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 Front Cover
 Preface
 Table of Contents
 Executive summary
 Introduction
 Regional overview
 Country profiles
 Outlook
 Tables
 Selected sources
 Back Cover


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Latin American business environment
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 Material Information
Title: Latin American business environment an assessment
Portion of title: Latin American business environment
Physical Description: v. : ill., map ; 29 cm.
Language: English
Creator: McCoy, Terry L., 1940-
Publisher: Center for Latin American Studies, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville FL
Creation Date: 2007
Publication Date: 1999-
 Subjects
Subjects / Keywords: Business enterprises -- Latin America   ( lcsh )
Economic conditions -- Latin America -- 1982-   ( lcsh )
Economic policy -- Latin America   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Statement of Responsibility: Terry L. McCoy.
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Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000990589
oclc - 41400140
notis - AEW7530
System ID: UF00080531:00009

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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Preface
        Page 1
    Table of Contents
        Page 2
        Page 3
    Executive summary
        Page 4
    Introduction
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
    Regional overview
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
    Country profiles
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
    Outlook
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
    Tables
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
    Selected sources
        Page 64
    Back Cover
        Page 65
Full Text



2007 LATIN AMERICAN BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT


REPORT

'


Terry L. McCoy
With Meredith Fensom










S UNIVERSITY Of
UF I FLORIDA


September 2007


I


I


N:


a I









September 2007


Preface


The Latin American Business Environment Report (LABER) is a one of a kind
publication that presents in a single document a straightforward, balanced appraisal of the
economic, social, and political events in the past year that have shaped the business and
investment climate in Latin America as a region and in its 18 most important economies.

In the 2007 LABER the ninth edition since 1999 (all available at
http://www.latam.ufl.edu/labe/publications.html)* we have consolidated coverage of
Central America and the Caribbean (dropping Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago) into the
new DR-CAFTA region, which coincides with the recently launched bilateral free trade
agreement between the United States, five Central American countries and the
Dominican Republic. Although Costa Rica has yet to ratify the agreement and Panama is
not a member, both are analyzed as part of this new consolidated section. We have also
enhanced assessment of the legal environment, which is again the work of Meredith
Fensom.

The LABER is a publication of the Latin American Business Environment Program in the
Center for Latin American Studies. The program draws on the expertise and resources of
the University of Florida to prepare students for careers related to Latin American
business through degree programs, training courses and study abroad opportunities. It
also organizes topical conferences, promotes the publication of scholarly research and
provides professional consulting services for the business community and public.

Additional support for the LABER and related activities is generously provided by the
Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) in the Warrington
College of Business Administration. Mary Mitchell and Alison Boelter helped prepare
the 2007 report, which was edited by Charles Wood. Finally, in preparing the 2007
report, I benefited from an evaluation of the previous LABERs conducted by Ambassador
Myles R. R. Frechette. I alone am responsible for the content and analysis.


Terry L. McCoy, Director
Latin American Business Environment Program
tlmccoy(@ilatam.ufl.edu
www.latam.ufl.edu/labep.html




* The report may be cited without permission. Users are asked to acknowledge the source.









CONTENTS

Preface

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY.......................................................................4


INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................5

I. REGIONAL OVERVIEW..............................................................8

EXTERNAL ENVIRONMENT.........................................................8

Global Developments
Regional Developments

DOMESTIC ENVIRONMENT.......................................................10

Economic and Financial Performance
Social Environment
Political Environment
Policy Environment
Legal Environment


II. COUNTRYPROFILES......................................................................19

NAFTA REGION ...........................................................................19

Mexico

DR-CAFTA COUNTRIES............................................... ..........21

Dominican Republic
Costa Rica
El Salvador
Guatemala
Honduras
Nicaragua
Panama

ANDEAN SOUTH AMERICA.........................................................28

Bolivia
Colombia
Ecuador









Peru
Venezuela

BRAZIL AND THE SOUTHERN CONE...........................................34

Brazil
Argentina
Chile
Paraguay
Uruguay


III. OUTLOOK............................ ...............................41

OUTLOOK FOR THE REGION.....................................................41

External Environment
Domestic Environment


COUNTRY OUTLOOKS..............................................................43

Attractive Environments
Problematic Environments
Mixed Environments


TABLES................................. ................ ....................................... 49

SELECTED SOURCES.....................................................................64









2007 LA TIN AMERICAN BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT REPORT


Terry L. McCoy

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Entering the last quarter of 2007 Latin America is in the midst of an economic expansion
unprecedented in recent decades. The outlook for 2008 is for continued growth and low
inflation. The major clouds threatening the region's business environment are the
growing volatility in global financial markets, faltering world trade negotiations and the
erratic course pursued by populist governments in the region. There are relatively few
elections scheduled over the next 15 months, the most important being in Argentina.

The table below classifies the 18 Latin American countries profiled in the 2007 LABER in
terms of the overall character of their business and investment environments in 2006 and
2007, and indicates the outlook for 2008. Within the three broad categories -
"Attractive," "Problematic," and "Mixed" an arrow indicates whether a country's
environment has improved (t) or weakened (4,) during the year. An "=" sign identifies
those countries that remained essentially unchanged. Of the 18 countries, eight improved
in 2007 and only two (Venezuela and Argentina) deteriorated. Based on sustained
improvements in recent years, we have upgraded three environments Panama, Peru and
Uruguay in 2007 from mixed to attractive.
Latin American Business Environments
2006 Environment 2007 Environment 2008
Attractive Problematic Mixed Attractive Problematic Mixed Outlook
Mexico 4,
Dom Rep
Costa Rica = ?
El Salvador
Guatemala
Honduras
Nicaragua = ?
Panama
Bolivia = ?
Colombia
Ecuador = ?
Peru t t
Venezuela =4- 4
Brazil =
Argentina =
Chile =
Paraguay = ?
Uruguay t 1
Totals 4 4 10 7 4 7









2007 LA TIN AMERICAN BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT REPORT

INTRODUCTION

The environment for business in Latin America continues to be attractive. The

region has prospered from four years of export-led growth, accompanied by low inflation

and healthy capital flows. In the policy arena most governments continue to pursue

macroeconomic stability through policies that implement inflation targeting, fiscal

discipline, and floating exchange rates. There are, however, significant differences

among the countries of the region. Particularly noteworthy are the populist regimes -

exemplified by President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela that are re-imposing state

intervention in the economy and reducing the role of foreign capital. As we enter the last

quarter of 2007, there is also growing concern with the volatility gripping global financial

markets and the prospects of an economic slowdown in the United States.



