The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

Fact Sheet: The U.S. Relationship with Central and South America

AN EMERGING PARTNERSHIP FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH

President Obama is committed to enhancing U.S. leadership in Central and South America, and at the same time, recognizing the region’s emerging markets as key players in the global economy.  Central and South America’s rapid pace of growth – around 6 percent in 2010 – is creating new opportunities for mutually beneficial trade that creates prosperity abroad and new jobs at home.  We are connected to Central and South America not just by a common geography, but by common interests and values.

The President set a goal of doubling our exports by the end of 2014, and with nearly 20 percent growth since 2009, we are on pace to meet this challenge. But as the United States competes globally, strengthening our partnerships for progress with our American neighbors is crucial to winning the future.  U.S. trade agreements with Central and South America already cover 7 countries and $471 billion in total goods trade with more set to be added when the outstanding issues with Panama and Colombia are resolved and those FTA’s are put forward for Congressional approval.    These agreements, along with extensive trading and investment relationships and government-to-government mechanisms to promote United States economic engagement in the region are positioning the U.S. to successfully compete in Central and South America and around the world.

United States trade facilitation and technical assistance partnerships with Central and South American countries has helped to strengthen economic institutions across the region and further integrate countries into the global trading system and improved economic linkages to the United States.

Central and South America: An Economic Engine Close to Home

• Central and South America are home to 440 million people.  In 2010, it had a GDP of $3.6 trillion, projected to rise to $4.8 trillion by 2015. The region’s economy grew by around 6 percent in 2010, and is expected to grow 4 percent in 2011. 

• U.S. exports to Central and South America grew 86% percent between 2004 and 2009 and are on track to more than double during the next 5 years.  During the first three quarters of 2010, exports of goods and services rose by 26.3 percent over the comparable period in 2009; just faster than the 25.8 percent increase in U.S. goods and services exports to Asia over the same period.

• Exports to Central and South America are estimated to be $161 billion in 2010, supporting almost 900,000 U.S. jobs. 

• Total trade this year is projected to be $300 billion. 

• The U.S. has $142 billion in foreign direct investment in South and Central America. 

• The U.S. runs a surplus in goods and services trade with Central and South America.   U.S. goods exports to the region are primarily manufactured goods. The 2010 surplus is estimated to reach $20 billion.

Brazil

• With a 2010 GDP of more than $2 trillion, Brazil is the 7th largest economy in the world and accounts for nearly 60 percent of South America’s total GDP.  Brazil’s economy grew by 7.5 percent in 2010 is anticipated to grow by between 4 and 5 percent in 2011.

• With 193 million of the world’s consumers, and per-capita income expected to grow at 6 percent a year, Brazil’s demand for goods imports has more than tripled from $47.2 billion in 2002 to $181.6 billion in 2010 with U.S. goods exports to Brazil also tripling, from $12.4 billion in 2002 to $35.4 billion in 2010.  In the past five years, goods and services exports more than doubled, from $18.7 billion in 2004 to $38.8 billion in 2009.

• U.S. exports of goods and services to Brazil are projected to reach $50 billion in 2010, supporting an estimated 250,000 jobs.  U.S. exports of goods and services to Brazil rose by 35.3 percent in the first three quarters of 2010, faster than the 32 percent rise in U.S. exports of goods and services to China.

• There was $57 billion in U.S. foreign direct investment in Brazil at the end of 2009.

Chile

• With a population of 17 million and a GDP of $199 billion, Chile’s economy grew at 5.2 percent in 2010 and is projected to grow by around 6 percent in 2011. 

• Chile is our 24th largest goods export trading partner.  U.S. exports to Chile – primarily manufacturing – were projected at $13 billion in 2009 and are estimated to support 70,000 U.S. jobs. 

• We currently have a trade surplus of goods of $3.9 billion with Chile.  In 2009, the U.S. services surplus with Chile was $1.0 billion. Since our FTA with Chile went into effect in January, 2004, goods exports have increased by 300 percent, rising from $3.6 billion to $10.9b.  Service exports have increased by 92%, rising from $1.12 billion to $2.15 billion.

• There was $23 billion in U.S. foreign direct investment in Chile at the end of 2009.

El Salvador

• With a population of 6 million and a GDP of $21.8 billion, El Salvador’s economy grew at 3.3 percent in 2010 and is projected to grow at 5.3 percent in 2011.

• U.S. goods exports to El Salvador in 2010 reached $2.4 billion, and are estimated to support 13,000  jobs.  El Salvador is our 59th largest goods trading partner with $3.8 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2009. 

• We currently have a trade surplus of goods of $225 million with El Salvador.  Our FTA with El Salvador went into effect in March, 2006.  Since the end of 2005, goods exports have increased by 32 percent.

• There was $3.48 billion in U.S. foreign direct investment in El Salvador at the end of 2009.  In addition, Salvadorian Americans are one of the nation’s largest Hispanic populations, numbering more than 2.5 million.

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