play by the rules or at least deter them from not using outright aggression to try to change the status quo. >> in that regard, obviously china is a big issue here in washington now. there's a big debate about how to address china. there seems to be a growing consensus around the idea you mentioned of trying to require china to be responsive to the needs of other countries and global rules of the road. but there seems to be a division in washington itself about how
you do that and what the ultimate purpose is and whether or not you can have an accommodation with china or whether the united states needs to decouple from china in some fashion. how would you frame that, and what would be your recommendation? >> so, i think we all recognize the china problem. my concern is that the u.s. approach is not likely to be effectively and actually may have some second and third order effects that are helpful to us. so, what do i mean by that? first of all, when you talk about the trade issues, the unfair practices, these are not issues that the united states alone is dealing with. many of our allies in europe, in asia, latin america, elsewhere, we're all dealing with this. it would have been far more effective to ban together as like-minded states to try to use the institutions we have like the wto to push back on china collectively.
when we've seen that happen in say the security domain, when the countries of the region have pushed back against china when they've crossed a line or gone too far, china tends to take a step back. but we've deprived ourselves of that natural strength by treating this as a strictly bilateral problem and by using the very narrow, narrow metric of trade metrics and using tariffs as a tool. so, i think i would like to see an approach that really uses the institutions and the tools that we have, creates a coalition of states that want to push back on china. and i think that's much more likely to get an appropriate response from china. this notion of decoupling, honestly in a globalized environment economy where you have international supply chains for almost every product that
you can think of, i don't know what that means. i mean, i'm also building very high walls around national security technologies and capabilities that we absolutely want to protect. but i don't think it's in our interest to try to disintegrate china. a, i don't think it's really possible. b, i think it would be costly to us. and c, if you ever want to -- if it really comes to a potential conflict with china, one of the ways to deter them from taking an aggressive move is to help them realize how much cost they would bear as an integrated economy. you want them to feel the pain of being integrated into the international system and all the costs that would bring if they chose to launch aggression. >> china has replaced the united states as the number one trading partner in several south american countries, of
significance importance to the united states such as brazil, chile, peru, and others. this is an area of concern for the united states. we still dominate in the area of avid value trade and the economic relationship between these countries and the united states, while maybe not as large in terms of volume, is certainly better in terms of quality. however, as china begins to move up the technological scale, and especially as it begins to show an intent to dominate in areas like 5g and elsewhere, our response has been to tell our latin partners that trusted partners are better than cheap partners or high-quality partners. is that a sustainable argument? >> i don't know if it's sustainable by itself. but i do think it's worth latin-american ec monomies that are thinking about deepening
their relationship with china to go to school first on some of the cases that have occurred in africa and asia. you take a country like bangladesh that signed up to one belt one road, massive infrastructure investment, but at a huge price. first of all, you know, no job creation because the infrastructure projects are undertaken by chinese labor that's brought in. but to take these projects on, they had to take on massive amounts of debt. and that indebtedness and long term, and it comes with political strings attached. and so they are now extremely vulnerable to chinese coercion of all kinds. you don't want to be in that position and you shouldn't have to be in that position to gain international investment or development dollars. that's the first thing. the second thing is china is using one belt one road platform to export its own technologies
to give companies like huawei and others an unfair advantage because with state subsidies they're able to offer extremely low prices. the problem is with that technology comes the potential for chinese exfiltration of data that goes through the network without the knowledge or consent of the user. and also denial of service. if there's ever a point where china's upset, they can cut off the service. furthermore, in some countries, it comes with a sort of ideological model in mind that says we want to build up the tools of the state to enhance surveillance control and so forth. and so i think china is -- there is an ideological component to
the competition, and there's a very real risk that that kind of deepening chinese economic relationship can become a technological relationship, can see the growth of a model in some countries. >> as you go down the list of potential adversaries, second to china is russia. you spent a lot of time on things russian, especially in regards to europe. how do you assess russia in the global government now and president putin? >> there are many objective measures, whether it's economy, demographics, per capita gdp, russia is a state that's in decline. and yeah, putin has invested heavily in keeping aspects of the military quite strong. we've just been seeing tests about new nuclear weapons that he's invested in. and particularly what i call --
what many call -- gray zone tools, intelligence information operations, little green men, proxies that can go into -- that give him options to influence outcomes in places like ukraine without, you know, outright military occupation. and what i read about is that you take the example of russian interference in the american election, the use of social media, the use of cyber attacks and infiltration. when i look at and ask the question has putin paid any real price for that at this point? i don't think so. and so if we're thinking about how do we deter that behavior or even more aggressive behavior of that nature in the future, i don't think we've done what we need to do to really enhance deterrence of those kinds of actions. so, i think we've done a good job creating military deterrence in europe.
i don't think it's likely that russian tangks are going to com into the baltics because it's clear we're backing up our nato allies. but short of that, i think putin feels very free to meddle in our democracies. >> looking at the region and comparing chinese and russian behavior, i would argue that china has the capability of transforming economic power into political influence. i'm not sure the same can be said for russia. the focus in the region has largely been on weapons sales and purchasing oil and gas and has not invested the kind of time and effort necessary to build political influence outside of say, venezuela. so, in this regard, i think china say competitor of higher order than russia is at this time. but russia continues to be a
looming presence in europe. and as european union struggles with the exit of united kingdom and as united kingdom itself struggles with its own exit, how do you see brexit? >> i think it's one of the worst self-inflicted wounds that any nation could inflict on itself. it's a real -- it's a shame. it's a ka tas catastrophe for britain. this will go down as one of the worst decisions. i think it will affect the standard of living of the average britain. i think it will take the uk sort of down an economic prosperity and influence -- uk has long been a country that punches
above its weight. i think brexit will cause it to punch below its weight. that is a challenge for all of us because britain has been a very important ally, a very important leader in terms of world based order, democracy, promotion, and so forth. so, it is a real shame. i do think watching this slow-motion car crash of brexit has hopefully given every other eu member that was thinking about it, giving them some pause to say maybe that's not the right answer. maybe we need to try to reform and improve the eu rather than crash out of it. >> just a few weeks ago, it looked as if the united states might be on the verge of military conflict with iran in the persian gulf. how do you see iran at this point and the u.s. stand off in the gulf? and what future do you see for the u.s./iran relationship and also security in the gulf? >> so, i do think iran under
this regime is a problem for the united states and for the region in that their foreign policy has really been about exporting revolution and instability. you see that in the support for the hueties in yemen, and militias across the region. so, there is a very real problem there. when we looked at this in the obama administration, we felt that the only thing worse than a revolutionary and destabilizing iran in the region is an iran like that that had nuclear weapons. so, we focused our effort first oncoming to an agreement that would reduce the gnnuclear materials and put a lot more time on the clock of how long it
would take them to get to the weapons capability. and the nuclear agreement actually did that. it's now been faulted for not doing everything else, for not solving the ballistic missile problem, for not solving the hezbollah problem, not solving iran's support for terrorism. it was never designed to do that. it was a first step. and unfortunately we've thrown that away, and i think we've made things worse because the power of -- one of the achievements of that agreement is we brought russia, china, eu all together on one sheet of music to try to deal with iran effectively. we have now succeeded in fracturing that coalition. and you're seeing iran's stream of action as much greater. and i think they are becoming a bigger problem. this is not a problem that has a military solution. i mean, yes, deterring iran is important. having military options to prevent them from doing stupid
acts of aggression is important. but there's no exclusively military solution. this needs a diplomatic approach that links together sanctions, deterrence, and diplomatic engagement. we need to be talking to these people to try to resolve a crisis and prevent another war in the middle east. >> in your career, you have blended diplomacy and security and you've talked today about the importance of linking diplomacy with security and talked briefly about gray zone conflicts and especially the way the russians have mastered keeping a conflict with us below armed confrontation. obviously as we get deeper into the 21st century and especially as the united states finds a way to extract itself from afghanistan and iraq and rebuild
military capabilities, direct confrontation with the united states would be a very deadly thing. so, there would be a premium on trying to use other aspects of national power to pursue interests. and this means that the united states and countries in our hemisphere need to think and understand security beyond military terms. how would you describe 21st century security? >> well, i think you're right in that you have to think of it beyond military means. obviously part of military dimension that matters. first and foremost, we have to think of it in terms of information and the use of information to influence public and outcomes. and i think we're still just learning how social media platforms can be used as a very powerful tool for nefarious purposes. one of the things i -- that keeps me up at night right now is the growing possibility of what's called deep fakes, that
we will soon encounter situations where we see a video on youtube or even on the news and we honestly don't know if it's real or fake, made up. there's also technology companies now working on trying to find the technological signatures of the manipulation that creates fake videos to see if they can give it some -- when you get a video, you get a confidence rating of it's 70% confident this is accurate or 70% con iffident that it's been tampered with, but we're not there yet. we could be going into an era, as particularly dangerous for democratic societies that rely on public to have an informed view and to cast votes and to help make decisions, where we don't know what truth is. and it's very difficult to discern even for those who are really looking at trying to discern it. and so i think that is one of
the areas that worries me most along with cyber intrusion. there's a lot more that we can and should be doing in terms of public/private partnership to protect our data, to protect our intellectual property and so forth. and i'd say those are areas where we need to do a lot more than we are doing. >> in latin america, a region which has emerged over the past four decades from authoritarian government to democratic government, from closed economies to open economies, from exclusive societies to increasingly inclusive societies or ones built around middle classes, and from countries that largely did not trade with each other to ones that now receive regional integration and trade-based growth, and also from global isolation to globalization.
the focus on open society and promoting individual rights has been profound. and a belief that government should lie in the hands of civilians. so much of our engagement on areas like cyber security and gray zone conflicts and how technology is used to undermine adversaries is really centered in our own military, our security institutions. how do we build relationships in the region, and how do we engage with our latin-american partners on issues that are crucial to the security of their economies and societies? how do we construct that kind of conversation? >> right. well, first of all, i think it's extremely important that the united states and any u.s. administration recognize that we have a vital strategic interest in building and continuing to strengthen the community of free market democracies.
and particularly right at home in the americas. so, that's thing one. we should care a lot about this. on the question of how do we build that capacity, i agree with you. this cannot be something that's left to security services. it's also not something that can be left to governments. when i look at the u.s. situation, the vast majority of our technical talent is not in government. it's in the private sector. and so one of the things we need to do is really double down on public/private partnership that enable us to share talent between the private and public sector, best practices, resources, and so forth. the best example, recent example i've seen of this is something called the paris call where at a conference that president macron hosted last year, he brought together -- starting with i
think the g20 countries but a number of countries and a number of companies, companies like microsoft and the big tech companies, together to sign on to a set of norms of behavior in cyberspace and also to pledge that if someone falls under attack and doesn't have the resources to deal with it, that others will step in kind of like a first responders, like a fire brigade and come in and help the recovery and then the rebuilding of adequate defenses. so, i think whether it's the paris call or something, there's these public/private partnerships that need to be developed on an international basis where we are pooling our resources as the good guys and making it much harder for the bad guys to actually do us harm in the cyber domain. >> in the area of democracy, we are a region that has committed ourselves to democratic government through the inter-american democratic charter we have declared
democracy a right of all our peoples and we have positive to government obligation to democracy with a few exceptions that is the case. yet the cover of "foreign affairs" magazine is called autocracy now. we're seeing a rise of a autocracy. how do we manage that? how do we deal with that? >> i think, you know, we have to start by looking at root causes. in a lot of cases, i think in many countries it's sort of a backlash to the perceived down side of globalization, whether that's in the form of immigration that makes some of the population uncomfortable, whether it's in the form of structural changes into economies that have, you know, created job loss in tern sectors
and so forth. so, i think the first thing is, you know, when i think about this issue in the u.s. in terms of disaffection and people who might be questioning our democracy, i try to start by meeting them at their point of pain. you know, there are real experiences that are giving rise to this. that said, the solution is not to embrace authoritarianism. we have to do a better job as democracies of meeting the needs of our people, whether it is in job creation that responds to the structural changes in the economies that have happened as a result, whether it's better access to higher education, whether it's investment in the innovation and job creation, science, technology, 21st century infrastructure. and there are many economists in the room who could articulate this better than i. but i think we have to do a
better job as democracies and realize that there has to be good public policy that accompanies the free open market to ensure that as change occurs we don't leave whole segments of our populations behind, that they come on the journey with us. >> in that regard and as we try to build a larger conversation around democracy, around trade, free trade, open markets, and inclusive societies, there is concern in the region about what is seen as united states stepping away from leadership roles. during a trip i took recently through south america, brazil, chile, peru, columbia, typically people wanted to talk about china first, venezuela second. and the third question was
always where is the united states? there's concern that the inward focus of the united states at this point is not only having an impact on institutions but also how we are understood as a partner and as a leader. is this something that worries you? and if there has been an erosion of that, can it be recovered? >> it does worry me. i think it's one of the things that is, you know, giving me the greatest pause. i do think it's recovererable. i don't want to be too political here. but if we have change in the -- from our election in two years. i think you -- and you had a new president come in who understood the criticality of the u.s.
