İlknur Şebnem Öztemel-TDO-09.06.2017- Chancellor Angela Merkel will go to Latin America next week in order to find new economic partners and allies in the dawn of American withdrawal from its backyard.
Merkel’s upcoming double visits to Argentina and Mexico is not only a symbolic action but also an attempt to increase the number of trading partners and influence zones. Currently, Germany is the head of G20.
In his campaign, President Donald Trump raised his voice against global trade, suggested to increase taxes for foreign goods and threatened North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). As he won the presidential elections and became the main policy maker of the state, USA stopped giving importance to its southern neighbors. Now, Latin America is open for various actors like China to use its considerable economic power to influence the region.
Germany wants to be another candidate to affect the continent as it needs to look for additional trade partners too. Günther Maihold from German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) said: "Germany's foreign policy has been very crisis-driven in the last several years". He added, "Crisis that Latin America has nothing to do with".
Nevertheless, it seems it will not be easy to fulfill this mission. Initially, the two interlocutors of this mission Argentina and Mexico have a history of the political and financial crisis. Secondly, there are negative experiences that led distrust and hesitation between sides. For instance, trade negotiations between the EU and Mercosur which is an economic and political bloc of Latin American countries, have made little progress since they began in 1999. Latin American countries desired to export agricultural products to EU but this idea was not appreciated by Europeans.
Briefly, Germany tries to benefit from the gap occurred due to Trump’s stubbornness about economic protectionism after decades of exporting economic liberalization. There is no doubt that Latin American countries need this kind of an action especially Mexico. However, the success is not sure.