On Tuesday, December 6, news broke that the government of Panama had awarded a $1.4 billion contract to a Chinese consortium to initiate a new infrastructure project on the Panama Canal. The new contract will allow the Chinese consortium to begin construction of a massive bridge over the Panama Canal connecting Panama City to its western suburbs. This deal comes directly after Chinese president Xi Jinping paid a visit to Panama—the first Chinese leader ever to do so—during a 4-part tour to Spain, Argentina, Panama and Portugal. President Xi’s tour overlapped with the occurrence of this year’s G20 Summit in Buenos Aires.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect on January 1st, 1994. The goal of the agreement was to eliminate barriers to help promote positive trade and investment between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. To accomplish this, tariffs were eradicated over time and almost “all duties and quantitative restrictions…were eliminated by 2008,” (“North American Free Trade Agreement”).
The North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, has been a controversial piece of legislation since its conception in 1994. This controversy has been reignited since Donald Trump, now the president of the United States, has repeatedly referred to NAFTA as ‘the worst trade deal ever signed’, and a threat to U.S. manufacturing jobs (New York Times). During his election campaign, one of the largest proposals of his platform was to withdraw from the agreement, an idea on which he has flip-flopped quite a bit since his 2017 inauguration.
Historically, Uruguay’s top trading partners have been its two neighboring countries, Brazil and Argentina. As a member of Mercosur, the Southern Cone Common Market, composed of many Latin American nations, the Pacific bordering nation has enjoyed elite trading opportunities between the other Mercosur members (Australian Government).
A couple weeks ago I talked about the new trade and foreign direct investment deals occurring between Latin American countries and China. This subject dates back to the 2000s with the boom of China’s economy, but history between the two countries dates back to the colonial period when goods from both regions were highly prized and exploited.
On Tuesday, January 26, 2016, the Obama Administration announced that it would loosen trade agreements between the US and Cuba.1 While the embargo between the two countries is still in place, and not likely to be overturned by congress anytime soon, restrictions on exports and shipping have been eased. The new trade agreements will take effect on February 3, 2016 and will allow for goods from the US to go directly to Cuba.