leadership role, who understood the value of alliances, who understood the value of really assertively defending and investing in democracies, and particularly our closest partners in our home region. i think there's a certain amount of recovery that could happen. you know, think back to how europe felt about the bush administration because of iraq and how much tension there was with our european allies over iraq. and that all slipped pretty quickly when you had a u.s. president that hit a different course and reembraced europe and the importance of europe and so forth. so, i think that possibility is there. that said, you know, i do hear from our allies and friends that they have witnessed a pendulum of u.s. foreign policy now from, you know, reagan to clinton, to clinton to bush, to bush -- you know, i think people get
exhausted by the swinging. the swing used to be within a certain bounds of bipartisan consensus. and now it's swinging more widely. so, i don't want to wish this away. i don't think we can turn back the clock and pretend that the current shift in the u.s. posture in the world never happened. but, you know, in order to get out of bed in the morning, i have to believe that a good deal of recovery is possible with the right leadership in the white house, with the right mandate from the american people who i think when you look at american public polling, the recent pew poll, americans understand the importance of u.s. leadership, they understand the importance of engaging with the world, they understand the importance of latin america to american interests. so the american people have a certain wisdom on this, and we
just need an administration that fully reflects that. >> one of the big issues of this century has been migration. and something that has played large here in the united states here in the united states, first because of migration across our southwest border, largely from central america but elsewhere and has formed a large part of our relationship with mexico and our central american partners, also recently immigration out of venezuela. but it is a global phenomenon. estimates put migrants at the highest level in history at this point in time with over 220 migrants or people on the move at any time and nearly 70 million displaced people. how does the international community deal with this at this point in time, understanding the tremendous political impact that
migration has had in europe, here in the united states and is now having in south america? >> well, i think that more than anything underscores the important work that all of you here do. the first line of defense is to invest in development and job growth and economic growth that gives people the option to have a good life at home. because that's the first choice of everyone. no one chooses to go through the hell that they go through to become a refugee or to become a migrant that traverses a continent to try to get to a place that they can feed their families and live in safety so i really think strategic approaches to development and focusing on what actually works. we know so much more now. i'm on the board of care and the power of investing in women and girls to transform whole communities and create
entrepreneurship and access to education is something we all know now. so let's put our dollars in that direction. so i think that's the first line of defense. then i think a very strong rules-based legal system that is worthy of both our values and humanitarian impulses and also protects our borders and our interests. we have found that balance as a nation before. that has really defined america for most of our history, whether it was the 1700s when my ancestors, french hufrom europer more recently. but what we are doing is a departure from who we are, it's
a departure from our own history, it's a departure from our own traditions. so i think we need to get back to both investing, dealing with root causes, but also treating migrants and refugees with far more of a humanitarian and respectful approach while also recognizing that our economy depends on migration. there are whole sectors whether it's agriculture -- look at silicon valley. look at the ceos and founders of silicon valley. there's a huge percentage of them that came from another country and they brought their incredible creativity and their innovation to the united states of america. that's to be celebrated. that is to be welcomed. that is to be encouraged. >> we have about ten minutes left. >> if they're too hard, i'm going to tell them ask the ambassador. >> but we do have simultaneous
translation. if anyone would like to ask questions, we have two microphones. you can ask in either english or spanish and i'm not sure what other languages we have interpreting. please feel free to come forward. you've got someone who's beating you to the mike. >> hello. i'm a lawyer from new york and i've spent most of my career involved in latin america. i appreciate your point that russia has been getting away with things it shouldn't and there needs to be a concerted effort to make it painful for them doing what they're doing. without taking some of the thunder away from the venezuelan program tomorrow, and i hope you can participate, what would you suggest that either the united states or international organizations do to discourage
and penalize, punish russia and perhaps other proxy activities of iran and maybe china and cuba for its enabling and continuing the terrible tragedy that is happening in venezuela? >> well, i am not an expert on venezuela, but i am sitting next to someone who is. i'll give my two cents and then i'd love to hear from ambassador shanahan as well. i do think we are strongest when we act together and i think pulling together the concerned powers of the region to coordinate our policies, not only vis-a-vis the venezuelan regime but, to your point, all of the other actors who are sometimes trying to move things
in the wrong direction. whether that is first and foremost very pointed diplomacy. i think thinking about economic sanctions and/or incentives in some cases. linking things that they care about to their behavior there and having them at least have to think twice as to whether playing the spoiler, making mischief is really worth it. you have thought about a thousand times more hours about this than most of us, so what would you say? >> i may have thought more, but i think your answer was more coherent. i agree with what you said. i would say the same is true for china also. the countries of the region, especially those most affected
by venezuela need to find a way to communicate with a single voice to those who are helping to perpetuate this crisis. for economic reasons, some for political reasons. and especially in regard to russia. russia's presence broadly in latin america but especially in south america has been quite limited. at one point in time there was a significant battle within the russian national security structure over how it responded to chinese presence in the region with some arguing mostly in the foreign ministry for a return to a more soviet style engagement, which meant strong embassies engaged with governments pursuing strategic purposes. the kremlin had a narrow approach to the region. it was largely about selling weapons and involving itself in oil and gas, a business of one sort or another. and the kremlin went out.
so venezuela became the natural entry point into the region for a russia that had been absent for quite some time. the russians discovered that venezuela was a blind alley, once you got into venezuela you really couldn't get anywhere else. whereas the chinese, who came in through the large commodity producing economies of brazil and argentina and chile and others found themselves in fertile territory to spread themselves. but the russians have now discovered given the crisis in venezuela that they have a card to play against us. and they're playing it even though their investment there is fairly small, especially in terms of people on the ground. so i think we need to convince the russians this isn't about us. it's about how they relate to a larger region. but also to remind the europeans they can play a role here,
because europe is actually quite concerned about what happens inside venezuela because they're afraid that if russian interests are seriously prejudiced in some fashion or if russia finds itself humiliated inside of venezuela, it will exact a cost not in the caribbean but in europe, in the ukraine or in moldova or the baltics. this is one of the reasons why the european union are engaged in the way they are, because they're actually playing defense in trying to ensure that whatever happens in venezuela doesn't prejudice them in a significant way. so the russia issue has become a serious one, but if we try to deal with it as a bilateral issue with russia, we're only going to play into their games. like you said, we have to find a way to spread it out. michael, you had a question. >> hi. francisco alvarez.
i'm curious about the youth vote and youth engagement across latin america. more and more young people are having a role in what our democracy will look like and both left leaning and right leanilean ing governments are grappling with that. i'm just wondering if there are any examples or countries broadly where you see promising youth-led movements that are reshaping democracies and also do you think that youth voice is also being translated at the voting booth? thank you. >> you know, i'm going to confess my ignorance in terms of youth movements across latin america. i can certainly say here in the united states the youth vote is one of the crown jewels that everyone wants to capture. >> oh we're learning from you guys.
>> look at bernie sanders. it's kind of ironic that one of the oldest if not the oldest candidate is the darling of american youth. but that was a very powerful wakeup call in this country that, hey, these young people are not following the pattern of their forebearer eers. they are actually turning out to vote. i do think that any serious campaign has to take that into account. i think it's a tremendous source of strength for democracy. the most important thing to have is an engaged citizen ri. the earlier that happens and the more people feel they can influence the outcome and have a voice, the healthier a democracy
and a society you're going to have. so i think the one thing i'd caution is, this is also a part of the population that's disproportionally influenced by what they see online. so they are also vulnerable to the kind of social media manipulation that we've seen. so part of the challenge is getting them to be very sophisticated users and to recognize fake news when they see it, to recognize something that doesn't sound right or doesn't seem to be authentic when they see it. but in general, i think this is a very positive trend and one that we should encourage and build on. >> well, we have just about hit our time limit, but we have one more question. if you can ask it quickly, we'll answer it quickly. >> good evening, mr. secretary. i'm a student in international relations. i'm focusing on campaigning and activities for human rights
across latin america. my really question is about military intervention in venezuela with support of colombia. what do you believe in that sense knowing there has been talk inside the trump administration, if you think there could be a risk to end up like syria or yemen. >> my personal view is there's no military solution to the venezuela problem. i think that if you talk to military professionals in the united states, they're very reluctant to go down this path. there's not clarity on what are the u.s. interests, what would the actual options be, what would be the response and the costs, how would this affect the humanitarian situation. don't get me wrong, there may be
aspects of military measures that can increase pressure alongside sanctions to actually finally get the government to respond to its people and step down and move forward, but a wholesale u.s. intervention to change the rescregime by force venezuela, i think, is not what the region needs and i don't think it accords with u.s. interests or interests of the region. i'm pretty clear on my bottom line. but again, there may be things that we can do militarily to create pressure to build the capacity of others to contain the instability. but a wholesale military operation to change the regime, i don't think the american people would support it.
i don't think most of our national security decisionmakers would support it, and i don't think it would be good for the region or for the united states. >> michelle, wonderful leadoff to our conference, an excellent way to frame issues globally as we address them regionally and locally. i want to thank you very much. please join me in thanking michelle. [ applause ]
fascinating conversation. can you guys hear me? not really, right? can we get a mike check, please? good? mike check, one two, one two. guys, we're going to continue with our first session. it's about to begin. our distinguished panelists will discuss rethinking a trade agenda in the americas. if you would like to stay for this next session, i recommend you take a seat. we are about to begin as i introduce the next panelists. it is now my pleasure to introduce the moderator for our first session. she's ambassador karla hills. ambassador hills served as the united states trade representative under president george h.w. bush and united states secretary of housing and urban development in the ford administration. she's currently the chair
emeritus for the dialogue and hills and company, an internal consulting firm. without further ado please join me in welcoming to the stage karla hills and the speakers for this panel. [ applause ] >> thank you, thank you. well, i'm going to encourage you to take your seats and to join the conversation here. we heard in the prior panel questions about trade and not so many answers. so we brought together a stellar panel that really represents a broad segment of the western
hemisphere and you could not find greater talent. and so it is my great honor to introduce the panelists who will talk to you about rethinking our trade agenda in the americas. it's a challenging topic. we live in uncertain times, not only in the western hemisphere but globally. but what we do in the western hemisphere can set an example. let me just tell you a sentence or two about each of our panelists. sitting to my left is secretary marissa bircher who was appointed last october to be argentina's secretary of international trade in the
ministry of production and labor. her assignment, as described by her ministry, is to implement strategies to insert argentina into global production chains, to promote investment, to open new markets for argentina's products and to simplify trade procedures. formerly she served as argentina's secretary of industry markets for the agricultural ministry. she has also worked for the ministry of foreign affairs, the city of buenos aires as general director of check development and the private sector for the sgs group. and she has taught courses in foreign trade and international economics at universities in argentina. she holds degrees in international commerce and a post graduate degree in international marketing and
foreign trade. and sitting to her left is minister arabell gonzalez who has served as a fellow at the peterson institute for international economics last october when she stepped down as senior director of the world banks global practice on trade and kpeticompetitiveness. previously she served as costa rica's minister of trade. she negotiated six free trade agreements including the fta and she's also served as director at the wto in charge of its agricultural division. she's been director general of costa rica's investment board and vice minister of foreign trade among many roles. minister gonzalez is a founder and professor of international
trade and law at the university of costa rica and is published extensively. she holds a law degree from the university of costa rica and a master's degree in international trade from georgetown univers y university. and sitting to her left is the principal economic advisor at the inter-american development bank. earlier he worked at the research development of the development bank of brazil and taught at the university yufrtu de janeiro in brazil. re shaping the future of asia and latin america relations, india,
latin america's next big thing? and a report on the impact of transport costs for latin america trade. and he received his phd in economics from the university college in london. and last but certainly not least, ambassador martha barcina, who in january became the first woman to serve as mexico's ambassador to the united states. previously she served as mexico's ambassador to denmark, turkey, georgia, azerbaijan. she has held a number of positions including technical secretary for the eu latin
america caribbean summit, as advisor under secretary for africa, asia pacific, europe and the united nations and head of the department of migrant workers and others. she has also combined her government service with teaching about international trade. she's a founding member of an ngo that promotes education for peace and disarmament. and she holds a bachelor's degree in communications, science and philosophy and master's degrees in political philosophy and international studies. so you couldn't find four more able persons to talk about how we rethink the trade agenda in the americas. and i've been around a long time and i recall the first summit of the americas that was held in
1994 and attended by leaders from 34 nations, which resulted in a declaration whereby those 34 members agreed to create a free trade zone for the americas. now, last year the most recent summit, it was the eighth summit. it was held in peru and there was a declaration there, but there was no mention of trade. so my question to the panelists is free trade agreement for the americas a concept that no longer exists? are there things we could do to rejuvenate our enthusiasm for trade in the western hemisphere?
