Asia is rapidly displacing the United States as the Western hemisphere’s top trading partner, pumping investments into Latin America and fueling the region’s growing middle class.
Asian investors flush with hundreds of billions of dollars in cash now see Latin America as a top business opportunity, and they’re flooding into manufacturing, construction and other industries, particularly in up-and-coming countries such as Brazil, Peru and Mexico.
Government and business officials meeting this week at the World Economic Forum in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico said the investment surge means Asia is poised to overtake the United States and the European Union as Latin America’s top trading partner over the next decade.
Already, Chinese investment in Latin America has jumped from a few million dollars just a few years ago to about $15 billion in 2010.
Japan, meanwhile, surpassed even that figure last year and displaced China as the region’s top Asian investment and trade partner.
Asian investment in auto and other manufacturing in Mexican industrial cities has greatly expanded the middle class.