US President Joe Biden will bring together leaders from countries across the American continent in Washington on Friday to discuss strengthening supply chains and addressing immigration issues.
On the eve of the first Alliance of the Americas for Economic Prosperity Leaders Summit, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters Thursday that the two-day event will be a “unique opportunity.” in a generation” to shift from global to Western Hemisphere supply chains.
According to Kirby, the summit will also address the “shared migration challenge” and the creation of “significant economic opportunities” between countries in the region.
The meeting was announced last year during the Summit of the Americas held in Los Angeles. The focus on trade coincides with increased competitiveness between the United States and China, the world’s two largest economies. Biden has offered government incentives to build infrastructure in his country and for companies to build new factories. But after the pandemic disrupted global manufacturing and shipping, there have also been efforts to diversify trade and reduce dependence 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. In addition, it imported $1.2 trillion in goods and services from those countries, although most of the trade was with Canada and Mexico.
In contrast, last year the United States imported goods and services worth $562.9 billion from China.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen outlined the Biden administration’s goals in a speech at the Inter-American Development Bank on Thursday. Washington wants to diversify supply chains with “trusted partners and allies,” a strategy she said has “enormous potential benefits for driving growth in Latin America and the Caribbean.”
Yellen, who regularly mentions her strategy to improve supply chain resilience by working primarily with friendly nations against geopolitical rivals like China — what she calls “friendshoring” — presented her vision for new US investments in South America during his appearance.
The Inter-American Development Bank, which is Latin America’s largest multilateral lender, would support new projects through grants, loans and new programs. The United States is the main shareholder of the financial institution, with 30% of the voting rights.
Increasingly, American policymakers are expressing concern about China’s influence at the bank. Although the Asian superpower has less than 0.1% of voting rights, it has large economic interests in some of its 48 member states.