this point given the inequalities in production and competitiveness, this time of agreement, we would have to rethink it. it is a major challenge. >> i'd like to talk to the free trade area of the americas among others, because i was involved in the negotiation for some ten years or so certainly under your leadership as well. i say that the ftaa is an agreement in the waiting. it's an agreement in the waiting, i think, because it has huge potential. i'll refer a little bit to it. it's an agreement in the waiting because we've been waiting for it for a long time and also because i think we will need to continue waiting for it for some time as well. the first point, if you look at our region in the western hemisphere, an agreement like this would bring together about
950 billion people with a combined gdp of 30 something trillion u.s. dollars. this would make it the largest fta in the world. to put it in context, if the u.s. would go back to the new tpp, it would be more or less equivalent. so this would be a very big deal, could promote trade and investment in the region, could be a laboratory for innovation in trade disciplines. so i think it could be potentially very powerful. now, as i said, we've been waiting for it for a long time, but i think it has not been in vain in the sense that countries in the region have entered into about 100 preferential trade agreements with countries in and also outside the region. so this would give us a good
basis from which to build and bring greater conversions of all these different agreements that are already in place in latin america. but the third point why this is an agreement in waiting is that unfortunately i think we will need to wait a bit longer. i was recalling now that i see him here victor rico, he was a vice minister of bolivia at the time and he also participated in those negotiations. now, why i say we need to wait for it a bit longer is in the face of an erratic trade policy on the part of the united states, it is very unlikely there would be interest on the part of latin american countries. i always like to cite a friend of mine, a trade minister from a country in the americas, i asked what is your country's trade policy vis-a-vis the u.s. at this moment?
and this former colleague of mine told me, well, i can basically sum it under one overarching principle, which is strategic hiding. and i think for us now it's more about strategic waiting, waiting until the right moment comes. but i think we should make no mistake that when the opportunity comes about, we would need to jump on it because i do think that it would be a very valuable initiative for this hemisphere. >> dr. mosquito. >> professor, please. >> can you tell me when the right moment will come? >> unfortunately, i think i don't have qualities for divining the future. but what i can tell you in building up on what annabel has said, i think even if it is not the right moment now to think about a free trade area of the
americas, progress has been made in the latest years. we have an example in the pacific alliance, for example, how this has become a newly and deep integrated region of mexico, colombia, peru, collhil and maybe ecuador, costa rica, panama in the future and even son-in-l some countries outside the region. what we have been doing in the pacific alliance in the latest careers is to really build a constructive agenda and to identify the sectors in which we can have this deep integration. what we are having is, as annabel said, a lot of new free trade agreements that have been signed either bilateral or regional. what we have to aim at is the
convergence of these agreements. then it will be easier if we deem politically viable to go into the free trade on the negotiation of the free trade area of the americas. it will be much easier if these all network of treaties are already converging. i would say that at the same time beside this network of bilateral and regional trade agreements in which pacific alliance is a great example for us and also the work that mexico has been doing with costa rica and with the northern triangle, i would like to emphasize, for example, that the aim of the new government of mexico's objective in our relationship with central america is that the central america region can work more closely from the economic point
of view with the south and southeast region of mexico. one of the consequences or results of nafta was the very deep integration of the central states of america and the northern states of mexico to the north american economy but not the south and southeast. what we are conceiving is a political designing which the south and southeast part of mexico can be a whole integrated economic region with the northern triangle first and the first of central america. if we can progress on that, if we can complement our economies as we are trying to do now and if we can advance in the different sectors of economic competitiveness, on transparency, on infrastructure, even on an integrated market on energy that we have been working with idb, which can have a transformative impact in the economies of the south and southeast of mexico and central
america, then i think in due time the economic situation will be mature enough to go into the free trade area of the americas. but we also need a more stronger position of the central american economies, the south of mexico and others. because if the economies are not better and not only growing economically but also tackling the very big challenge of inequality, because even with a high economic growth in certain countries there has not been a reduction of inequality, then the conditions to start renegotiating the free trade area of the americas would be a little bit more difficult. if we manage to advance in all these regional and bilateral agreements and also on tackling these very big challenges, economic growth, economic inequality in general,
competitiveness, complementarity of energy markets, integration of energy markets. it's not possible that energy is more cheaper in honduras or el salvador. this will never help the development of the central ameri american countries. we need to work on that to be strong toer to go into the negotiation for the whole region. >> it's already been said here. ironically the only big stumbling block these days for something like that is the u.s., because we really don't know what kind of trade policy the u.s. is pursuing, what kind of commitment, all the volatility of it. when you think of something like that and we have been doing work on that, we can think of the
region. we have big homework to do, sort of a low hanging fruit. as annabel has said before, just in the region we have 33 free trade agreements that cover 90% of the trade. in other words, 90% of the trade is already free trade. so there's a big opportunity there to try to go towards convergence of those agreements to allow imports from colombia and export to argentina, this whole compilation of imports. all these small steps can be done without too big of a political effort or technical effort. but there's also a big gap in the region, which is something hard to understand. i think it's the big paradox. the three biggest economies in the region don't have a trade
agreement. brazil, mexico, argentina, which are 70% of the gdp. they account for less than 10% of the interregional trade. and why? they have partial agreements. if you can't do that at home, it's hard to think of going abroad and think of something even more ambitious. the good news is there's some good moves in that direction. you know, brazil for instance just recently accepted after, you know, going back several times in the last decades, accepted free trade in a very sensitive area. argentina also was signaling in the way of increasing its small
history, i think the governments in the region sort of grew very disillusioned with the efforts. and clearly didn't give enough support for the wto for instance to move forward for the negotiations. and th the fact is if the international multilateral system falls apart, if you don't have this rule of law and we fall into something very similar to what we had where countries end up in spheres of influence where prevails the rule of power, not the rule of law, i think we're going to be in a very difficult situation, which is not in the interest of anybody. so i would put as the highest priority, the governments in the region should do all they can, light candles at the door of the
wto to make sure this thing keeps going, you know, that trade remains something that is governed by rule of law. otherwise, you know, we're going to be in very deep trouble. >> what i hear is all of you believe that it would be in the interest of your respective countries and the region were we to move forward to liberalize trade throughout the western hemisphere. and all of you, your countries, are members of the pacific allian alliance. how do you see those groups helping, or do you see those two groups as working together to move the trade agenda in the americas forward after this 25-year gap? >> i think i can start with the pacific alliance.
i have had a very good experience on the pacific alliance, for example, how we did the promotion and the presentation of the pacific alliance, for example, in the nordic companies or turkey, which by the way all the nordic countries and turkey have become observers of the pacific alliance showing great interest for this. when i meet with business here in the u.s., the other day i was with walmart and we were talking about the supply to walmart. and i asked them, have you explored the facilities that we have with the pacific alliance? and they just turned to me and said what? so it is not well known and i think we have that challenge. at least the business in the u.s., there is very little knowledge by the companies of the opportunities that the pacific alliance offer. and we have very clear examples. one of them is berries.
mexico is a great supplier of berries to the u.s. in certain seasons of the year, but there's other seasons of the year in which we cannot supply the berries and peru does it, because of the different hemispheres. but the mexican businessmen are already partnering with the peruvians to be able to supply the market whole year long. and this is something that even some companies in the u.s. does not realize that they have these opportunities. so i think we have a two-way challenge. on one side is how to really progress on this deep integration inside the pacific alliance, which i already mentioned, how do we work. a great advancement was done at
the summit in 2018 in which there was a very specific action plan to go forward between the pacific alliance on the elimination of non-tariff barriers, regulatory aspects, trade facilitation and small and medium enterprises, which is one of the key elements of the pacific alliance. we have to work on that. on the summit in 2019 in peru, there was not -- i couldn't get the report on the implementation of the action plan. but pacific alliance adopted a very important statement on the strengthening of the multilateral system, how to strengthen together the multilateral system, the wto in three areas. in the negotiation process and of course on the monitoring of all the international trade.
so i think we have challenges inside the pacific alliance on how to integrate and how to progress on the action plan that was approved in 2018. at the same time we have a huge challenge inside the u.s. to explain what is the pacific alliance and to explain the opportunities that the pacific alliance is offering and it's complementarity. when you talk to europe companies as daimler benz who are established both in the u.s. and mexico. they say what needs to be understood by the u.s. government is that we are producing in mexico not for the u.s. market only. we are producing in mexico which is as a platform for other markets, for world wide markets. and i think that one of the
problems that we have now with these very nationalistic approach to trade issues in the u.s. is that there are certain areas of the u.s. government that are not open to understanding the global value chains. and on the contrary, what they are proposing is like going back 30 or 40 years to the concept of value chains and production and trade. so we have these two challenges, how to progress inside the pacific alliance in our relationships and also with central america on the one hand, and on the secondhand is how to make the pacific alliance more visible in the u.s. and make the u.s. understand both the government and the private sector understands better these opportunities. >> yes. >> yeah. i mean, i just want to say that i think that the pacific
alliance was definitely a breath of fresh air in the region, in the way that the region was conducting integration. we had a very long winter of populist governments that turn integration into something very political, very ineffective in terms of economic integration. i think they also show us sort of a road map on how to move forward. what i think is clear when you look at this 30 years of integration in the region is that the idea of reproducing or replicating the model didn't work at all, this idea of supra national institutions, parliaments, customs unions. it didn't work. we do need to realize that. and the pacific alliance by
thinking in terms of intergovernmental institutions and think of, you know, plain vanilla free trade zone, this is something that really can work, you know, and show the way in terms of when you think of conversions. i do think that's crucial. if you get the two of them, we have 80% of the gdp in the region. that's the way you can get a critical mass. because by themselves, in the big scheme of things, if you talk just about trade, they tend to become irrelevant. they are just too small. the pacific alliance is 1.9 trillion. the cptpp is 20 trillion. the scale is just too small. the only way you can make this thing relevant in terms of scale
is to move towards convergency and thinking about intergovernmental organizations, think about a plain vanilla free trade zone. >> yes. >> translator: agree with what our colleagues have said so far. on the one hand, yes, they have been sharing an agenda halately and beyond progress from the commercial standpoint, those of us that work with smes, we believe that what can help in facilitating trade and certification and regulation and the convergence. that's a keyword, convergence. that's what we need. we need to have progress in a trade agreement. many people think it is bureaucratic but it is crucial for our businesses and this
needs to be there to be able to come to a true agreement. but what is happening a few days ago you may have seen in the news that we took a step. we had an agreement with the different countries so we can now enter all these countries. so the pacific alliance is a priority for us. among other things we need to complete other treaties that we had been negotiating like with canada, with south korea, with singapore. we need to work with
latin america and also with the intention that we have from argentina, from brazil also where we are constantly in communication to make progress with mexico. these are markets where we have gone ahead with many free trade agreements. we've been working brazil, as mauricio said, the free trade in the automobile industry. so we are working on a free trade agreement that includes more than automobiles. free trade agreements that are just sectoral should not be the way to go because we're missing opportunities.
