San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

World Economic Forum seeks to boost Latin America trade

Mexico. (AFP) – The World Economic Forum on Latin America opens in Mexico Tuesday, seeking to boost trade within a region that enjoys relative economic prosperity amid worldwide uncertainty.

Some 900 participants from 70 countries, including the presidents of Mexico, Spain and Guatemala, were expected to attend the two-day meeting in the Pacific resort of Puerto Vallarta.

“Latin America is in a very privileged position” despite recent economic crises in some countries, according to Marisol Argueta de Barrillas, director of the World Economic Forum for Latin America, pointing to strong budget disciplines and controls on public spending in many countries.

But she added: “There could be a lot more effort to promote a stronger inter-regional exchanges.”

Trade between Latin American countries is barely at 20 percent compared with 46 percent in Asian nations and 67 percent among European countries, Argueta said.

Economy and trade ministers from the Group of 20 leading and emerging economies will also meet in Puerto Vallarta later in the week, along with representatives from Cambodia, Chile, Colombia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Spain.

The heads of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) were expected to attend that meeting.

Mexico will host a G20 summit in the northwest Pacific resort of Los Cabos in June.

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