London wants better ties to Latin America

Nov. 10, 2010 at 1:50 PM
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LONDON, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- London needs to reverse course and expand its diplomatic ties to Latin American, the British foreign secretary said.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the government of Prime Minister David Cameron was eager to expand its diplomatic ties to Latin America.

"Britain's involvement with Latin American independence is not simply a mine of stirring anecdotes but a rich part of our history," he noted.

About half of the foreign investments in Latin America came from Great Britain by World War I in the early 20th century, with trade accounting for as much as 25 percent bilaterally. Now, he said, British exports to Latin America were barely at 1 percent.

Germany, he said, exports nearly four times as much to Latin America as Great Britain while France and Italy have "left us behind" in terms of engagement there.

Hague said in his statement to members of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office that now was the time to rethink engagement with Latin America. The region, he said, offers new opportunities for political cooperation as well as trade and investment.

"We may not have done as well as we could in the recent past but we offer many of the skills and services Latin America needs in the years ahead," he said.

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