Like Latin America, Atlanta, too, should continue to build its business relationship with China to remain competitive in the global economy, Luis Alberto Moreno, president of the Inter-American Development Bank, told GlobalAtlanta.
“Last year, about 50 percent of all the foreign direct investment coming out of China went to Latin America,” Mr. Moreno said in a video interview with GlobalAtlanta at the June 11-12 Americas Competitiveness Forum held in Atlanta.
“That gives you an indication of trade patterns and where you must follow,” he said, explaining that Atlanta should “without a doubt” continue to increase its business ties globally, especially with China.
Mr. Moreno also said that the Inter-American Development Bank was looking to China to become a member of the bank, which grants loans for economic and social development to 26 Latin American or Caribbean governments.
In March, the development bank and the People’s Bank of China signed a memorandum of understanding for the possible admission of China as a development bank member. As a member, China would join 47 other countries, with each owning shares of the bank with proportional voting powers. The United States currently holds 30 percent of the bank’s shares.
The bank’s increasingly close ties with China come as Taiwan is working to confirm its relationships in Central and South America.
Not officially recognized by China, Taiwan has diplomatic ties with 11 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is sending its vice president, Annette Lu, to Paraguay, Panama and the Dominican Republic in early July to confirm some of those relationships.
But her visit comes after Costa Rica cut off a nearly 60-year diplomatic relationship with Taiwan to recognize China earlier this month.
While Mr. Moreno supports increased business relationships with China, he would not encourage Latin American countries either way to politically support China or Taiwan.
“That’s an issue for each of the countries to resolve,” he told GlobalAtlanta at the forum after moderating a panel on the state of competitiveness in the Western Hemisphere.
Also in the interview, Mr. Moreno said that Atlanta’s sound logistics system, including Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and the Port of Savannah, give it “great connectivity” to all of Latin America.
“Atlanta is a gateway to the Americas,” he said.
Public and private officials throughout Georgia are working to get strengthen their business relationships with China.
Political and business professionals are actively supporting a bid by a Delta Air Lines Inc. to open a nonstop route between Atlanta and Shanghai, China, and they are also pushing to get a Chinese Consulate General to open here.
City leaders are also considering Ningbo, China, as Atlanta’s next Sister City. Atlanta already has Sister City relationships with 18 international locales, including Taipei, Taiwan.
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Americas Competitiveness Forum