with colombia we have also made great strides the same as with peru. with chile we have already ratified two agreements. in short then, our objective is concrete. trade, tariffs, lowering of tariffs is the first step. but we don't need to forget this agenda we promoted last year between the two blocs regarding regulatory convergence and the other things that forward foreign trade. >> would you like to comment? >> just very briefly to say i think the pacific alliance is a wonderful initiative. when i had the privilege of serving as minister of trade, this was one of our main trade priorities, accession to the pacific alliance. i hope that one day not only costa rica but other countries in the region will be able to become part of the pacific
alliance and mercosur will bear fruit. >> let me ask specific questions. it's been suggested that brazil is interested in negotiating a trade agreement with the united states. do you see that as a real possibility? and how would brazil deal with a prohibition on members of mercosur negotiating a bilateral free trade agreement. >> if you asked me that question five years ago, i would say it would be a no-brainer. but this time, i mean, after a long, long period the problem is
not brazil. on the contrary, i think there's political will to move on that direction. but as i mentioned before, i mean, i'm not sure what exactly we would be signing if -- what brazil would be signing with the u.s. given the recent events, recent trade negotiations that u.s. have been involved. so there's just too much volatility. the commitments are not that clear. and some of the conditions that were negotiated are not market economy conditions at all. for instance, you know, forcing wages by degrees, things like that. we need to wait and see what's
going to happen on this front. this time the whole issue is on how trade policy in the u.s. is going to evolve. on the issue of mercosur, i think it's a whole different discussion, which is -- we brai brazilians, argentinians need to address. mercosur needs reform. i think the pacific alliance showed the way in how to do it. and particularly because our bloc, it's very hard to have a political consensus like you have in mexico, chile, peru, you know, where the political cycle moves on, but support for free trade is always there. in our countries, i mean, if you
ask the opposition about free trade, you're going to get a very different answer than if you ask the current government. the whole effort of integration not only regionally but with the world held back by this very volatile political cycle. so i think a free trade zone preserving all the achievements that weren't small -- i think mercosur made very great achievements in terms of promoting trade between the members. but if you want to move forward and stop with this thing of one of the members holding the other because the political cycle is not the same, you know, a free trade zone would be much more useful and helpful in this direction. and this would answer the question, you know, if argentina, brazil want to
negotiate a free trade agreement with the u.s. or whatever country, you know, is interested. they're not going to be held back by politics, by any of the other members. >> anyone want to comment on a bilateral with a large economy in latin america? maybe i will go to the ambassador in mexico and say what are the chances that we will get the u.s. mca approved by all three of us and that we can move forward? do you have a point of view and is that being talked about in mexico? >> yes, of course. we have a very clear point of view and a very big commitment towards usmca. it was manifested with the
almost unanimous approval of the usmca by the mexican senate. i think it had two votes against it a it. the mexican senate and the mexican government has fulfilled its commitment on ratifying usmca and linked to usmca and to the promises that the president made and the idea he has regarding the labor movement, also that congress in mexico passed and approved the most comprehensive labor reform that we have had in 70 years. it is labor reform that it's revolutionary in a way that guarantees a free, secret and personal vote in three different stages in how you elect leaders
of a union, how do you approve the mandates for the negotiation of a collective bargaining agreement, and then how do you approve at the end by a free, secret and personal vote the collective bargaining agreement. these labor reform is so ambitious that it is not to be implemented very quickly, because it will imply the review of 700,000 collective bargaining agreements that are in existence. so the government of mexico has already a timetable on how to implement this labor reform. this timetable has been shared with the u.s. trade representative. it has been shared with the house of representatives and with the senate. we have been working very, very hard with the hispanic caucus and particularly with the working group that was established by speaker pelosi.
labor, and i can tell you even an anecdote, there was these codel that was led by earl bloom bloomenour with lopez obrador. another said, well, mr. president, i voted against nafta but i am trying to find as speaker pelosi said a path to yes for usmca. but i was opposed to nafta, and she explained why. and then president lopez obrador said, don't worry, congresswoman, i was also opposed to nafta. and let me tell you something, after 25 years of deep integration, we cannot go back to 30 years ago or 35. we have to acknowledge that our
economies are fully integrated, and so we need to have usmca ratified. that is why he explained even if the previous government negotiated usmca and my government participated as an observ observer, not my government, but people from the team participated as an observer in the last part of the negotiations, my government, the new government of mexico is fully commuted to the ratification of usmca. that's why we have ratified. it is fully commuted to what we approved in usmca. the chapters on labor reform. and you know very well, ambassador hills, the change between the side letter agree agreements and now labor and environmental parts are an integral part of usmca. this is a huge change, so we are very surprised and that's why we always have a very constant dialogue with the democrats.
with the legislators from the democratic party saying, listen, you dream of this when you approve nafta, you wish we could have labor and environmental aspects as part of the agreeme t agreement. they are now part of the agreement. when we discuss enforcement, we say, okay, the labor reform in mexico has a very clear mechanism on enforcement which is now the labor courts. so what we will see in the new budget coming for 2020 is not just budget for the labor ministry in mexico to implement the reform but basically for the judicial power to start establishing the labor courts. so now the system for arbitration of labor disputes, it has 45 days of an arbitrat n arbitration, try to get a mediation, an agreement, and if not, you can go to the labor courts. and these enforcement mechanism will be controlled by an
independent power from the executive. this is very important. it is a very advanced system that doesn't even exist in the u.s. and even if you go to the u.s. now, yes, you have unions in the northern part. most of the, for example, car manufacturers in the southern part of the u.s., they are not unionized. >> right. >> so it is not fair to ask mexico what you are not willing to do in your own country. so what we are saying, it's the new labor system in mexico, it's very revolutionary. it implied a great sacrifice and commitment from the private sector of mexico. it will be very advanced so we expect these recognition from the democrats. we know that it's important for them. we are telling them we are ready. we have been ready. that's why we passed a reform. that's why we have this implementation. that is why we will have the budget and the enforcement
mechanism within the usmca is a dispute settlement mechanism. if it has not worked, it's because the u.s. has not provided the name and the list of their arbiters. so we can have an agreement which is an understanding that by the time that u.s. congress ratify usmca, the three countries commit themselves to present at the same time a list of arbiters for each one of the mechanisms so there will be no delays for an arbitration when this is needed. particularly, if any of the parts considered that the labor chapter is not being fully implemented. so having said that, i have to comment that this dialogue on this ongoing dialogue with both the u.s. trade representative office as well as with congress has been very fluid, very open, and i hope very fruitful.
so i think now that the ball is in the field of the u.s. trade representative, as far as we know, he has received a certain proposals from the democrats that he has to work with them, we are following up, of course, very closely and we are continuing this dialogue with the u.s. congress to say, listen, mexico has done its part. mexico is fully committed. we need usmca. we need usmca not only to continue the growth of trade that is already there. mexico has become the first trading partner of the u.s. for the first six months of the yea yea year. and we will continue to do so. and we need this agreement to give us stability also to the economies of the three countries. to give certainty to investment and to include and that this usmca include chapters that were not included in nafta like
digital trade, like fight against corruption, like small and medium enterprises, like mechanisms of consultations with indigenous populations, with gender. so in a way, it's a very, very progressive agreement, and i use the word, "progressive," with care because when i said the usmca has a progressive point of view, i think ambassador lighthizer sometimes look at me like, what? okay. let's say social, new dimensions of an agreement. but i think the main message for all our audience in the u.s. is do not have any doubt of the commitment of the mexican government for usmca. and we have been working very hard with congress, with the private sector, and we think that the ratification of the usmca is a win/win for all of us, and just showing how open we
are besides -- and how engaged we are in this dialogue, we have not only received codels but mr. tromka was going to be in mexico these days talking with president lopez obrador listening firsthand how revolutionary and ambitious labor reform will be implemented in mexico in the following years. so i hope that we will have good news. we have been very encouraged of speaker pelosi's statements about finding a path to yes for usmca. and we hope that usmca will be ratified and this, i think, also will contribute to the image of the u.s. of having a more consistent u.s. trade policy. >> that's the most optimistic note that -- >> i have to be optimistic. >> let me go to minister
gonzalez, and the eu currently has a number of trade agreements in the western hemisphere with central america, the pacific alliance. you recently concluded an agreement with mercasul. how do you see the european energy on trade affecting the trade agenda for the future in the americas? >> i think that's a very important question, ambassador hills, because i think that the role of the european union is very important in the hemisphere. i think the first dimension is at multilateral level in the sense that mauricio was saying before, i can't agree more, reforming the wto is of critical importance to the world and certainly for this region, and i think the european union has
taken a leadership role in trying to promote reform in the context of the wto and latin american countries would do well to work together with the eu for this purpose. second, i think that trade is very important -- let me say this, trade is very important for latin america. it represents some 44% of gdp. and china and the u.s., together, collectively, represent about half of the trade with the region, and if you look at investment, trading services, that's even greater. so they're both very important. but today, latin america is caught in the crossfire between the u.s. and china. it is impacted by china's policies. it's impacted by the u.s. response to china. the impact that this has on the multilateral trading system. so i think it's important for latin america to look beyond the u.s. and china and the eu comes
in as a very natural partner. first, the eu is the number one foreign investor in latin america. >> right. >> even greater than the u.s. greater than china, which is very important to know. second, it is the third trade partner to the region. it has agreements, as you rightly said, with many countries in the region. last time i check, economic or cooperation agreements with some 27 countries in this hemisphere. so the eu has actually built a very strong foundation to promote integration between latin america and the european union. and if anything, this should serve as a wake-up call to other partners in the region as to the potential on the one hand that the region has but also on the point that, well, if we do -- we're not ready to move within our own hemisphere, latin america will also find its way with other trading partners.
>> absolutely. well, i'm going to be going to the audience so be thinking about a question that you would like to ask, but for my last question up here, i'm going to ask secretary bercher, what's your assessment going forward speaking for argentina on trade? you face a contentious election, and looking back over the past four years, how do you see the next four years? >> translator: that is also a hard question. right now, argentina is going through an election process which is highly sensitive in political terms. mauricio's presidency did almost a 360-degree turn in international relations and we continue to have very deep ties
with virtually everyone in the world. not only with what we were just talking about signing free trade agreements through a very dynamic mircasul in recent times but also a very much broader and more agile understanding of free trade agreement and that's part of what i've seen through our government. we do have a -- we have expectation expectations. in october, we're going have the final round of elections. we already had the first round. but we know that the government gives us a strong push to keep working along the same lines. a line that further deepens the foundations for the future. we not only have sound international relations, but we also -- what we've done over time is something that's hard to see in the short term, but
clearly all of our countries need to do that, that is consolidate our institutions. that's what we've been doing. so whatever the outcome is in october or november, if it has to go into that, the important thing is to continue everything that we've done in terms of economic integration, insertion into the world economy, because clearly, the developing countries and the countries that live in poverty need jobs, and everyone who's here who are specialists on this know that exports and foreign trade is what allows a country to develop a much stronger economy. that's what argentina needs. so clearly, all of this agenda must continue, and if president makrey gets re-elected, obviously, that will be consolidated without a doubt. >> well, who wants to ask the first question? we have microphones left and right.
yes, please? >> translator: i'm francisco javier. independent consultant. >> please state your -- >> i said it in spanish. >> translator: i'm from got la headquarter got la headquarter ar ra. >> we know multinationals already have a lot of access. discuss some of the programs, provisions, proposals to allow smaller and medium-sized companies and brands to have more access to international markets, also, how do we ensure the trade is truly more multilateral, where we're not just seeing nike in mexican malls but also colombian, mexican, chilean brands and final products on store shelves here in the u.s., and one last point about how do we ensure that free trade doesn't come at the cost of the integrity of our forests, rivers, and waterways and how do they account for --
are there any programs accounting for climate change impacts? thank you. >> what would like to take that on? >> let me say a word on one of the questions that was posed which is the issue of making trade more inclusive. and i think that that is a very important goal. and that it speaks to the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises in trade but it also speaks to the point of greater participation of women in trade, of least-developed countries in trade, people in the informal sector, people in the rural sectors. so the issue is how can we connect more people to the benefits of trade. and i have to say that as important as trade policies are on one dimension, there are also a set of domestic policies that are critical to make trade more inclusive. and these policies, you know, include better transportation,
closing infrastructure gaps, reducing the cost of trade, greater education and skills for the population. so i think if a country wants to work in making trade more inclusive, which i think is critical to support -- to continue to have political support for trade, you also need to work in your own domestic policies in a number of areas. >> yes, i agree. >> another question. >> i'm going to ask a question in spanish. [. >> translator: i'm an economics student. i'm from venezuela. and i would like to hear the opinions of ms. marisa bircher. we're all talking about the mircasul and how the mircasul agenda changed with the political change in the region. i'd like to hear your opinion about the tools mircas urkmirca
confront possible political changes if there's a radical change, for examp change. for example, what we expect to get in argentina in the coming months. what specific tools are available to prioritize the objectives of mircasul? what do we have in hand? to keep ourselves moving to these objectives regardless of political changes in the rege. that's a very good question. in recent times from mircasul we've been proposing new objectives and also along the lines of what we've heard from the specialists up here. we need a mircasul that's not ideological and is flexible and is much more modern in terms of internal matters. let me give you a specific example. recently, after the signing of the mircasul eu agreement, the
four members agreed this agre t agreement was going to be put into effect bilaterally. this was approved by the european parliament and by the congresses of some of those countries. it would automatically go into effect. this makes it much more agile. previously, you had to wait for the four congresses to do this. this means we won't lose, waste any more time, and can move forward to give the specific opportunities to our local companies in each country. i can't predict the future about what we expect. i can say mercosur today with the objective and current members understands the urgency of furthering integration by take bing a step toward the eumercosur agreement, also with the countries, and represent a much larger part of the gdp that has to continue to grow for for
companies. i don't think we have to say anymore about the political situation. i think the partners we have are committed to this, we're taking specific steps and this will have an immediate positive impact for our companies. >> hello. >> translator: hola. my name is maria. geor [ speaking foreign language ] >> that's an easy question.
