Speech by Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle at the conference on Latin America/the Caribbean held in Berlin on 23 November 2011
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The development of Germany’s bilateral economic relations with Latin America has been tremendous. While Germany’s total trade volume increased by approximately 24% between 2005 and 2010, its trade with Latin America grew by an impressive 60% during the same period. Today Germany is Latin America’s most important trading partner within the EU. This is an achievement and an opportunity for both sides.
German companies are investing in their operating bases in Central and South America. Take the investments worth billions by VW in Mexico or Thyssen Krupp in Brazil. In addition, countless smaller investments have been made by small and medium-sized companies.
All in all, more than 85% of German investments go to manufacturing industries. These investments are productive and create jobs as well as vocational training places. They thereby make a concrete contribution to sustainable development, vocational training and transfer of technology.
The hallmark of Germany’s engagement in Latin America is that companies are not seeking to make a quick profit but rather want to build up long-term partnerships. We want to continue this recipe for success.
Latin America and Germany set great store by progress as a means of mastering the great challenges of our time. Latin America is one of the regions where the majority of new projects in the sphere of renewable energies are being carried out. Germany has much to offer in the field of renewable energies and energy efficiency. Both sides will benefit from exchange and joint projects.
With its impressive economic growth, Latin America has also gained greater capacity for action and more self-confidence in the area of foreign policy. Germany welcomes this development. We see the emergence of new centres of power as an opportunity to meet the challenges of globalization together.
Latin America and Europe are natural allies when it comes to anchoring our common values in tomorrow’s world order. Together we are committed at global level to the strength of the law as opposed to the law of the strongest.
We want to continue building on common values, long-standing ties and a new momentum in our relations: for our mutual benefit and in shared responsibility.