Stepan, Alfred
December 1979
Foreign Affairs;1979 Special Issue, Vol. 58 Issue 3
Academic Journal
This article focuses on the relation between Latin America and the U.S. World economic and political changes have increased U.S. stakes in Latin America in a number of ways. Continued U.S. dependence on oil imports from the politically volatile Middle East has obviously increased the strategic and economic importance of Mexican oil to the U.S. As a major importer of oil as well as for other reasons, the U.S. will continue to be forced out of its relatively self-contained economy to compete in world trade. To the extent that the U.S. has a comparative advantage in Latin America, much of this trade could take place within the Hemisphere, already 80 percent of North American exports to developing countries go to Latin America By the mid-1980's, Mexico could well be the largest trading partner of the U.S. Meanwhile, U.S. banks are dramatically increasing their exposure in Latin America, 20 percent of Citibank's profits recently came from Brazil alone. Indeed, Latin America's growing role in international capital markets is indicated by the fact that in the first eight months of 1979 the world's top three borrowers in Eurocurrency bank credits were Mexico, Venezuela and Brazil.


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