Figure 1
Model of Latin American Business Environment

External Environment


Economic Domestic Environment
Global ----- ------
Financial
SPolicy
/ Political --------------
Legal

Regional Social









Whether Latin America or the individual economies of the region grow or enter

into a recessionary cycle is the result of a complex interplay of factors that operate at the

internal and external levels. This analysis uses the conceptual framework shown in

Figure 1 to capture the most salient components of the Latin American business

environment. Last year we added a legal component to the framework in recognition of

an increasingly important dimension of the business environment the rule of law. New

this year in our assessment of the legal environment is the degree to which private

property rights are protected (Table 13) and the magnitude of bureaucratic burdens

imposed by the state on businesses, and estimated trade losses due to copyright piracy

(see Table 14).

Part I of the 2007 LABER summarizes major regional developments that took

place in the last quarter of 2006 and through the first three quarters of 2007. Part II

presents thumbnail sketches of the 18 largest markets, grouped by geographic region

and/or trading blocs (see Map and Table 1). This edition no longer has separate section

for the Caribbean and Central America. Instead we have dropped coverage of Jamaica

and Trinidad & Tobago, and folded the Dominican Republic into the new DR-CAFTA

region. Part III re-arranges the countries according to an assessment of their business

environments overall and according to the outlook for the next 15 months. The 14

appended tables contain country-level data, along with regional averages of key

economic, social, political and legal variables. At the end we include a list of selected

sources that provide business-related news on Latin America, which informed the 2007

LABER.













NAFTA


Mexico

\


Dominican
Republic


/ Honduras


..... C Nicaragua
Salvador
Costa Rica %
Panama
TA Colombia

Ecuador


Peru
ANDEAN
COMMUNITY


MERCOSUR


El!


DR
CAF


C-. L.. ., .









I. REGIONAL OVERVIEW


EXTERNAL ENVIRONMENT

The external environment has been quite favorable for Latin America in recent

years. The booming world economy produced high commodity prices and favorable

terms of trade for the region. While the United States continues to be Latin America' s

most important market, the region is increasingly linked to China, India and other

emerging economies. Latin America also benefited from the expansion of global capital

flows, both on the equity and debt side. The financial market volatility that broke out in

the second half of 2007 makes the external environment more uncertain.

Global Developments #

Stronger terms of trade for commodity exporters
With a big jump in 2006, the barter value of what Latin America sells on world
markets relative to the cost of what it imports from abroad improved for the fifth
year in a row, and regional terms of trade continue to be favorable in 2007 (Figure
2). However, they were not uniform across the region (Table 2). The big gains
again accrued to the five economies of Andean South America and Chile and, to a
lesser extent, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. The terms of trade for all seven DR-
CAFTA economies net energy importers and increasingly dependent on
manufactured exports actually declined. While the robust expansion of the
Chinese and Indian economies is sustaining high commodity prices, Latin
American manufacturers find it hard to compete against Chinese exports

Increasing volatility emerged as potential threat to favorable capital markets
During much of 2007 Latin America continued to attract greater capital flows and
pay lower interest rates. Although the region has attracted a diminishing share of
foreign direct and portfolio investment than the other emerging markets, the flow
has been important to current growth. FDI to the region will be greater in 2007
than in 2006 (Figure 3). Increased global liquidity has also made it easier to
finance debt, both sovereign and corporate. Overseas remittances are significant
sources of hard currency for all countries in the region. While the financial
market volatility of July-August 2007, triggered by the U.S. sub-prime lending
crisis, raised country spreads, it has not yet provoked major problems for Latin
America's increasingly securitized financial markets. Increasing access to private
capital has meant less reliance on the International Monetary Fund.

1 Symbols are used here to suggest overall trends over the past 12 months: t improving; + declining; = no
significant change.
















Figure 2



Terms of Trade for Latin America, 1997-2006
(Source: ECLAC 2006)


1300






1200
1175





S1100 1090


S1039

0 1000
1000 986
963 966
950 945

91 3

90 0






800
1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006




Figure 3


Net Foreign Direct Investment in Latin America, 1997-2006
(Source: ECLAC 2006)


90,000


79,923
80,000


70,308
70,000
63,659
60,999
60,000 57,599


a 49,206
) 50,000
I 45,213
S43,149
0
40,000
0 35,114
33,483

30,000



20,000



10,000




1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006









*World trade negotiations stalled
Despite periodic assurances from major players in the World Trade Organization,
commitments to resume the Doha round have not materialized. With President
Bush losing trade promotion (fast track) authority in July, and the Democratically-
controlled Congress unlikely to easily renew it, the future of trade talks under
WTO auspices grows even more problematic. A mid-August WHO decision to
extend the deadline for developing countries to cease subsidizing manufacturing
exports with tax breaks until 2015 was welcome news for those Latin American
countries with export processing zones.

Regional Developments =

Path of hemispheric trade liberalization uncertain
With the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) dead and WTO negotiations
going nowhere, trade strategies shifted to forging smaller, sub-regional
agreements. Over the past four years, the United States has negotiated free trade
agreements (FTAs) with Central America and the Dominican Republic (DR-
CAFTA), Peru, Colombia and Panama (Table 1). Led by Brazil and Venezuela,
the South American countries set out to merge MERCOSUR and the Andean
Community into a counterpart of NAFTA, or SAFTA. Both initiatives are now in
doubt. Congress is dragging its heals on bringing the three unratified FTAs up for
a vote even after the administration and signatory nations agreed to incorporate
provisions affecting labor and the environment insisted on by the Democrats. On
the South American front, Venezuela is threatening to withdrawal from
MERCOSUR. President Chavez continues to push his Bolivarian Alternative for
the Americas (ALBA) of which Cuba Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela are
members.

