The Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations
How Free are Latin American Countries
When Choosing Trade Strategies?
by Zaida L. Martinez
Vinod K. Aggarwal, Ralph Espach, and Joseph S. Tulchin, eds,
The Strategic Dynamics
of Latin American Trade
, Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2004. 294
pp. US$29.95, paper, ISBN 0-8047-4900-0
he last twenty years have given rise to a proliferation of regional economic
arrangements in Latin America. Using the concept of strategic choice within the
context of trade policies, Aggarwal, Espach and Tulchin present an analysis of the
wide range of trade agreements and their implications for particular countries in the
region. The editors begin by presenting a theoretical foundation for strategic trade
choices, followed by a presentation of how political and economic interests at the
national and international levels affect trade choices. They then apply the theoretical
framework to case studies of four major countries in the region—Argentina, Brazil,
Chile, and Mexico. The final section provides conclusions and prospects for future
national trade policies.
Aggarwal and Espach introduce their theoretical framework for understanding
trade relations in Chapter 1. Their basic premise is that governments have choices
regarding trade strategies, albeit choices which entail economic and political trade-
offs. By contrasting the tradeoffs associated with different trade strategies, Aggarwal
and Espach are able to demonstrate how four major countries in Latin America have
developed different trade profiles: Argentina as a regional partner, Brazil as a regional
leader, Chile as a multilateral trader, and Mexico as a hub market.
Zaida L. Martinez
is a Professor of International Business and Co-Director of the Southern
Cone Studies Program at St. Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas. She received her Ph.D from
the University of South Carolina, and holds an MBA from Florida State University. She has also
served as an internationalization consultant for the University of Puerto Rico, the Alamo
Community College District, and Georgetown College.