Mitt Romney’s plan for a Latin American trade region to enhance U.S. export prospects faces an enduring problem: Two decades after President Bill Clinton proposed a similar idea, the region’s biggest economies remain as mistrustful as ever.
Establishing accords with South America’s largest economies -- Brazil and Argentina -- would be difficult after leaders of the two nations joined with Venezuala’s Hugo Chavez in 2005 to sink the U.S. proposal to create a region-wide trade zone, according to regional experts....
“People complain that you can’t do a deal with Brazil so you should give up on Latin America,” Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas, a New York-based business organization, said in a phone interview from his Washington office. “That’s ridiculous.”
Integrating existing U.S. accords with Latin American nations would provide uniformity to pacts that govern different goods and standards, he said. The country could also seek to expand a Pacific-region trade pact to include Colombia, Costa Rica and Panama, according to Farnsworth….