Immigration unresolved issue in U.S.-Latin American relations
President Bush's March goodwill visit to five Latin American countries when
he addressed issues of concern such as poverty and inequality was a gesture
toward rebuilding U.S.-Latin American relations. However, Congress' rejection
of President Bush's comprehensive immigration reform later in the year was a
serious setback. There is some evidence that tighter control of the U.S.-Mexican
border reduced the flow of undocumented immigrants and their remittances.

DOMESTIC ENVIRONMENT

The domestic components of the business environment are generally positive: all

Latin American economies are growing; inflation is under control in most, and local

currencies are strong. Domestic capital markets are stronger, while the external debt

burden is declining, along with unemployment and poverty. The political and legal









components of the business environment are mixed. Even though the most recent round

of elections did not result in the leftist take-over some observers predicted, it did bring

several left-leaning populist governments to power. This means that investors should

keep informed of events in individual countries and the growing differences in their

policy agendas. Trade agreements have become the primary determinants of legal

reform.

Economic and Financial Performance #

The Latin American economies performed well over the past year, and the

outlook is promising into 2008. The sustained expansion has helped the region regain the

losses in per capital income suffered from 1998 to 2003.

Strong economic growth
For the second time in the current cycle, regional growth exceeded 5.0% (Figure
4) in 2006 with all countries except one (Brazil) surpassing 3.5% (Table 4).
Regional GDP is on track to exceed 5.0% in 2007. The rolling ten-year average
for annual growth is 3.0% up from 2.3% in 2004. Although exports continue to
be the major determinant of GDP growth, government spending, investment and
consumption are important components as well.

Inflationary pressures building
Inflation dropped again in 2006 at the regional level, but inflationary pressures are
building in 2007 (Figure 5). Demand and supply factors threaten to push inflation
beyond targets set for the year. In response, the central banks in several countries
(Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru) have begun to increase interest rates, or slow
monetary expansion (Brazil). Venezuela and Argentina imposed price controls to
cope with the highest inflation in the region (Table 5).

Deepening domestic capital markets
Thanks to demand from international investors, local pension funds, asset
managers, and insurance companies, Latin American stocks closed out 2006 with
the fourth straight year of impressive gains. The Argentine, Brazilian, Chilean
and Mexican indices were up 35%, 33%, 37% and 49% respectively. Colombian
and Peruvian equities also did well. After a strong start in 2007, Latin American
markets suffered two corrections. In August they were off 8-9% from their peaks.
With lower global interest rates and narrower country spreads, the cost of debt
financing has also been favorable, and local currency bonds are becoming
common.













* Strong external performance
While FDI is up only slightly, exports experienced a significant increase (up 20%
annually), as did the current account surplus (see Figures 3 and 6). Total foreign
debt fell to its lowest level since 1997, and the debt burden, measured by the
debt/export ratio, became less onerous (Figure 7). Finally, Latin American
currencies held their own or appreciated against the dollar, and only six countries
(vs. nine in 2005) are currently under IMF agreements (Table 9). In the middle of
2007, at the onset of financial market volatility, Latin American country risk
spreads increased (Argentina's rose to 490 basis points from 240; Venezuela's to
509 from 231; Brazil's to 216 from 139 and Colombia's to 200 from 119),
although they remained comparatively low.






Figure 4


Regional GDP Growth Rates for Latin America, 1997-2007
(Source: ECLAC 2006 and IMF Economic Outlook 2007)
70


60 59
55
53
50 49
45

40 39


30 26

I 20
20


10
04 03
00
1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007

-1 0 -08


20














Figure 5


Average Annual Inflation Rate for Latin America, 1997-2007
(Sources: ECLAC 2006 and IMF Economic Outlook 2007)


14.0


12.2
12.0

10.7
10.0
10.0 9.7
9.0
8.5

S8.0 7.4
,-

6.1 6.1
6.0
5.2
(V4.8

U
S4.0
a-



2.0




0.0 -
1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007



Figure 6


Exports and Imports of Goods and Services in Latin America, 2003-2006
(Source: ECLAC 2006)


750,000

677,170

650,000

573,524
560,629
550,000

(V 479,391
0 466,311
O 450,000
405,998 Exports
378,206 Imports

a 350,000 333,513



250,000



150,000



50,000
2003 2004 2005 2006





13












Figure 7

Gross Disbursed External Debt, 1997-2006
(Source: ECLAC 2006)

9000

8000 77623 7578 7613
7427 7382 7446

700 0 6803
656 1
6328
600 0

0 500 0

400 0
U
S300 0
216
2000 198 81 178 168
2000

1000

00
1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
M Debt (Billions of US Dollars) Debt as % of Exports of Goods and Services




Social Environment#


The current economic expansion has reduced poverty and unemployment and


improved income growth and distribution (Table 10). Crime remains a persistent


problem throughout the region. Criminal activity has become increasingly violent in


recent decades, although some countries (most notably Colombia) are making strides in


improving citizen security (see Table 13).


Growth in per capital income accelerating
Since the recovery began in 2003, the rate of per capital GDP growth has averaged
around 4.0% compared to negative growth in the previous five years. Real wages
now surpass where they were at the beginning of the decade.


Poverty continues to decline
Between 2002 and 2005, the proportion of the population living in poverty
dropped below 40% (from 44%), and the proportion indigent fell to 15.4% from
19.4%, according to ECLAC. With targeted income transfer programs and the
sustained economic growth of 2006-07, poverty continues to decline.









Unemploymentfalling
The regional average for open urban unemployment has dropped from 11.0% in
2003 to 8.9% in 2006 largely due to the effects of strong employment creation in
the formal sector, which offers higher paying jobs with benefits.

Crime and threats to personal security largely unabated
Latin American governments must engage in a costly multi-front war to reduce
crime. Drug-trafficking is now a threat throughout the region. In Central
America, the traffickers work with the gangs; in Colombia with the leftwing
guerrillas and rightwing paramilitaries. Kidnapping is a criminal enterprise in
some countries, and run-of-the-mill street crime is rampant in most, as the
reported incidence of victimization in Table 13 documents.

Political Environment =

The large number of elections (11) over the past two years did not result in the

dramatic swing to the left some had predicted. Voters in Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua

nonetheless elected leftist-populist governments patterned after and loosely allied with

Hugo Chavez, who was also returned to office in Venezuela (Table 11). In addition,

leftist challengers narrowly lost in Mexico and put up a good fight in Peru. It is

important to note two additional trends in assessing recent elections: first, transfers of

power take place in Latin America through regularly scheduled elections and, second,

other presidents with leftist roots (in Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Peru and Costa Rica) have

chosen not to align with Chavez but to pursue a more moderate, pragmatic path.