>> turn to you. >> yeah. i've been thinking a lot about the rhetoric policy in general these last 30 years. we can call it the great liberalization since the early '90s. i think we made a mistake of overselling this thing. i mean, clearly, the way that this thing was sold, it was a way of, you know, solving all the growth problems, development problems, inequality. you know, it was like trade policies has superpowers that can address all issues that, you know, a society can have. environment is one of them. i don't think in this regard, you know, i am pretty much, you know, a follower in the sense that i don't think trade policy is the right instrument to address these kind of issues. you need to have environmental
regulations just like you have to have gender, you know, you need to have, you know, income distribution policies and all those kind of things. trade is not going to solve that problem. it hasn't solved -- not like we're starting now, you know, and then we're going to see what happens if we open the economy. we have been opening in most of the region, not all of the region, and, you know, some countries have grown. others keep stuck, you know, in a very low, but that's, you know, something to expect because this is much greater -- involves a number of other issues than just trade policy. so, i mean, the issue of amazon clearly is an issuepolicies, of domestic policies of the countries involved and need to make sure that, you know, all those negative externalties not only, you know, domestically, but internationally, are addressed. trade agreements are not going
to solve that. if you start weaponizing trade agreements as we have seen happening lately, i mean, what is the point of signing them? i mean, let's -- that's why i say, well, let's light a candle with the for the wto, please, otherwise it's going to get complicated. >> we have a lot of work to do. >> yeah. >> we have another question here. >> my name is pascal from ankara consulting and my question is for ambassador barcena. is it possible to great an integrated economic region between south-southeast mexico and central america while at the same time cracking down on -- cracking down on migration? >> i think it's not only possible -- >> it's necessary. >> -- but because i think the concept of cracking down on migration, it's not the solution. what we have been saying is that what we have to address is the root causes of migration.
and the root causes of migration are many and they are all interdependent and interrelated, so we have problems of lack of economic growth, the inequality that i was saying. even countries like honduras that have been growing 5%, the distribution of wealth continues to be extremely uneven. yes, then you have climate change challenges with el nino and el nina and you have this dry corridor, and i know very well what is happening there because i was the previous mexican ambassador to fao and we have been working very closely with fao and wfp in the dry corridor in central america because 60% of the migrants come from the rural areas, but if you go and see what the u.s. government has been doing with idb, alliance for prosperity,
there are no projects for the rural areas. there are for trade fillati facilitation, economic integration, nothing for rural areas. so what we are seeing is that the capacity of having a new model of economic development in central america and the three northern triangle countries and in the south and southeast part of mexico, it is very possible, and it's totally complementary, it will be very different from the model that we're having now in the central and northern part of mexico that is based basically on the automotive industry. we need to have other kinds of industries and development in the southern and southeast part of mention keane txico and the triangle maybe much more based in a kind of not industrialized agriculture but more agrocology,
m organic. we have to tackle, for example, the challenge of the low prices of coffee. if you have mexico, central america, colombia, i think we are the suppliers of 80% of high-quality coffee. and organic coffee. so why don't we work on that? that is the concept that we are having. at the same time, most of the energy that is produced in mexico at very cheap prices, it is produced in the southern part of mexico because of our rivers. so it's hydropower. so we have a nexus of production in certain parts that we have o to -- that we can sell at very competitive prices to central america. we sell it to guatemala, but there is a part of 30 kilometers of this here park which is not connected in guatemala and doesn't allow that -- this electricity runs up to honduras and el salvador for cheap prices, so when i said we, there
is a model of integration, there is, and it's based on cheap energy and interconnection of electricity and it's a focus on the rural areas and agriculture and creation of employment. tackling common challenges on climate change. having the possibility of taking care of biodiversity. just as you have -- and as you pay environmental services, we were already exploring in fao and the global environmental facility to pay for biodiversity services, so this is the kind of things that we are seeing and the final idea is not to crack on immigration but to give the people the opportunity to remain in their countries. and at the same time, we have to recognize that there is a very large young population in the central american countries that
will not be able to find jobs. and you have set by the national association of manufacturers of the u.s., you have 6 million posts that are not filled. so there are ways also to see how we can complement and return to the migration mexicans and central americans coming to work to the u.s. to h2a visas, h2b visas, expandsing the american trucking association needs 60,000 drivers and they will not find them here. they will not find them here. so why don't we really sit at the table with these numbers and the statistics, not with ideology, but with facts and realities and said, okay, let's go through what can we complement, but we are absolutely convinced that the
south and southeast part of mexico needs to be brought to the level of development that other regions of mexico have reached after nafta and that they were not able to reach, and at the same time, to work very closely with the central american countries. that's why we are also already implementing some of the programs of the government of mexico and central america. we are going to see how successful we -- they are. we hope that they will be successful. planting fruit trees and also training young people as apprentice ships but i think the idea is we have to -- to go from cracking on migration and to addressing the root causes of migration. creating employment. creating opportunities. and considering this area as a ve very, very economically linked. if i give you data, you would be surprised.
there are 2.5 million illegal crossings between mexico and guatemala every year. why? because when we have the coffee harvest, it's the guatemalans that go to pick up coffee in mexico. so what we need is to understand better how these flows are working and how to make -- pass them from the informal economy to the formal one and how to bring people better opportunities, better salaries. but i think they are totally complementary and another area that we have been insisting witu may imagine that we did not consider a good measure to stop the aid to central america, but we have said, no, listen, all the efforts that mexico can do, even with costa rica, with panama, with colombia, even with the european union, will never be enough if we don't have the
u.s. on board. if the u.s. is not totally committed to the development of central america. >> nicely put. question? >> thank you to the panel. my name is marco. i'm an economist. i'll throw another one. what do you see -- what do you think of the possibility that nafta repeal might still be used as a tool to pressure congress to pass usmca, and do you think that that threat may be off the table and we may end up with nafta? and would that be an acceptable outcome for mexico? thank you. >> thank you. i -- i hate -- i don't like the word, "threat." i think threatening doesn't lead us to good policy. so i think what we need to
understand is that for economic stability of the northern american region, of a very important economy like the mexican economy that it's so crucial also for the u.s., we need a framework. being that framework, nafta or usmca. i think nafta brought many benefits. it was not equal benefits for all sectors. not for all regions. there were regions and sectors that were losers. both in mexico and the u.s. and canada. and others that were winners. but nafta being a good agreement for those sectors, it was already an old agreement. so i think usmca has areas that are very fundamental for the three countries. the information that i have after many long conversations with senators and congressmen is that they think that not to
ratify usmca and at the same time pulling out of nafta would be a total catastrophe for the northern american region. so i don't think that this idea of using the threat of pulling out of nafta to have usmca ratified is a good idea. usmca has to be considered and ratified based on its own merits, and we have also said to congress that it should not be considered also like a fight or an idea or if we give president trump a political victory or not. the usmca has enough merits on its own to be considered like that in the first place and second, to ratify usmca is also to gesture a friendship toward mexico and toward canada because it will send the right signal from congress that they are on
board for a common future. so we hope that when nafta -- when usmca is finally submitted, implementing legislation and it is considered, it will be considered based on its own merits and it will be considered with these geopolitical approach and friendship approach that mexico, the u.s., and canada, to have even the u.s. being the most powerful economy, they need canada and mexico to be competitive. if after that we can bring central america, work with mercosur ll we reach this powerful free trade area of the americas, then that is maybe the objective in the future, but for now, please just consider usmca based on merits. based on the absolute need of having a stable and competitive north american region which is
beneficial for the three countries, and don't get it into internal politics because this will not lead us to any good result. maybe i'm being too tough, but this is what we ahave been saying. >> that's a very good lesson and one that we all should take in consideration. i thought your comment about the fact that trade benefits are not spread evenly is true in this country and we have to address that because the gains are very real, but everyone doesn't get the same sip from the cup, and, but your comments about mca are terrific and we all look forward to working with you to ensure that we don't have a total catastrophe. i think you will all join me in saying what a terrific panel this has been, and do stay for the next one. [ applause ]
that pelosi has told her that usmca may be on a path for ratification in congress. our next session will be on china and latin america relations beyond complementarity. the session will be moderated by sylvia pevoni, editor at "the banker," a monthly publication of "financial times" group for which she oversees the americas coverage. she's an honorary fellow in the department of economics in the city university of london and adviser for the organization called w.i.l.l., women in leadership in latin america. please welcome sylvia and her esteemed panelists to the stage. >> thank you, everyone. i hope a few of you will come back to the room. i know it's been a busy afternoon. hopefully you will stay with us for what promises to be a very interesting session. we have a fantastic topic which
is the relationship between latin america and the caribbean and china. and to guide us through this -- this fabulous subject, let me introduce you to my -- my -- thank you for helping quieting down the audience. it's like a -- a very vivacious classroom. so i don't necessarily want to play teacher. so let me -- as i said, let me introduce you to my wonderful panelist. so next to me here i have isabelle desaints malo who has many years of experience as a consultant on public policy in latin america and she became the first woman to be elected as vice president in panama. she also has positions as the minister of foreign affairs of panama and the united nations mission in new york and for 15
years she worked with the united nations, the development program in panama occupying different positions including program manager. next to vice president desaints malo we have rosa who occupied the position of deputy director of the dominican geological service. she was the vice minister of the technical ministry of the presidency in charge of international cooperation. she worked for the european union, inter-american development bank, united nations development program and german agency for technological cooperation as a consultant and in 2011 she was designated as the representative of the dominican republic in beijing and served in that position until 2018. next to her, we have alex howe, his new york office and a member of the firm, strategic committee.
he advises u.s. clients on compliance with chinese loan issues like anti-bribery, anti-monopoly, labor and employment and national security. he also acts as outside general counsel for chinese clients investing in the united states and next to mr. howe, we have another chinese national, so we have a very well-balanced panel to address the topic of latin america and the caribbean in china. chun, who is the specialist, division of standard charters bank. he's based in new york. he's responsible for advising corporates and financial institutions in the americas on the implications of china's financial market developments and the internationalization. he's also responsible for supporting chinese corporations in the americas on their financial markets exposure and liquidity management. so we will have a bit of a financial and currency flair.
