WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is bringing leaders from 10 other countries in the Americas to the U.S. capital on Friday to discuss tightening supply chains and address migration issues.
Ahead of the first Leaders’ Summit of the Partnership for Economic Prosperity of the Americas, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters Thursday that the two-day event would be a ” once-in-a-generation opportunity” to shift a greater share of global supply. channels to the Western Hemisphere.
Kirby said the summit would also focus on the “shared migration challenge” and creating “meaningful economic opportunities” between countries in the region.
Joining Biden are leaders from Canada, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay and Panama.
Friday’s event was announced last year at the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles. The focus on trade comes as competition has intensified between the United States and China, the world’s two largest economies. Biden, a Democrat, has offered government incentives to build U.S. infrastructure and for companies to build new factories. But after the coronavirus pandemic disrupted global manufacturing and shipping, efforts have also been made to diversify trade and reduce reliance on Chinese manufacturing.
In 2022, the United States exported $1.2 trillion worth of goods and services to other countries in the Western Hemisphere, according to the U.S. Trade Representative. It also imported US$1.2 trillion worth of goods and services from these countries. But the majority of these trades were with Canada and Mexico.
In contrast, the United States imported $562.9 billion worth of goods and services from China last year.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen laid out the Biden administration’s goals in a speech Thursday at the Inter-American Development Bank. The United States wants to diversify its supply chains with “trusted partners and allies,” a strategy it says has “huge potential benefits for fueling growth in Latin America and the Caribbean.”
Yellen, who regularly talks about her “friendshoring” strategy to increase supply chain resilience by working primarily with friendly countries rather than geopolitical rivals like China, outlined her vision for new U.S. investments in South America at the development bank.
The Inter-American Development Bank, which is the largest multilateral lender in Latin America, would support new projects through grants, loans and new programs. The United States is the bank’s largest shareholder, with 30 percent of the voting rights.
Increasingly, U.S. policymakers are expressing concerns about China’s influence within the bank. Although the Asian superpower holds less than 0.1 percent of the voting power, it has significant economic stakes in some of the bank’s 48 member countries.