Limited political re-alignment
Latin America's political landscape has changed. The Venezuelan-led neo-
populist alternative complicates domestic politics, policy choices and relations
with the U.S.

Constituent assemblies seek to consolidate political change
Even though electoral democracy remains in place, representative democracy is
clearly at risk in Venezuela. Bolivia and Ecuador are both following the
Venezuelan example of convening constituent assemblies to rewrite their
constitutions and transform their political systems. President Chavez, skillfully
mobilizing his popularity and the widespread desire for change among
Venezuelans, has used assemblies and national referenda to concentrate power in
the presidency and weaken the opposition and other branches of government.









Policy Environment=

In his January 2007 inauguration, President Hugo Chavez promised to build "21st

century socialism" in Venezuela openly at odds with the philosophy and market-friendly

policy agenda that emerged in the early 1990s as the Washington Consensus or New

Economic Model (NEM) for Latin America. The centerpieces of the NEM were, first,

policies to achieve macroeconomic stability and, second, to promote structural reforms to

open the region's economies. Regional integration evolved into a central component of

the NEM. Although Chavez's alternative paradigm has made limited headway in a few

countries notably in Bolivia and to a lesser extent in Nicaragua and Ecuador the

current economic expansion has reinforced the commitment of other leaders to the NEM.

Macro-economic policies secure with most government
Inflation targeting, floating exchange rates and, most importantly, fiscal discipline
are the macro-economic policies of preference (see Figures 5 and 8, Tables 5, 9
and 12). Both Venezuela and Argentina have resorted to price controls to combat
inflation; the former also has a fixed exchange rate. Many governments have
taken advantage of favorable conditions to pursue strategies to reduce and
restructure their public debts.

Second generation reforms lag and energy policies differ
Some governments are reforming their national tax and social security systems,
although labor markets are almost universally resistant to policy intervention. On
energy policy, the Colombian and Peruvian governments have opened their
energy sectors to private capital, while Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador are
moving to re-impose the state-control paradigm.











Figure 8

Fiscal Deficit/Surplus as a Percentage of GDP, 1997-2006
(Source: ECLAC 2006)


00



-05



-1 0
,-

-1 5


-215
S 20



25


-30



-35


Legal Environment =


The efficient conduct of business requires a legal environment in which rule of


law is institutionalized. Production, commerce, and trade require a transparent and


effective legal system that ensures the enforceability of contracts and reduces the cost of


doing business. While no country is perfect in this regard and Latin America as a


region is comparable to other emerging markets the troubling fact remains that the legal


environment in most countries fails to fulfill the needs of domestic and international


capital, which is why legal reform is a high priority. Those countries in which the rule of


law is institutionalized (see Tables 13 and 14) Chile, Costa Rica and Uruguay have


the most attractive business environments.









*Bilateral trade and investment agreements impose legal reform
DR-CAFTA member countries incorporated judicial reforms to comply with the
agreement's legal obligations. A compromise agreement reached in the U.S.
Congress to renegotiate free trade pacts with Panama, Peru and Colombia
included binding commitments for the three countries and the U.S. to abide by
core International Labor standards and requirements that trading partners enforce
existing environmental laws and comply with several international environmental
agreements. Intellectual property rules are altered by the deal, with the aim of
allowing developing countries quicker access to generic drugs. Future trade deals
will require signatories to adopt, maintain and enforce the five fundamental
standards of the International Labor Organization and will allow the use of trade
sanctions to punish offending countries.









II. COUNTRY PROFILES


NAFTA REGION

Immigration and drugs continue to test U.S.-Mexican relations, and further North

American regional integration under the NAFTA umbrella is at a standstill. U.S.

immigration policy is a major irritant in bilateral relations, brought to the fore again this

year when Congress rejected the administration's immigration reform package. As the

threat posed by drug traffickers in Mexico became even more alarming in the past year,

the U.S. government helped finance a major drug fighting initiative by the Calder6n

government.

Two years ago, the three NAFTA countries endorsed the Security and Prosperity

Partnership as a step toward deepening North American integration. But at their meeting

in Canada in August, it became obvious that the three North American leaders were

presently in no position to expand NAFTA. Instead they adopted several non-

controversial technical measures. Regional integration suffered another setback in

September when the U.S. Congress voted to exclude Mexican trucks from hauling freight

into the United States (and on to Canada) shortly after a U.S. court ruled that they could

do so in keeping with provisions of NAFTA.

Mexicot: New president consolidates power and advances his policy agenda.

More dynamic economy
GDP growth in 2006 was the highest since 2000, although the rate is expected to
fall off in 2008, while inflation remains under control.

Financial markets mixed
The banking sector continues to make strides. More accessible credit triggered a
boom in mortgage financing and housing construction. The stock market index is

2 The symbols for each country indicate the following trends: + business environment improved, 4
business environment deteriorated, = no significant change since 2004 report.









up over 400% in the past four years, but the market has been losing listings. Eight
companies de-listed in 2007, and there are no IPOs thus far. The large groups that
dominate the economy do their financing through private arrangements. A $37bn
infrastructure construction initiative to be jointly funded by public and private
investment could revive equity investments.

*Favorable terms of trade support strong external position
FDI experienced a healthy increase in 2006. Exports also increased, while the
current account deficit declined. Total external debt was up slightly, but the
debt/export ratio, the lowest in Latin America, declined. Both Fitch and S&P
upgraded Mexico's credit ratings in March to "positive" from "stable" in
recognition of Mexico's strong external position and prospects for fiscal reform.

* Government launches major anti-drug initiative
Violence perpetuated by drug gangs worsened during the year.

* Political system rebounds from contested election
After taking office in a razor thin, contested election and without a PAN
majority in Congress Felipe Calder6n proved to be a strong, effective president
in his first year, which he finished with a 50% favorable public approval rating.
He succeeded in pushing the promised PRD parallel government into the
background. A more disturbing challenge came from a shadowy leftist group
(ERP) that engaged in a series of bombings of PEMEX pipelines during the
summer.