we'll add that to the conversation. last but not least is ady peters, an economics professor at the graduate school of economics at the university de mexico. he's also the director of the center for chinese/mexican studstud studies at university. he's consulted on projects with the inter-american development bank. his research has has concentrated on the theory of industrial organization, economic development, political economy, as well as the manufacturing sectosector, trad and -- in latin america and mexico. it took me how long, five minutes to go through that very short bio. the longer version will take us the whole hour, potentially. but let's start the conversation, so the relationship between china and latin america and the caribbean
certainly evolved in the years. it isn't just about trade. we heard an interesting panel earlier about trade and trade integration for the region, china is clearly a key trade partner if not the trade key partner for some countries in the region. again, this relationship has evolved and we now have a dozen countries from latin america that has joined -- that have joined the belt and road initiative. a number have joined the asian infrastructure investment bank. so this relationship has really evolved. we've seen m&a deals, we've seen fdi flows moving over the years. what's your assessment of these two areas of the region -- north america, the caribbean, and china. how is this relationship evolving, and is it moving in the right direction? are we positive about this direction of travel or are there
problems lurking in the future? and vice president, perhaps, panama being the first to join the belt and road initiative from the region, maybe you can kick us off. >> thank you so much for the opportunity and i value the opportunity of sharing with you and participating in this panel. thing it's definitely evolving. it's constantly changing. the shape, it's still being defined. it's definitely moved from a relationship of china looking most mostly raw materials in the nation to a china that is currently more and more present in terms of investment, in terms of infrastructure, in the region. this is not random. it's not the result of -- not connected efforts, it's the result of a clear objective on the part of china, by the government of china, of interacting globally more. day have a very clear, specific,
vision of becoming a developed country of interacting globally, and within that, they have a very clear specific objective with latin america. if you look at china's documents on latin america, the foreign minister's document, you will find there that they have a clear statement to become closer to latin america, to look into the region and that has definitely gone along with their increasing political presence in the region. you see more and more very high-level authorities constantly visiting the region. you see commercial efforts. in the part of latin america, as well, you find the interest. i am not so sure that all of the countries within latin america and the caribbean have such a clear vision of what it is that we want from china. i think there is a clear vision
that it brings many opportunities, but i do believe that we need to be very strategic into where those opportunities are and what are the sectors of our economies where we would like to work closer with china. i think definitely there is -- i think the growth, drive, from china is and can continue to represent a growth drive for the region and that is very, very positive, but i think if i were to concentrate on our homework as a region, we need to work harder on identifying our areas of strength to work with china and give priority to those. >> okay. so did you feel that maybe so far china's had the upper hand when it comes to dealing with
latin america? >> i think that china is very aggressive in deal with hing win america. i think they are very serious about the present, and i think that's good for latin america, as long as we are clear on what our challenges are, our opportunities are, what we have to offer, and work on those. >> okay. great. >> translator: bear witness to what has happened throughout this last decade as representative of my country in beijing. and as a latin american person, i would say that i have, indeed, seen many, many things. as a chilean poet, global prize
in literature, i must say that i must confess that i have lived true memories in china. memories from the latin american standpoint and memories also that have to do with the entire change that has taken place in china now. i would like to commend caf, c-a-f, because, indeed, it's been an institution, maybe a pioneering institution. groundbreaking institution establishing this bridge between latin americans and chinese. there, i got to know enrique garcia who came with a large group of wonderful experts. i've met many of them right here. trying to seek out that interaction, that common
knowledge, among the latin americans or between latin americans on the one hand and chinese on the other. as you all acknowledge. we can say that, indeed, we have different ways of thinking, perhaps, and focusing things. china in the last 40 years has carried out a true revolution. something that was not felt could happen, such a great miracle by a nation that has 6,000 years of existence and culture behind it, and the way latin americans, i would say we had a sort of vacuum that had been left by our main partners who have always been the united states, and that is now being
filled up by the chinese because of their concrete needs and requirements because china, for the sake of its own self-development, has required the so-called commodities. and the region has helped very much in propelling the economies of many countries. in that regard, we must look at future challenges that will result from this situation. indeed, there are countries such as brazil and uruguay or argentina, chile, which are the first social partner for china and in the case of some of the countries like our own second and third partners, china are right in latin america to stay. and we must save the relationship between the peoples of latin america and china and
also including the canadian and u.s. peoples. it's not nothing that is appearing just now. . it has existed for 200 years since the first chinese immigrants arrived in the americas. so we must work with that with tremendous effort. >> the united states, which is the third partner in really influencing why this relationship -- we're definitely going to go back to that later on, but now i would like to hear what mr. howe -- thinking about this evolving relationship. [ speaking spanish ] i speak a little spanish. no simultaneous translation from spanish to english needed for me. chinese is my native language but i've been in the u.s. for the past 19 years. do a lot of work for chinese companies certainly in the u.s.,
also in latin america, that's why i'm here. to answer -- by the way, i think it's purely coincidental that we're separate but equal here. i think it's just the way people took suits. absolutely, jebd gender equalit >> i have to say, sorry to interrupt you, i really wish -- the organizers for making sure that there is a very good gender balance on the conference. well done to them. [ applause ] >> now, i think you asked about, you know, what's been happening over the past decade or so in terms of chinese outbound investments especially in latin america. my view, i would argue, that if you look at the past ten years, i would argue that the chinese outbound investments including those into latin america has gone a cycle just like an economic cycle, related but different to that. what i mean by that is if you
look back then years ago, 2008, 2009, that's when the financial crisis just happened. it impacted china much less directly than it impacted america and the west and i think the problem feeling at that time in beijing, in china, was that all of a sudden, there is a lot of good assets out there including latin america to be had at very reasonable prices. i think that really triggered a huge surge of chinese outbound investments and especially spearheaded by the big soes, state-owned enterprises. i've been in the u.s. for 19 years. i wasn't aware -- i don't think there was much before, really before the financial crisis in terms of chinese outbound investments. so it was really a sea change and for me, personally, even though i do work on a daily basis in this respect, i still, sometimes i wake up on a morning and i feel like, hey, you know, how did this happen? you know, i think one of you
mentioned china as a developed country, you know, for all those years, i've been taught, you know, when i grew up in china, china is a developing country and i think it still is. so all of a sudden there is all this change, i think sort of make people dizzy, not just people outside of china who are trying to adjust it but i think also people from a chinese background, they're also trying to -- me included -- also trying to adjust to the sea change. but if you look at the ten years, you know, the reason i, you know, describe it as a cycle, is because, you know, you start at the beginning of the cycle right after the financial crisis by going out in droves, right, and there's this state initiative, you know, the government in beijing is really prompting, encouraging, supporting, all these companies to go out. and, you know, and then you go into 2014, 2015, '16, 2016 was really the year when everything
peaked including investments into the united states. i think for latin america as well. you know, and then you got a lot of pushback including from the united states, you know, for national security review reason reasons. i think we'll come to that maybe in a minute because i do think it's a seminole topic and also very relevant to latin america. and then you have all sorts of, you know, national security and other pushback from the many destination countries, not just the u.s. but germany, many countries in europe. it hasn't -- it remains to be seen whether the same thing is going to happen with respect to latin america, but, you know, but i think where we are right now, so 2017, if you look at 2017 versus 2016, you know, in the u.s., for example, you were seeing that a, you know, a huge drop-off in terms of chinese investments coming into the u.s. '17 versus '16.
in latin america, i think it's less pronounced, but it's also there. so i think -- i wouldn't say that we're back to square one after ten years, i would describe this, again, as a as think where we are in the process is that, you know, everybody outside of china and inside of china, you know i think people need to take stock and think of the past ten years and see what has gone right, what has gone wrong, what explains much of the pushback from many of the countries eyeball o, even though many people including the u.s., many local state governments, you know and including many on the federal level, they are very amenable to chinese investments. but there is very strong current of anti-chinese investments sentiments, i think that's just a matter of fact. so i think it's -- i think the good thing about being a lawyer, myself is i'm not in a position to have to find answers to the questions.
but i think it's at least important to ask the questions. i'll give you one quick example to illustrate that point. and we can come back to this. who is from guyana here in anybody from there. south america. >> i've asked this of many audiences typically it's silence. it's a country of 70 oh thousand people in south america. i was there twice. i was there with the big state-owned chinese client. they were trying to build a power plant, hydroelectric power plan going to take the country overnight from fossil fuel to clean energy. we had been negotiating with the government that had been in power 20, 30 years, four, five, six years. and everything went so well. we were in the process of negotiating the documents. we were on the verge of signing it. it was a $700 million u.s.
dollar power plant that was going to be built. and almost almost overnight the government that had been in power 20, 30 years was voted out of power in a landslide election. and the opposition party came into power, partly on a platform of opposition to the chinese funded project. and rumor had it the opposition party wanted that project too but what they did maybe not surprisingly was oppose everything the incumbent were for. so it was hard for them to politically turn around once they were in power to become, you know, supportive of the project. so i think that illustrates the danger of going the high roads, high routes, sort of relying on a high-level relationship with the powers that be, venezuela,
guyana, ecuador. the same process has been turned out to be less than ideal in many countries. this is one of the things people should reconsider, you know, again at this point of the process. you know, whether or not that is the most productive way for the chinese as well as for the recipients in latin america to conduct investments. so let me stop now and we can come back -- >> no, thank you, very interesting. what are the other feasible ways of accessing your country if not through the very high-level official chans in? let's definitely go back to that. mr. chap what's your take. >> thank you very much i used to worng in shanghai for a couple of the years. the work in hong kong, work in shanghai. then i came to the states in the middle of winter, the company thinks that's valid to build this america, china corridor so in the middle of snow my wife
and i came here. when i go to brazil, to latin america when i go with especially my colleagues from china, you can imagine they flew all the way like 13 hours from shanghai, ten hours plus from beijing to here or new york. and then we are a couple of meetings. and we translate into sao paulo, san diego, it's for them the trip is like 20 or 30 hours. and whenever we discuss business, i talked to my clients in latin america and sao paulo, panama. and together with sometimes my colleagues in beijing, like we normally have, like, 12 hours difference from here. 11 hour the different from -- depending where you are from the latin america. in is actually the challenge
when we do business here in latin america with china. and the belt appear road initiative probably started with more along the silk road, you know, the middle is africa. that's probably originally the core. and also like from that or the asean, southeast asia is actually much closer, or, you need to go there for business. or there is no time zone difference, or much easier than what we are talking about here. i want to start with in, you know, my personal experience, because, you know, when we talk about latin america-china relationship we can't compare with malaysia, indonesia. it's like a completely different
geographic location. and language. i have been telling my fellow panelists that i need to learn better spanish to really understand more, just from myself, my perspective. but given this facts, what we are seeing, you know, china, latin, one of the most important trading partners was mentioned and also from the financial perspective, china central bank, people's bank of china have swap agreement with a number of latin american countries. and more than that, now china markets is opening for foreign investors. we're members now in the sdl. a number of latin american central banks, they are actually investigative in the offshore
market as well as the on shore china interbank bond market. i actually personally just discussed with one of the latin central bank yesterday in addition to one potentially they are exploring want to include m and b into the reserve portfolio. >> ride right. >> i would to give some example of our china latin relationship. is it easy path? i mean apart from the time zone difference, language, very far away with, apart from the political scene, i want to mention another thing is culture. i -- you know, in shanghai, still true nowadays a lot of the traders even on the financial markets they still take nap during lunch hours. for, you know, like money is
time, money is everything. this is very, very healthy habit. but, you know, like i work in new york now. we eat on the desk every day. i mean, i would say different language, different countries in brazil, panama, mexico, like when chinese company go into it, every country we have to understand the local culture. we have to understand what local people are thinking. we have to understand what local people needs in order to be successful, i think one of the things that's what chinese company have to learn along the which. i can't represent all the chinese company because that's highway think when i interact with them in which i think a lot of them are learning in that direction as well. >> plenty of obstacles but do you feel that the chinese companies at least or the ones
that you deal with are becoming more interested in latin america or perhaps losing this interest? >> i would say that lately there are a lot of global, macro, or geopolitics and just shifting things, especially lately as you know like the last panel about the trade tension, right? the u.s.-china trade tension is the biggest one which would ultimately have at least some impact to china. so from that point of view i think chinese companies are also thinking about how they can protect the base. in addition to -- in addition to really thinking about foreign direct investment. i think that's probably one reason why alex mentioned has a drop from the investment from 2016 to now. >> so things are going in direction for them? >> but i would say, you know, things will settle down at some point hopefully.
>> yeah. you're being very diplomatic. >> things would continue to go up at some point. >> doctor, what do you think. >> yes well i also congratulate very much caf for in dialogue on latin america and china in washington which makes it particularly challenging and provocative itching, no. i've been the last several years in washington abi'm always amazed by the lack of nom not to say the ignorance there is on the latin america, china relationship. there is no understanding of the extensiveness and the depth of this relationship. and there is still in idea, as we heard today in the morning, that the u.s. can uni laterally impose new conditions, no?
this i believe unfortunately is the united states in the global arena of the 1950s and 1960s but not of 2019. no. i think that the so-called think tanks in d.c. that sometimes they neither think nor are tanks have a lack of understanding of in relationship. and i would say even provocativetily in order to discuss the topics for me it's amazing how we have a panel on trade in latin america on trade duration, et cetera. and yes every half hour we said something on china, no. this is completely out of line, maybe we will have more time to see the depth of china in terms of trade and the impossibility to lay off discussing trade in auto parts, automobiles, nafta,
the deep disintegration of nafta, of other topics and trade. not to speak of foreign direct investments. if you don't speak in detail on china, no, again there is a high-level of ignorance. we've been trying to discuss in topic of latin america and china from the concept of new triangler. which means u.s. the mexico, u.s. yes the mala el salvador or the argentina-brazil relationship is deeply transformed as a result of the increasing presence of china. china is changing this relationships in terms of trade, investment, culture, by the way also in military terms. the u.s. is witnessing we cannot do what we want in venezuela because we have china, the soviet -- the russia and other
countries, no? i simply. >> is that why the u.s. doesn't do what they want to do because there is china and russia? >> yes, of course. because you have new global players in the region. >> okay. >> in terms of trade, in terms of institutes. but also in terms of military specifically in venezuela. >> okay. >> just to finish in qualitatively terms and we will have time to discuss this more in-depth. but in qualitative terms since 2013 china today is proposing a globalization process with chinese characteristics. what does this mean? this is an tlerptive to the united states to the european union, to japan. again, this is in process as they say, work in process, no in with new institutions, parallel to the institutions that we know
since the second world war and as a result of the systems under the heading of the belt and road initiative with the asian infrastructure investment bank. i'm not putting any objective. it's very easy to say bad, good, in crisis or whatever. i'm not saying. but what i'm saying is that from a latin american perspective, in this new triangler relationship all countries in the region with or without diplomatic ties with china have have to deal with this topic either in panama in el salvador in mexico or guatemala. guatemala does not have diplomatic ties with china. and still china is the second most important trading partnered and they are dealing with infrastructure, confucius institutes and lots of topics. it's not a uni lateral decision from d.c. to say we impose you, you are going to deal either
with the u.s. or with china. all the countries have to deal with china and with the united states. no? >> okay so certainly the u.s. have expressed discontent or perhaps concern over china being more present in latin america and they seem to be offering also through opec, for example, alternative ways or additional ways of financing of course recognizing however that the financial muscle of kwh is unmatched really by -- by anyone in the world. so how do you see this technician playing out for latin north america? maybe we could start by addressing what we think the you know trade wars or trade tensions between the u.s. and china -- how they might impact latin america? then we can maybe talk more broadly about this funny
three-person relationship, and it's implications on the region. who would like to go first? >> i think it's -- it's a fact that tensions between two superpowers will affect not only latin america, the world. that is -- that's obvious. but to me the question is one of, is it positive or not for latin america to deal with china? and the answer so that question is yes, which i think the answer is yes. the question is it is it positive for the united states if latin america does better? and to me the answer to that question is definitely yes as well. we were talking before in the previous panel about it migrant crisis and about the issues of development in latin america.
