BY CHRONICLE STAFF
Despite the apparent rise of Hugo Chavez and the lack of a Free Trade Area of the Americas, the U.S. economic impact in Latin America has never been stronger.
Trade with the region set a new record last year, investments were expected to reach new records and U.S. companies in the region are doing better than ever, contributing to the local economies' bottom line through tax payments and job creation. U.S. companies in Latin America typically add between 2.1 percent and 4.7 percent of GDP, according to data from the Association of American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America (AACCLA), an organization that represents more than 20,000 companies and over 80 percent of U.S. investment in the region.
"The role of the US private sector in Latin America is tremendous," Charles Shapiro, principal deputy assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, told a group of U.S. executives in Miami last month organized by AACCLA.