* Movement on policy reforms
Calder6n did more to advance reform in one year than his predecessor in six.
Working with the opposition PRI, he pushed bills to reform the government
pension plan and tax systems through Congress. The former reduces drain on the
treasury. The latter will close loopholes in the corporate-tax code generating
increased fiscal revenue to finance investments in infrastructure and education
and lessening dependence on PEMEX as a source of government funding. To get
the tax reform, the President had to support a controversial electoral reform that
may strengthen the role of political parties in elections. Following passage of the
tax reform, Fitch again upgraded its ratings arguing that it offered hope the
government would work with Congress to pass future reforms.

* Decisions boosting competition
Mexico's Supreme Court struck down a provision in a law that would have
allowed Mexico's two television companies free use of the radio spectrum to offer
telephone and internet services. Congress passed a bill that could give the central
bank a role in setting the fees and interest rates charged by banks in order to boost
competition in areas where Mexico's anti-monopoly commission finds that
competition is lacking. A pension reform proposal to rise the retirement age and
phase in individual savings accounts was blocked.









DR-CAFTA COUNTRIES

DR-CAFTA modified the rules for U.S. trade and investment with Central

America and the Dominican Republic. Although only in operation for a short time, the

agreement seems to be generating greater U.S.-Central American trade (the Dominican

Republic did not become a full member until March). Export growth may, in turn, be

translating into higher overall growth for the Central American members. However,

Costa Rica, yet to ratify the agreement, also experienced trade expansion, healthy GDP

growth, and strong FDI flows. The United States may be the big winner at least in the

short-run because the agreement grants 80% of U.S. exports immediate duty-free access

to DR-CAFTA markets. U.S. exports to the region increased by 16% in 2006, and were

up by another 11% in the first five months of 2007. It now runs a trade surplus with the

DR-CAFTA countries.

Costa Rica's October referendum on DR-CAFTA membership has implication

not only for Costa Rica but also for the future of Central American integration. The

European Union suspended negotiations for a trade pact with Central America until the

outcome of the vote is known. Should it be negative, the EU may break off talks since it

insists on negotiating with the region as a bloc, not only on trade matters but also on

standards in customs and tax systems. All of the Central American countries except

Costa Rica adopted a Central American visa that allows their citizens to freely cross

borders. Excepting Costa Rica, almost 95% of trade within Central American trade is

now duty free.

On the energy front, the region is making progress on creating a regional power

grid (Siepac, Central American Electric Interconnection System). Furthermore, Brazil









and the United States have joined forces to promote sugar-cane ethanol production using

Brazil-developed technology in Central America, which can then take advantage of DR-

CAFTA to be exported duty free to the United States.

Dominican Republic#: Full DR-CAFTA membership strengthens environment.

High growth continues
GDP growth topped 10% in 2006 and is predicted to reach 6.0% this year.
Although still moderate, inflationary pressures are of some concern.

Mixed external position
Exports were up in 2006 but so was the current account deficit. Because DR-
CAFTA further liberalizes access to the Dominican market for the four Central
American members as well as the United States, there is concern that the deficits
the Dominican Republic has been running with both Central America and the
United States could worsen. FDI has recovered from the downturn associated
with 2002-03 economic crisis, and may receive a bump this year from DR-
CAFTA. The country continues to operate under the conditionality of an IMF
stand-by agreement. In May, Moody's upgraded the Dominican Republic to two
notches below investment grade, while Standard & Poor's raised its long-term
credit rating in September based on implementation of structural reforms and
improved fiscal accounts.

Poverty declining but still high
The high rate of growth of the past 15 years has not improved the standard of
living of most Dominicans. Failure to perceive meaningful trickle down is an
ongoing source of social tension.

Politics shifting to election mode
In spite of his fall in public opinion polls, Leonel Fernandez appears headed for a
third term in the May 2008 presidential contest since the opposition is unlikely to
mount a serious challenge.

Items on policy agenda
Under pressure from the IMF, the Dominican Congress finally enacted criminal
penalties for illegal use of electricity as a step toward ending the power shortage
and chronic blackouts. The fiscal deficit has been brought back under control.

DR-CAFTA reforms strengthen legal environment
To comply with terms of DR-CAFTA and under pressure from Washington, the
Dominican Congress approved reforms affecting protection of intellectual
property rights, customs procedures and other matters that will improve business
regulation if enforced. Foreign investment opportunities have been undermined









by the absence of standardized competition laws and the failure of the government
and private parties to honor contracts.


Costa Rica=: Membership in DR-CAFTA goes to popular vote.


High growth and declining inflation
For the third year in a row, GDP growth will be at or near 6.0%, giving Costa
Rica the second highest (5.1%) rolling ten year average of the 18 countries (Table
4). Inflation, down in 2006, is expected to decline again this year. In October
2006, the central bank moved to let the colon float within a narrow band.

Strong external performance without DR-CAFTA
Although terms of trade are weak, exports increased (along with imports and the
current account deficit) as did FDI while both the external debt and debt/export
ratio (second lowest of the 18 countries) declined. The WTO ruling that extended
the deadline for ending duty free industry export subsidies is important to Costa
Rica where this sector has experienced rapid expansion in recent years. Costa
Rica became the first Central American nation to break relations with Taiwan and
re-establish relations with China. The move recognized China's growing
importance as a trading partner and source of foreign investment.

Labor shortages
The demand for migrant workers, mainly from Nicaragua, in the agricultural and
booming construction sectors (with local workers taking higher paying jobs in
manufacturing and services) runs up against anti-immigrant sentiments and recent
legislation making it more difficult to hire foreigners.

Referendum test for administration.
In keeping with their strong democratic tradition, Costa Ricans will go to the polls
on October 7 to decide whether they will join DR-CAFTA. The National
Assembly has been deadlocked over the issue. President Arias is an outspoken
proponent of the agreement.

Market-opening legal reforms pending
Costa Rica has one of the strongest legal environments in Latin America.
The new c6digo contencioso and ley de certificados could affect foreign investors
and local businesses. The c6digo broadens the role of judges in civil cases and is
aimed to achieve greater equality between litigating parties. La ley regulates the
use of and gives legal recognition to digital signatures and certifications of
documents transmitted via the Internet. There is a draft bill in the congress to
simplify claims for small sums of money, similar to the small claims courts in the
U.S. A series of laws are also under discussion aimed to increase competition in
the telecommunications sector and streamline the bidding process for private









companies seeking government contracts. Compliance with DR-CAFTA would
mandate other reforms.


