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In a new report published by the Latin American Program, University of California, San Diego, economist Richard E. Feinberg cautions that the Biden administration’s domestic economic plans could end up harming or helping the Greater Caribbean Basin. “If ‘Building Back Better – Buy American’ becomes a call for U.S. firms to restrict overseas activities in favor of the United States,” Feinberg writes, “the rest of the region will be adversely affected since foreign investment and trade are key drivers of growth.” Conversely, he argues, linking Caribbean Basin countries—the Caribbean islands, Central America, as well as Mexico and Colombia—would “increase U.S. competitiveness and provide benefits to the region that far outweigh any traditional foreign assistance programs.”

Feinberg puts forth a bold vision for a Greater Caribbean Community (GCC) that would internationalize the Biden administration’s agenda for a more sustainable and productive U.S. economy.  Such an innovative approach to the U.S. “near abroad” would involve including the GCC in planned initiatives for infrastructure development, deepening digitalization, education and workforce training, and constructing business parks feeding U.S.-led global supply chains.

Feinberg’s report outlines ways to include the GCC in new employment-generating technology hubs that would “build upon existing free trade zones or erect profitable greenfield endeavors and be imbedded in existing free trade agreements.”  He argues that establishing an integrated regional network of technology hubs “would include building resiliency, redundancy, and rapid supply responses into U.S.-centric supply chains.”

About the Author

Richard Feinberg

Richard E. Feinberg

Former Global Fellow;
Professor Emeritus, University of California, San Diego; Former Senior Director for Inter-American Affairs at the National Security Council
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Latin America Program

The Wilson Center’s prestigious Latin America Program provides non-partisan expertise to a broad community of decision makers in the United States and Latin America on critical policy issues facing the Hemisphere. The Program provides insightful and actionable research for policymakers, private sector leaders, journalists, and public intellectuals in the United States and Latin America. To bridge the gap between scholarship and policy action, it fosters new inquiry, sponsors high-level public and private meetings among multiple stakeholders, and explores policy options to improve outcomes for citizens throughout the Americas. Drawing on the Wilson Center’s strength as the nation’s key non-partisan policy forum, the Program serves as a trusted source of analysis and a vital point of contact between the worlds of scholarship and action.  Read more