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A Mistake to Overlook Latin America's Role in Today's Trade Negotiations | Commentary

For example, Canada and the four Pacific Alliance countries (Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru) should be priority candidates to join TTIP once it is concluded between the US and EU. After all, Alliance members account for more than half of all Latin American trade and are highly integrated into the global economy. Members have FTAs with countries representing almost 75 percent of the world economy.

Negotiators should work to ensure that mutual recognition agreements and rules of origin requirements are streamlined to encourage inter-regional trade and investment flows. And, the U.S. and EU should redouble their efforts to bring Latin America’s largest economy, Brazil, into the game by reinvigorating free trade talks with Mercosur.

Last month, negotiators met and made significant progress on both TPP and TTIP. The fact that both agreements are moving forward in tandem reinforces their potential, and underlines the fact that, in the absence of a concerted effort to ensure compatibility, there is a serious risk of setting up divergent trade regimes. An actively engaged Congress, via passage of strong Trade Promotion Authority legislation, will help ensure that America’s trade and economic policy boosts competitiveness, creates jobs, and raises standards both at home and worldwide.

As the United States continues to break exports records, Congress should encourage and welcome the strengthening of the international trading system. Other countries are moving boldly and swiftly ahead with their own trade agendas. Quite simply the United States cannot afford to fall further behind its neighbors and allies.

Jason Marczak is deputy director of the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center at the Atlantic Council. Garrett Workman is the associate director of Global Business and Economics Program at the Atlantic Council.

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