El Salvador#: Signs of boost from DR-CAFTA membership.

Encouraging economic performance
Economy is on track in 2007 to equal or exceed 2006 growth, which was the
highest in 10 years. Dollarization keeps inflation under control.

Remittance growth slowing
Overseas remittances, which account for 18% of GDP and are crucial to closing
the current account deficit, are slowing. Extension of U.S. Temporary Protection
Status for 230,000 Salvadoran immigrants guarantees that their remittances will
not be cut off in the near future.

Emigration slowing population growth
The most recent census shows that total population size is nearly 20% below
original projections, presumably because of emigration (estimated to be 80,000
per year). This means that average per capital income is higher than initially
calculated but so is the homicide rate, which is among the highest in the world
largely due to gang violence.

Compliance with DR-CAFTA strengthened legal environment


Guatemala=: Violence mars national elections.

Encouraging economic performance
Over the past three years growth has been at its highest level since the mid-1990s,
while inflation remains under control.

Mixed external performance
FDI increased by over 50% in 2006, in part due to DR-CAFTA going into effect.
Export growth was modest, and the country is running a large current account
deficit, which it finances through external borrowing. The foreign debt grew in
2006, but the debt/export ratio declined. In July, S&P raised the outlook for
Guatemala's long-term credit ratings.

Violence, endemic poverty and inequality weaken social environment
Fueled by drug traffickers seeking to control transshipments through Central
America, Guatemala has one of the highest homicide rates in the world (more
than 5,000 murders a year). During the election campaign more than 50
politicians and activists were killed. In March three Salvadoran congressmen
were murdered, allegedly by police officers. Although the percent of the
population living in poverty has declined, it is still very high. Guatemala has the









highest rate of child malnutrition in the Western Hemisphere, according to
Millennium Development Goals report.

Presidential election goes to run-off
In keeping with the electoral pattern since returning to democracy in 1985, voters
rejected the candidate of the governing party but were unable to deliver a majority
to either of the top opposition candidates, which means a November run-off
between three-time candidate of the center-left UNE, Alvaro Colom, and former
general Otto Perez Molina of the conservative PP.

Prudent macro-economic policy
The fiscal deficit fell from over -2.3% in 2003 to -1.5% last year.

Marginal strengthening of legal environment
New legislation aims to improve tax collection to reduce tax evasion and tax
fraud. Guatemala has also undertaken CAFTA-DR related reforms to intellectual
property, trade secret, and tax laws. Despite these reforms, it has one of the most
problematic legal environments in Latin America in terms of rule of law and
corruption.


Honduras= : Some 'ii igthei'/iig ofweak environment

Sustained growth
GDP growth has averaged over 4.0% a year since 2000. Construction is the most
important source of growth. Inflation is inching down, although it is still high in
comparative terms.

Remittances crucial external component
With remittances accounting for around 25% of GDP, the decision of the U.S.
government to grant an 18-month extension of Temporary Protected Status
provision for Hondurans means that the rate of deportation will stabilize and
remittance remain steady for the time being. After Nicaragua, Honduras has the
weakest terms of trade of the 18 countries. FDI and exports are holding steady.
The current account deficit has declined. The IMF Poverty and Growth
Reduction Facility will end this year unless renewed.

Criminal violence and poverty mark social environment
U.S. policy to send criminals back to their country of origin has increased gang
activity in Honduras. Nearly 75% of the population still lives below the poverty
line, and Honduras is the poorest country in Central America in terms of
purchasing power parity per capital income

Stablepolitical environment









Effective fiscal policy
The deficit fell to -1.0% in 2006 from -5.3% in 2001. The government announced
that it was going to float a global bonds issue to help clean up finances of the state
power company, but the sale has been postponed.

Measures to facilitate business transactions
Efforts on behalf of the Comite Nacional de Simplificaci6n Administrativa
reduced from 62 to 44 days in the number of days required to start a business.


Nicaragua=: New government flirts with populism.

Satisfactory economic performance
Since 2003 growth has averaged over 4.0%, below the regional average but good
by Nicaraguan standards. Inflation is not a threat.

Contradictory external orientation
Nicaragua is a poor country with the weakest terms of trade and highest debt
burden in Latin America. FDI flows have been modest but crucial (as are
remittances and international aid). After assuring foreign investors they had
nothing to fear, the new Sandinista government has pursued an erratic path
contributing to an uncertain investment climate. While embracing membership in
DR-CAFTA, it has strengthened relations with Venezuela which has been
generous in its aid and joined the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas
(ALBA). The new government has challenged the United States on other fronts,
including establishing diplomatic relations with Iran and strengthening relations
with Cuba. It is currently involved in a dispute with Esso Standard Oil Company
regarding its refusal to refine Venezuelan oil. Washington has adopted a wait-
and-see posture to this point. The government has negotiated a new loan
agreement with the IMF.

Challenging social environment
Hurricane Felix inflicted significant damage.

Opposition challenges Ortega
Former president Daniel Ortega formed a coalition with one-time enemies to take
advantage of changes in the electoral laws to return to office with only 38% of the
vote in the November 2006 election. Many charge that the alliance (elpacto) will
exchange favors (former president Aleman convicted of misappropriating $100
million had his sentence eased, for example, by the Ortega government) to
institutionalize their power-sharing control of government. However, in
September the three opposition parties united in the National Assembly to weaken
Ortega's controversial initiative to form citizen councils as a step toward "direct
democracy."









Mixed policy agenda
The fiscal deficit has come down in recent years, and the Ortega administration
has reduced government salaries in order to increase spending on health and
education. Unresolved is the role the state will play in the economy.

Uncertain legal environment
To become eligible for CAFTA-DR, Nicaragua reformed its banking and finance
laws and strengthened intellectual property protection and customs enforcement.
On the other hand, the government ambivalence on private property rights and
other measures undermines investor confidence.


