While China and India capture many of the headlines in the business press, a number of American firms are finding opportunities further south. In fact, US companies responding to the recent HSBC Trade Confidence Index picked Latin America as the most promising region for growth over the next six months; China came in second.
Perhaps that's not surprising, given the rate at which trade between the US and Latin America has been growing over the past few years. "Latin America is far from the largest US regional trade partner, but historically is the fastest growing one," according to the June 2010 report by the Congressional Research Service, (CRS) "US-Latin America Trade: Recent Trends and Policy Issues." Between 1998 and 2009, total trade - that is, both imports and exports - between the US and Latin America jumped 82 percent; in comparison, trade with China grew by 72 percent. The only region with which trade grew faster was Africa, and that was starting from a tiny base.