President Barack Obama will pursue a broad agenda when he makes a five-day trip to three Latin American nations in March, soon after Treasury Sec. Timothy Geithner traveled to the largest economy in the region, Brazil, to lay the groundwork for the President's trip.
Obama will be meeting new Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff for the first time since she took office for outgoing President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
During the March 19 to 23 trip, Obama will also visit one of the most developed countries in the region, Chile, and one of the smallest, El Salvador.
[T] he President will meet with the leaders and speak to the peoples of these countries to discuss a broad range of issues including economic prosperity and job creation through increased trade and partnerships, energy and security cooperation, shared values and other issues of regional and global concern, the White House said in a released statement on Friday.
The talks will advance our efforts to work as equal partners to address the basic challenges facing the people of the Americas, the White House said.
The President will visit two Brazilian cities, Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro. He'll also visit the capitals of Santiago and San Salvador.
Last month, during his visit do Brazil, Geithner said the U.S. and Brazil have similar strengths and face similar challenges.
Both countries view strong economic growth coming from a dynamic private sector, a commitment to open and fair trade, and investments in innovation, education and infrastructure, Geithner said, echoing the President's proposal to Congress to approve spending in those areas, despite some cutbacks elsewhere.
Geithner also noted that trade with Brazil had almost doubled since 2000, while investors are injecting capital into each other's economies.
Today Brazilian entrepreneurs are investing in the United States, opening up plants and creating jobs, just as American companies are doing in Brazil, Geithner said.
The countries have also cooperated in tackling the financial crisis in concert with other developed and emerging nations belonging to the G-20.
The U.S. has urged greater representation for Brazil at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, two Washington-based institutions which emerged in the aftermath of World War II. The former provides loans and technical assistance to member countries while offering policy advice for monetary cooperation and exchange stability. The latter seeks to reduce poverty in middle-income nations and also in the poorest.
Geithner said Brazil is seeing a surge in capital inflows due to investors' expectations of the country growing at a faster pace and delivering higher returns than other major economies.
Not mentioning China by name, Geithner said Brazil has borne a disproportionate share of both the benefits and burdens of those capital inflows, a fact magnified by the policies of other emerging economies that are trying to sustain undervalued currencies, with tightly controlled exchange rate regimes.
Geithner said as other countries boost consumer demand, Brazil's currency will face less upward pressure, leading to robust growth in Brazil's exports, especially manufacturing exports.
The U.S. has more work to do to be a source of stability and strength for the global economy, Geithner said, noting that the U.S. must invest in the right areas to do so.