Spain´s role in the relations between Asia and Latin America

1440.jpgJanuary 2008. By Gonzalo Garland, Professor of Economic Environment at IE Business School.

Some analysts believe Spain is playing a key role in building relations between Asia and Latin America. That may be so, but we need to examine some aspects of this role in greater detail.

Recently, certain analysts have commented on the possibility of Spain becoming an important player in the relations between Asia and Latin America. They talk about a “triangulation” between the three geographical and economic areas that can be compared with Spain´s role in the European Union in the relations between the latter and Latin America. To a certain extent, it could also be compared with the important role Spain plays in the region when the interlocutor is the United States. However, there are significant differences that question whether or not Spain´s role can be so relevant in the case of Asia as it has been in the past in the cases of Europe or North America.

No one doubts Spain´s importance in the region of Latin America due to its history, language and culture and to the presence of Spanish enterprises in the local countries. In the European context, this clearly gives Spain and Portugal a privileged position as interlocutors for these countries in the context of the Union. The idea of the Ibero-American summits followed by the creation of the Secretaría General Iberoamericana (SEGIB) constitute two indicators of this trend. We could say that even the geographical location of the Iberian peninsular in the context of Europe makes the relations “natural”. Indeed, some European enterprises with interests in the region manage their operations better from the Iberian peninsular.

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