and how the response that i agree with to the migrant crisis in the u.s. and globally is to work on development on the countries of origin. to ensure that in those countries of origins that there are opportunities for the people so that they don't have to risk their lives to go to other countries. in that framework i do believe that china as dealing with the european union, as trade in general, represents opportunities and possibilities for growth, for development pb, for new businesses. and if latin america does well, that's positive for the united states. so a simple answer in my view to your question will the tensions affect latin america? of course, yes. but i think we need to look deeper. and i think in washington it's important to look deeper into that. and it's not -- it's not a black
and white answer. i go back to what i mentioned earlier of the importance of identifying what is the agenda? and it's something that panama did. and you referred to earlier to the question of is china's presence in the region increasing or decreasing? i don't think you can answer that question globally. latin america and the caribbean are many countries. the presence is increasing in some countries and diminishing in others. >> there is presence and also there is influence, isn't there? so -- >> in a -- such an interconnected world, where is there not influence when there is presence? >> yes. >> i don't think that it's something that we did demonize. every other country intends to influence countries that they
deal with. and countries need to be smart not to let negative influences to your country happen. we need to be smart about that. in panama we define a 12-point agenda when we established diplomatic relations two years ago. and we apostrophe to work towards that agenda. i think that's critical. it's central to identify what your risks are, to be smart, what sectors of your economy you shouldn't be opening up. which you could. it's a bigger question, i think. >> okay. so is china's influence, presence in the region being demonized or does perhaps the states have a points when they are concerned about certain terms, the that may not be particularly clear when a country engages with china?
>>. >> translator: i could give you a few specific figures, for example in 2018 trade between latin america and china and the caribbean reached $300 billion. that was a 20% growth. but if you flip to 2017, just n brazil pb trade was $100 billion. in 2017 latin america was the largest provider of imported fruit into china. chile, argentina, peru, brazil. we're not talking about commodities here.
they continue oh play an important role but there's been a shift as far as what the chinese economic model is and that aspect of it that we have to pay attention to. so it was -- it went to second place in 2018. now i was in beijing and china and i would see in the supermarkets there all of the food products that had come from latin america, for example, fruits, salmon and wine from chile, beef from argentina and uruguay. avocado mexico. coffee from columbia and brazil. and soy products from argentina. now between china and chile there is a new -- they inaugurated a new freight flight
or route because given the great distance for agriculture products to fly from chile to china they had to have enough flights. so now there is another flight. a 48-hour flight from chile that stops off in europe and gets to chincho in the hun an province in 48 hours. i have some friends from chile who grow cherries and it's off season for china. and so they take take their cherries to china and they understand them well. i understand panama is also seeking out something like this. and we'd be happy to talk to you to come up -- to have such a
successful direct flight, freight -- cargo flight to hunan. from $384 billion in 2018 of investments from china into latin america -- now these are reliable sources of information. now $220 chinese companies sought the latin american region. 2,000 -- rather 200 companies. 700 million investments in armgt. we're talking about livestock, steel production, renewable energy and so forth in china and peru investments have been made in transportation and mining generally speaking in copper specifically. the manufacture of motorcycles. and there is a billion-dollar
company that is going to be up and running in 2023. now when talking about technology between brazil -- well with, chile, peru, brazil, mexico as well, i understand, mexico is china's second largest trade partner. so let's stop and think a little bit. given this situation, can our countries really turn their back to chinese investment given this situation? that's impossible. we have been traditional partners of the united states and continue to be so. and we think that we have to reconcile that. we're all members of the world trade organization. we talked about that in the prior panel. that obviously it is necessary for there to be some type of
reform carried out. we think that's the right thing to do, to push for a reform. but we all need to pull together. the united states also wants development in the region of latin america and well being and we all want that for ourselves. i observed in china that what chinese leaders want is the development of their own country, their own communities. i was able to speak with leaders of the communist party in 2011 when i was in china and they said rose ita. we are aware that we can't continue being the world's factory. that was 2011. and they already knew that any couldn't continue growing at that rate. they are going to end up
destabilizing the whole world. and there is awareness in china now to that effect. and that was 2011 when they told me they were going to change their model. and what they wanted was for their -- for their own populous to have access to consumer items. there are 500 million middle class chinese. 250 million travel throughout the world. and i come here and i go to europe. and i go to paris or england. and -- in all the museum, the only thing i see here are the chinese in the u.s. all you have to do is walk around the washington monument and you see chinese all over the
place. times square in new york. i was there the other day. now, there was -- seemed like there was a whole chinese family there. and i was speaking to this family. and i asked, are you from china and they said well my father was cantonese. and he tells me they was very happy to be in the u.s. and so as enrique was saying this is a globalized world nowadays and we're all fully aware what globalization means. what we all want is harmony and peace. just a few vignettes and figures
to give you an idea. >> we've looking at the future all countries relationships because my job is trying to stir things up a bit i'm going to keep on asking you why you think the challenges are when -- in the relationship between of course latin america and china and how the trade tensions might impact the region? perhaps it's is a positive thing perhaps perhaps all auto of all the contention tensions between u.s. and chf latin america is going to benefit? what do you think? >> i will respond by making a few comments. i think we're still op the trade war, right. i try to respond in a broader fashion because i'm aware of the timing constraints we have. but, you know, listening to what the others have to say, you know, i'm thinking of several things. one is i think there is going to be, you know, in the foreseeable future some competition between u.s. and china and not just in
latin america. i was in helsinki last week on vacation. and we went to as you said similar to what you described in times square or -- i'm in new york but i was in helsinki, you know, my younger the daughter needed to go to the bathroom and there was no bathroom in the museum we were visit pg. we went out to a japanese restaurant, all japanese japanese restaurants are now run by the chinese, 98%. we went in they greeted with us with chinese i asked them where do you guys come from and near from the northeastern part of china and i said how many chinese are in helsinki. >> maybe 30 to 50,000 chinese. bear in mind that the entire population of finland, the country is something like 5.5 million people. you're talking about 1 out of a hundred people from china. i think, you know, the bottom line i think the competition will be there.
it's a matter of how do you manage it? is it malicious or beneficial? you know, i -- you know, i want to share with you a -- a comment from my barber that -- the hairdresser that i used about 15 years ago living in manhattan give in new jersey or the school and kids and everything. but in manhattan i used to go to this barber in a basement something on 43rd vote or 4eth streegt between 8th and ninth avenue. it's a small store front front on the basements level. there is one guy who has been there 40 years. this is 15 years ago. so 40 years prior to that -- by now it will be 5 a years. at that time this guy had lived in the u.s. for 40 years when he was a teernl i came from greece to the u.s. he didn't speak any english.
even when i was visiting him he spoke very little english. and he was -- he was very affordable. he was cheap it was like $10, 12 dlrs for a haircut. sometimes i chatted with him and he was quick. but i chatted with him when i could. i said how is it possible you've been doing this 40 years? there is younger people. there is a lot of competition. and he says something i still remember to this day. he said simply because his english wasn't that good. he said i'm not afraid of competition. that's exactly what i said. and i think that's the attitude. that's the american attitude. it's my adopted country i've been in the u.s. 19 years. this country has given me a lot. i think the u.s. can do much better than it's doing right now. i think, you know, the american people deserve better. and but i don't know how but i think we should -- there should be a better solution than, you know, what has been done to sort of respond to this sort of the
china threat. i think there is a lot of negativity right now, you know, if you go tell people in panama, tell people in kmingen republican that hey you have to pick sides, either us or them. i don't think it's going to work. it's not productive. and people are not stupid. you know people will say one thing then you turn around and do other things. at the end of the day you're stuck with the same situation but you lose the good will. and people don't look up to you anymore and people look down on you because you're not a trusted friend. you're seen as more and more selfish than you should be. so i think that's one thing. and the other thing i want to mention is -- i think the competition will stap it's just how manage it. i think the chinese state capitalism model as i said at the beginning, i think it's due for some you know reconsideration. you know, it's one thing to say hey this company, you know some
of largest china's soe it's one thing say they are powerful. it's another thing to say they are effective or efficient. that's two different things. it's like when you go to olympic games, right, i think that's already happening. you know, china could be number one or number two, fierce competition with the u.s. on the meadow list? but china has arguably a system where you know they raise kids when they're three years oltd, the state throws money at them. and they do nothing else but practicing gymnastics for in re lives. and they are then the funded, they're sent to attend the olympics and they win gold medals. because that's the state-led model. but arguably from what i've read, you know, people in other countries maybe including the u.s. they're self-funded, amateurs they just do it, there is really no state support behind that. i think that explains a lot of
tension between u.s. and china. again, i don't know how we can find the answer. but i think both china and u.s. and people of the world deserve better than sort of an argument on this level. and i think honestly -- the ball is in the chinese court i think to a greater extent. but, again, also one of my -- and my favorite magazine i think somebody from the economist is moderating another panel. i think i read in a magazine the other day said something like over the first 40 years since the china u.s. is having this relationship, china is not becoming more like the united states. unfortunately china is not becoming like the united states but the united states is becoming more like china in the sense that, you know, the united states sees something in china that is doesn't like appear the united states is throwing the entire power of the state behind the policy and is going against china and therefore it becomes sore of a clash of, you know if you will two state capitalisms.
which is unfortunate. i think there should be more encouragement of the chinese private companies. private companies because they are stock between a rock and a hard place. i'm not -- probably not the time to belabor this. but you know, briefly the point is this -- the private companies in china, you know, if they go to a bank that is state owned they want a loan it's very hard for them to do that because the banks are supposed to support the s.o.e.s more than the private companies. but you when the private companies come to the u.s. or maybe in latin america. already happening in europe. they are viewed as agents of the chinese state. and i think, you know, the u.s., europe, you know, maybe they should consider accepteding a more positive message both to the chinese private companies and also to the chinese government, that, hey, you know, china is not monolithic we understand that. we encourage the private sector
players as long as they play by the rules. and we discourage them when you go against the state-led capitalism model because it's unfair. it's, you know, it's not a level playing ground. but if you loop everything together, everything that comes out of china is either great we want it or all of a sudden it's all representative of the party. and therefore should be resented. i think right now unfortunately we are sort of in a situation where everything is looped into this- this bucket. therefore there is this huge suspicion of chinese investment for example in the united states because everything is seen through the lens of the state capitalism model. and the chinese government is not shying away from claiming that everything, you know, allegedly has its support. >> perhaps mort of the resentment -- which i mean it's a fact i think. but perhaps more both sides would like to work for more
positive outcome. mr. chan, what do you think? perhaps we can keep on talking about the private sector view and potential when looking at latin america and also talk about foreign direct investment and m. and a's in the region. >> i'll go to the private sector. i want to start with the because i heard rosea talk about the times square. like the chinese over there i-thing when guy to the chinatown in new york i probably find add good or even better than shanghai. like i think like a long time ago there are some hong kong female. guangzhou people came for the united states. and brought some expertise to the united states. and now shanghai is not as as
hong kong but i'm pg thinks what's the implication for the states and globally when there are more and more chinese here? private sector. >> and also sorry that challenge also wants to look at the foreign exchange side of things and recent volatility. >> i'm thinking about, so the -- actually there are several specific region, china want to fwroe that- dsh to be for private sector driven. one of them is the shenzhen. a lot of private technology is there. i saw a lot of start ups and they have their own start upand in the greater bay area that they want to develop. being so close, my home to hong kong like i always admire how shenzhen can be in the past like
the first pilot to beat economic growth and the future can be the pilot of more private sector activities over there. i -- i mean, i do -- i do hope that there will be more, you know, reform from the public sector to the more private sector. although lately you do not see a lot of activity going on from there. we -- we do have a lot of very successful private company, no matter banks or a tech firm. alibaba. and those are because of the innovation and because of the, you know, the private sector krennive, you know to grow the company. i just -- a little bit of comment on trade before i go to
foreign exchange. i think if we break down a little bit this situation obviously is very challenging for u.s.-china trade. transfer between u.s. and china. but i see from the market perspective people are talking about it would be good for brazil in some sense brazil would export for soybean to china and probably would take more market share. good for mexico would export more to u.s. actually some of our trade is quite positive for the mexico currency because of that like conversely. so in -- probably the investment from china, you know, globally will decrease given the situation. but, you know, like some individual countries could still -- may have some benefits. still i just don't want to see everything is challenging. of course to us or u.s. here is very challenging. and on the exchange rate, you know, like, there is just too
many things happening in august which is supposed to be a quiet month. you know, m and b is part through 7.0 has been depreciating over 3%. if you ask me i think it's good that they do not have to defend a certain magic number. and let the currency flow more market driven. that's i think is -- a good thing. m and bs trying to go on the path of internationalization which is more float pg. you know official policy is more float something skiend of the basis for that. lately i have been hearing a lot of client asking whether in the future they could also invest in offshore mbcnh in addition to
u.s. dollar. u.s. dollar of course like is global currency still but there are a lot of discussion on that also trade. >> and the trade with the chinese equivalent also growing. >> when china started the project in 2010 it's exactly 2010all cnh was bank. they wanted to be a trade currency as the first and then to be an investment currency and then to be the reserve currency. so kind of like sdi is the resolve and bond index inclusion, the investment current whichcy. and trade like off and off. appreciate depreciate. we see for m and b appreciate. probably most company is area like hong kong and singapore use that as trade. but i do hear more people asking
me whether you know we can trade mexican with cnh, brazil with cnh that's the conversation i have. >> that's an interesting. i'm sure it's full of volatility and latin american currency isn't helping. >> latelily i hadland say challenging with argentina the most obvious case and what's happening -- also a lot of chinese client calling to us how we can hash those currency as well, argentina, brazil. but i would say that's one consideration. but i think there are other considerations. >> the interesting opportunities i guess in also in the affects in capital markets. while looking at in relationship. i'm going to open the floor to questions soon but first i would like to talk a bit about foreign direct investment.