Panama#: Canal expansion opens new era

Another strong economic performance
Since 2004 the service-based economy has grown at around 7% annually thanks
largely to rapid expansion of the transportation/communications sector while
inflation of the dollarized economy remains low.

Awaiting ratification of U.S. FTA
FDI doubled in 2006 (and was up 20% in the first half of 2007) to the highest
level in Central America. Exports were up while the current account deficit
continued to decline. External debt increased but the debt/export ratio declined.
The United States and Panama concluded negotiation of a bilateral FTA, which
the Panamanian legislature ratified. The U.S. Congress has yet to vote on the
measure.

Voters give Torrijos victory on the canal
In the October 2006 referendum, 78% supported the president's call for
expansion.

Canal expansion to test fiscal policy
Construction on two new sets of locks began in September. It is expected to cost
$5.2 billion and be finished in 2014-15. To finance the expansion, the
government is borrowing up to $2.3 billion, which will increase its external debt
and put a strain on the budget during the construction phase.

Legal environment awaits FTA
Ley 22, passed in 2006, aims to help smaller businesses gain access to
government contracts. The website www.panamacompra.gob.pa, was created
under the same law to make the government procurement process more
transparent during construction of the canal. Corruption remains a concern, with
foreign firms claiming they are hampered by the informal links between
government and local business groups. Ratification of FTA would necessitate
additional legal reforms.









ANDEAN SOUTH AMERICA

Although the Andean Republics of South America continue to benefit from high

commodity prices and favorable terms of trade, the state of sub-regional relations and

integration is unsettled on several fronts. The first uncertainty concerns where

Venezuela's loyalties lie. Is President Chavez casting his lot with MERCOSUR, with the

Andean Community (CAN), or with his own Bolivarian Alternative for the America

(ALBA)? Bolivia is following Chavez's lead, but Ecuador's new president, Rafael

Correa, who seems to be aligning Ecuador with the Chavez-led populist bloc, has

expressed reservations about membership in ALBA. The second question concerns

Chile's role in the Andean region. With great fanfare, Chile rejoined CAN in June,

which it had abandoned in 1976. But Chile did so only as an associate member, since it

refuses to abide by the Community's common external tariff. More troubling are Chile's

ongoing territorial disputes with Bolivia and the maritime boundary disagreement with

Peru that erupted in August. Following Chile's return to CAN, the EU renewed

negotiations with CAN to forge a bloc-to-bloc free trade agreement.

The third uncertainty in the Andean region concerns the fate of the U.S. bilateral

FTAs with Peru and Colombia. Will Congress allow them to go into effect? If they do

go forward, what will be their impact on regional trade patterns and on prospects for the

Andean Community and MERCOSUR merging into a SAFTA? Washington has

temporarily extended the Andean Trade Preference and Drug Eradication Act

(ATPDEA), which gives Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia preferential access to the

U.S. market. The two pending FTAs would make this arrangement permanent for Peru

and Colombia, and would liberalize U.S. access to their markets.









Bolivia=: Progress but Constituent Assembly adds uncertainty in problematic
environment

Strong growth and moderate inflation
GDP growth is averaging over 4.0% per year, a significant achievement given the
unsettled nature of the environment. Inflationary pressures are building.

Mixed external position
Bolivia has parlayed favorable terms of trade into strong export growth and a
healthy current account surplus. The increasing share of export earnings captured
by the government has produced a fiscal surplus as well. Bolivia's external debt
and debt burden are down, although still quite high. FDI has been weak, but with
the foreign oil companies accepting renegotiated contracts, it should pick up. In
July Jindal Power and Steel Ltd of India made the largest foreign investment
commitment in Bolivia's history at $2. bn.

Polarized social environment
The main cleavage in Bolivian society, which spills over into politics, is between
the indigenous highlands and eastern lowlands dominated by affluent
conservative elite.

Constituent Assembly dominates politics
President Morales, who is completing his second year in office, has proved to be
more effective than anticipated. However his commitment to deliver a new
constitution to voters was in doubt in September as the Constituent Assembly
suspended its deliberations for a month following clashes over relocating the
capital from La Paz to Sucre.

State intervention in economy deepening
A December law that authorized new contracts to increase government control
over the operations of foreign companies and the government's share of their
revenues completed nationalization of the petroleum industry. Most companies
agreed to renegotiate, calculating that, in an era of high energy prices, they can
still make a profit on their Bolivian operations. The President subsequently
announced the nationalization of the mining sector and called for government
take-over of the country's railroads. He signed into law a measure to redistribute
"unproductive" private land.

Legal environment
The government has proposed pulling out of the International Centre for
Settlement of Investment Disputes. Supporters of President Morales in the
Constituent Assembly have proposed allowing the leader to seek re-election for
an unlimited number of consecutive terms.









Colombia=: Political problems do not diminish strong performance.

GDP continues to surge
It now looks as though economic growth will exceed 6.0% again this year after
the best performance in 29 years in 2006. Fueled by high investment and
domestic consumption, the surge is taking place under tighter monetary policy.
Inflation remains under control.

Uncertainty of FTA with United States clouds positive external picture
Colombia has been so successful in attracting foreign investment that the
government deemed it necessary to impose capital controls on some foreign
investments to curb appreciation of the peso. Foreign portfolio investors are now
required to deposit 40 percent of their investments in non-interest-bearing
accounts in the Central Bank for 6 months. These controls came as a supplement
to the freezing of 40 percent of offshore loans and deposits repatriated by local
companies. In June, S & P returned Colombia's foreign credit rating to
investment grade. Concern on Capitol Hill about violence against trade unionists
has put approval of a U.S. free trade agreement with Colombia in doubt.

Difficult social environment continues to improve
Violence and criminality declined again.

President exercises damage control
In spite of a scandal over alleged administration ties to the rightwing paramilitary
forces, President Uribe continues to have favorable public opinion ratings because
of the success of his administration in improving public security and overseeing
the economic recovery.

Policies tighten monetary policy and open energy sector
In addition to capital controls, the Central Bank raised interest rates 300 basis
points since April 2006. Opening the energy sector to private capital took another
step forward through partial privatization of national oil company, Ecopetrol, by
sale of up to 20% of its shares in an IPO (initially only to Colombians). The goal
is to replicate the success of Petrobras in Brazil. A major reform of the Institute
of Social Services is behind schedule.

