Japan and Latin America and the Caribbean: Building a Sustainable Trans-Pacific Relationship

Nov 2013
How to build strong and sustainable economic relations between Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and Asia that go beyond commodities-for-manufacturing trade is a question of importance for policy makers on both sides of the Pacific. The relationship between Japan and LAC may offer a possible answer. Ties between Japan and the region have evolved over the course of several decades, diversifying from an initial focus on minerals and agriculture to encompass a broad panorama of trade, direct investment, and government-to-government cooperation that has shaped the development of sectors from automobiles and alternative energies to computer software and natural disaster preparedness, while helping launch some of LAC's signature export success stories. While trade between Japan and the region reached nearly US$65 billion in 2012, opportunities remain for LAC countries to deepen ties with the world's third-largest economy. This report provides an overview of the past trajectory and current state of the Japan-LAC relationship, highlighting its major achievements and showing how governments on both sides can take advantage of future opportunities.