so fdi flows peaked a couple of years ago and they went down in 2018. where are they -- more than half in 2018 where are they going to go next? >> yes. >> i'm asking you fdi because i know you worked on recent research on those. >> i'm going to your question again. first i'm astonished by the response of some colleagues in the panel doubting the increasing presence of china. i mean this is why we are having the panel. it's not on russia. it's not on india. it's china because china's presence is in culture and political and trade in any country. tell me one country where this is not the case in the last 20 years? i mean from cuba to venezuela, panama, mexico in all countries the presence of china qualitative and quantitatively
has increased drastically and this is why of course the united states feels threatened. no? otherwise we wouldn't have this panel? in last year we did a study for the ilo international labor office. china has generated in latin america in the last 15 years 2 million jobs. so it's not only trade. it's not only fdi. two million jobs. that's more than the economic active population of full countries. so this is serious. no? in terms of trade for example just to have an idea mcis deeply disintegrating the integration process of latin mark. and particularly nafta. the u.s. doesn't even notice. they think mexico is stealing jobs and i don't know what.
just to have an idea, in -- in the last since 2000 to 2019, the share of mexico with u.s. trade fell from 82% to 63%, by almost 20%. what is the counterpart? china. china has increased from 1% to 12%. so -- the big looser of china's increasing presence in latin america in terms of trade, the big looser is the united states. so when it is the united states going to discuss the value added chains instead of blaming all the world from china to russia to india to mexico, whatever? and this is the case regarding foreign direct investment.
just to have an idea, again we could have a seminar on this. but china in the last 10 years has been annually investing $11 billion u.s. in latin america. $11 billions every year no? and changing drastically many people in academics, in politics still think, yes, yes, chinese are only searching for raw materials in south america. this is completely outdated, no? again, i invite to whoever is interested in this topics in the auditorium to integrate this the discussions with the university, with peta, with hong kong university and latin america. not again because i think the think tanks in washington are not doing a good job, no? china in the last three years is investing in services, and the
manufacturing away from raw materials. china is changing the countries historically changing, china invested massively in brazil, in argentina and in the peru. to they the main countries are mexico, chile and peru also. and the property of the firms is also changing very substantially. historically up to 85% of chinese firms were public firms. today, this is falling to less than 20%. no? so, again, we have to update. we have to integrate. and we have to be specific. we have to- we need specialists on trade, not the holistic view on china. who thinks that china is good? 20% says yes 80% said no. we need specialist on trade,
investment on infrastructure and financing. many people still cannot distinguish between an investment and infrastructure. and we put everything in one bottle and we speak of nothing, no. so, again, welcome and integrate to the existing efforts in china and latin america. >> okay, great, you're calling for think tanks -- in washington in general to become more of an expert on china and i would like to say say the fantastic they have a fantastic database on china finances. i think there is one actually looking and is an expert on china in washington. right. there is a question over there if you can introduce yourself and state the company you represent as well. >> how are you? my name is from the service at
georgetown, university. i would like to take advantage of this panel to ask this question, very short question. we are very interested in international releases about continuity and change. and we have very important political change in two representatives from the pannell. from mexico. i would like them to assess the degree of continuity and change in your own countries, of course the case of panama it has been recent. but i'm sure that there will be some insights that will be useful. thank you very much. >> thank you i'm going to take another question as well so we can answer them together. yes, please. >> hi. this is the uptrend for american university. an american citizen who live a good part of her life in asia and have known the chinese influence. i am particularly addressing two
of them here. anton and rosa first i'll let you no he what i think and then i'll pose the question. mr. anton, despite your illusion the whole thing is about trade and competition in the united states could have done better, i say i think i came to this conference and heard the first part. but it wasn't about trade. had it not been for the united states do you think china would be wheres it today? no the question is not trade, mr. anton. the question is, under the disguise and propaganda of belt and road initiative, what is a true motive and intent of china, for political and military strategic aim and ambition, take south china sea, for example, what is the need of building
cemented military structure over coral reef? all right. and let's be clear eyed, today is not about blushing and flushing and verbiage. after i listen to all of you, i can realize this this is almost staged. this is not true. and for rosa, are you a dominican republic citizen or are you a chinese? you are very offensive when you said america and china is the same we come here and trade. i believe you struck me as a mouthpiece of china and chinese propaganda. >> okay. fine so that's quite an accusation. >> let's be clear eyed, don't cover up. i'm an american citizen. i have watched everything. i spent a good part of my life in america. >> okay thank you for your contribution and i'm sure our guests will want to -- sorry.
>> did you say good luck. >> she described you, sir. >> it's a corrupt. >> it's a strong accusation. i'm sure -- well urms you feel this way. i'm sure the guests want to address that. would you want to start by addressing this then we go to panama and mexico? >> sorry you are -- first of all thank you very much for the comments and for the questions. and i -- i think from -- from my experience, like when i talk to clients, you know, from china, first of all, when they want to invest abroad, probably there are some, you know, agenda -- i may not know -- but like at the
beginning i -- i understand from them is they would like to diversify some of their assets from china, like, you know a lot of -- basically chinese normal citizens all the savings mostly is still in china, right. i feel like couple years back like that's the first trend, like more of diversefiation of the assets. and lately i have to say i also see a trend more and more client is asking and telling me that they have higher and higher standard, they need to meet a certain return when they go out for foreign investment. i am not sure probably that's one of the reasons leading to the drop. maybe. i'm just -- i'm just trying to say that's my personal
experience like behind some of the things i see. i may not be -- i grew up in hong kong i maybe not can totally represent -- i definitely cannot represent the whole sbrmzs or the china government. but that's my banking experience. >> okay. would you like to offer a response? >>. >> translator: i don't know -- i'm -- i am a very proud dominican from the dominican republic. i speak -- i love my country profoundry. the one i love the most. and very happily i'm also a descendant of chinese people. my grandfather and my father came to the dominican republic
in 1920. my mother was dominican. and i learned my mother's language. but i also learned a lot from the actual philosophy and culture of my father. my father was a buddhist. i am a catholic. but i have full respect for buddhism, its philosophy and religion. former president fernandez had the trust in launching a decree as a president and sent me to china in 2011. before that i had been in china back in 2005. enrique knows me well because he also went to china year after year. and i went with him. i had the mandate given by my president to do what i had to
do, to have us sign a relationship between china and the dominican republic. why did we do so. i will tell you which we did it. because the d.r. and china had an agreement for commercial exchange or the so-called trade development dating back to 1993. and our relations in spite of the existing limitations where we did have a diplomatic relationship, the same is the case of panama -- china has a certain system that has worked well for them. ment -- we have a different system entirely. and we respect. and all that we say is in keeping with the democratic institutionalty of our countries. we have two different ways of thinking. i stated this in the beginning. we in the west look at things with a different approach.
in the east things are seen in a different way. if you were chinese and you are chinese who has become an american, you must live within that cultural duality. i am bi cultural. and i do not feel that i'm less because of that to the country. i learned to respect my father's culture and also to defend the cultures of the west. so i think with that i have responded to the question. >> can i respond in 30 seconds i know it's not addressed to me but i'll be quick i promised. i -- first of all i don't think nothing here is personal, right. and second of all i think it's -- i appreciate the straightforward comment. i think it's thought provoking. and i think it highlights the point that i made earlier that it is now increasingly hard to tell the difference between, you
know, basically the bottom line is once the money comes out of china it's increasingly difficult to tell whether this is money from the party, from the government, from the s.o.e.s or the money is from the private sector. i think that's just a reality. and there is an increasing trend of confusion. and sometimes it's intentional maybe, you know where the money comes from. they want you to belief one way as opposed to the other. and mcis changing and in this respect i would rg a it's not changing in a very positiveway way and i'm not saying the state-owned is bad. private is good. that's -- let's leave that aside. but if you can't tell the difference then people couldn't react to it. and then that lends to confusion, frustration and suspicion. and resistance on the part of the destination countries. i think we are seeing that in the u.s., europe, less so in latin america. i think that's the. toic that will need to be addressed in the next cycle.
>> thank you. and now we move on to the changes in mexican and panama unless you also wanted to compensate on this. >> yes the concept ofconcept of relationships is not an academic concept. it becomes very concrete in the case of the dominican republic and countries of latin america in the last weeks and months, including mexico. from the perspective of the mexican government for the foreign minister, the minister of economics, et cetera. by far, from statistics, the u.s. is the most important partner. statistics, trade, whatever you want to. but china is, by the way, the second most important trading partner for mexico since 2013.
for more than 15 years. so the pressure from the administration, formally or informally, to say truce, is an impulsive question for mexico, for the foreign minister, where china is included in the testing. by the way, we are very interested that you signed the memorandum of understanding -- nonbinding, but it is, from a strategic perspective, relevant for us. you have friends who say, don't you dare to sign it, otherwise you will have big problems with us, no? i will say, of course, i am not in the public sector, i would
say that countries from panama to argentina to brazil, including mexico, we will draw a line vis-a-vis china and vis- a-vis the united states and you know what, i am going to sign, for example, the memorandum of understanding. and by the way, nafta or usmca, et cetera, is also relevant for me. it is not a or b, china and the united states. again, from today until november of the next year this will be very visible for mexico and other countries. but it is the way to do it, i think. to tell, to let them know, both parts, you are both relevant. no? >> thank you. and lastly -- >> in the case of panama i don't see a drastic change in policy or the relations between panama and the people's
republic of china. the presence of chinese and panama has been over 100 years, actually. it is not too well known, but about 10% of the panamanian population is of chinese descent that came to panama to build the railroad before the canal was built. actually the government, the current government, that party is the party that initiated commercial, stronger ties with china. that party is the one that established a commercial office with the people's republic of china, a long time before we established diplomatic relationships. i think the steps taken since the establishment of relations are broad. they are broad agreements, because it is too short a time. i don't see a shifting in policy. the united states, i am sure, as well, will remain as panama's strongest partner in
terms of commerce, in terms of vision, in terms of the values that we share. the united states is the primary user of the panama canal and china is the second user of the panama canal, so i make the point. the question of china and the u.s., i want to stress that i agree. it is not a matter of choosing. it is a matter of understanding. where the complements and the sharing of vision is and where it is not. and deciding there what is relevant for your own country. so i don't see a major change in policy, no. >> thank you. on that note, i am afraid we have to wrap up. i'm sorry we can't take any more questions. after this is over -- it has
been a very interesting hour and a half. sorry we don't take longer to talk about this subject, really it could take days to discuss. and please help me in thanking our wonderful panelists. >> thank you. >> thank you guys and thank you everyone for being here. please remember to return your simultaneous interpretation packets before you head out. >> thank you again for being here. tomorrow's panel will start approximately at 8:30 p.m. the registry begins at 7:30 a.m. tomorrow.
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