This week, when United States President Joe Biden visits Los Angeles for the Summit of the Americas, he will promote a "new and ambitious economic agenda" to leaders from the Western Hemisphere, but it will not involve new trade agreements.
A senior administration official told reporters on Monday that Biden will present a proposal on Wednesday titled "The Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity" that aims to mobilize new investments in the region.
The economic initiative also aims to fortify supply chains, promote decarbonization and biodiversity, facilitate inclusive trade, and update the "social contract" between governments and their people.
The ultimate goal is to build economies from the bottom up and the middle out by building on the foundations laid by free trade agreements with the area, Biden said.
The partnership is one of several initiatives the Biden administration will present during the three-day summit.
The move is part of an attempt to salvage a gathering marred by disagreements over which world leaders would be invited and a perception that the administration prioritizes domestic issues, such as immigration, over genuine economic engagement.
After Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua were excluded, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said on Monday that he would skip the meeting.
It is also a critical component of the administration's broader strategy to strengthen ties with its southern neighbors in order to address recurring concerns such as immigration and climate change, while also countering China's growing economic and political influence.
However, the president's proposals, which mirror the administration's approach to economic engagement in other regions of the world, are unlikely to satisfy the desire of Latin American nations for greater trade access to the United States and, among those that already have free trade agreements, for increased economic engagement and investment.
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), the ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee and an outspoken supporter of free trade, stated, "I'm very concerned that the United States has essentially disengaged from Central and Latin America, and I believe reengagement will require a deliberate, concerted effort."
He also said that he doesn't see that occurring during the Americas meeting, mostly because the entire globe is aware that the president is not interested in enforceable trade agreements that might stimulate investment in two-way trade.
Wednesday, the first day of the summit, Biden is anticipated to discuss his economic vision for the area, along with health programs.