U.S. courts affect legal environment
When Chiquita Brands International pleaded guilty in the criminal prosecution
brought by the U.S. Department of Justice, it focused attention on the payoffs that
Colombian and foreign companies make to the illegal armed groups. The civil
lawsuits filed in the U.S. have been brought under the Torture Victim Protection
Act and the Alien Tort Statute, which allow foreigners to sue in U.S. courts on
issues of internationally recognized human rights violations. The Drummond
case tested a new use of the 218-year-old law. Though the plaintiffs were not
successful, the lawsuit against Drummond could herald a new era for the Alien
Tort Statute to be used to sue multinational corporations suspected of human









rights abuses in developing countries. Drummond marked the first time a U.S.
company had gone to trial under the Alien Tort Statute. Other corporations may
be subject to similar suits and more of these cases will be brought unless the U.S.
Supreme Court rules with greater clarity on what kinds of claims can be pursued
by foreigners in U.S. courts.


Ecuador#: New president pledges to transform environment.

Economic performance continues to be satisfactory
GDP growth averaged over a healthy 5.0% since 2003 but is forecast to decline in
2007 in response to the uncertain business environment. Dollarization keeps
inflation at bay.

More nationalist external position
Because of high oil prices and favorable terms of trade, exports are up, and the
current account is in surplus. FDI has also increased, but investors may be more
cautious as they wait for the Correa government to define its policies. Before
taking office, the President-elect announced that his government would
renegotiate contracts with foreign oil companies and the country's foreign debt.
Once in office, his government moved ahead on renegotiating the oil contracts to
give the state more control and a bigger share of the revenues. However, it
continues to service the debt, which has lowered the risk of default. The new
economy minister appointed in July stated that attracting investment was a
priority. While Correa has rejected a full FTA with the United States, he did push
for an extension of the ATPDEA to maintain one-way free trade.

Constituent Assembly takes center stage
President Correa promises to bring stability and accountability to Ecuador's
discredited political system. As he completes his first year in office, he has done
battle with Congress and the Courts, both held in very low esteem by
Ecuadorians. Now he is wagering the future of serious reform, and his
government, on a Constituent Assembly, approved by 70% of the voters in an
April referendum. The challenges facing the president are formidable, but Correa
has already demonstrated more staying power and more political acumen than his
predecessors.

Leftist policy orientation
Although nationalism and populism mark the new president's policy rhetoric, he
has pledged to maintain dollarization of the economy despite his reservations
about its efficacy. His government has instituted a program of monthly payments
to poor families.

Legal environment
Ecuador stated its intention to allow the 14 year-old U.S.-Ecuador bilateral
investment treaty to expire. However, the treaty will continue in force unless one









of the parties terminates it with one year's advance written notice. Ecuador has
not yet exercised that right. The treaty forbids the expropriation or nationalization
of investment without proper compensation and has been invoked by Occidental
Petroleum in an arbitration claim filed against Ecuador for terminating its contract
last year. Occidental has demanded $1 billion in damages and the return of its
assets. In Ecuador, meanwhile, authorities are investigating allegations of market
manipulation related to payment of the country's foreign bond debt.


Peru#: Environment continues to strengthen under new administration.

Dynamic economic performance continues
GDP has expanded at over 6.0% annually for four consecutive years. During this
same period, inflation fell to low levels. It appears that the August earthquake,
which inflicted heavy damage on a zone important for tourism and agricultural
exports, will not slow the projected 7.0% growth this year.

Awaits U.S. ratification ofFTA
Peru's impressive performance is export-driven, although infrastructure
investment, manufacturing and consumption are also important. High global
metal prices boosted by Chinese demand have produced very favorable terms of
trade. This situation has delivered healthy trade and current account surpluses,
plus it has generated dramatic increases in FDI (up 35% in 2006). The external
debt-to-exports ratio declined from 400 in 1998 to 108 in 2006. The ratings
agencies rewarded Peru by elevating it to just below investment grade. It appears
that the U.S. Congress will ratify the FTA with Peru, which will further enhance
this increasingly attractive environment by securing Peruvian access to the U.S.
market and liberalizing U.S. access to Peru.

August earthquake puts additional stress on social environment
Poverty is down (4.0% in 2006), but regional inequality and uneven distribution
of trickledown from the current growth create serious social tension, which the
Garcia government has pledged to address. His educational reform triggered a
disruptive teachers' strike in July.

President's popularity rebounds
President Garcia's approval ratings were declining and his party suffered a big
loss in the November 2006 regional elections but his energetic response to the
earthquake gave him a boost in the polls. Today he is much stronger than his
predecessor. The extradition of former president Alberto Fujimori from Chile to
stand trial on human rights and corruption charges could complicate politics for
Garcia since the Fujimoristas have been important legislative allies.

Policy
Steady macroeconomic policy management eliminated the fiscal deficit in 2006.
A surplus in both the primary and nominal accounts is likely this year. The









Central Bank raised the benchmark interest rate in July (to 4.75% from 4.50%) to
dampen inflationary pressures. The government launched an innovative public-
private partnership (CRPAO) to generate badly needed infrastructure investment,
especially in the southern highlands. The state oil contracting agency signed
exploration contracts with private companies to become a net oil exporter.

*Legal environment would be strengthened with FTA
The pending FTA provides a secure, predictable legal framework for U.S.
investors in Peru, including the enforcement of labor and environmental
standards, protection of intellectual property rights, and an effective process to
resolve disputes.


Venezuela #: Government launches "21st Century Socialism"

Economy heats up
Buoyed by the high oil prices that have financed record increases in government
spending and a consumer spending spree, Venezuela continues to have the fastest
growing economy in Latin America, with the non-oil sector growing faster than
the oil sector. But it also has the highest inflation rate, more than double any
other economy in the region. Government price and currency controls have
produced shortages and a black market (where bolivars traded at 4,800 to the
dollar in August versus 2,150 at the official rate). With two of two of its biggest
listings(CANTV and EDC) removed by nationalization, the stock market, which
did very well in 2006, was down 25% for the year in mid-September 2007. In
contrast, banks are doing well.

Redefining external position
Oil prices and export volume give Venezuela the most favorable terms of trade in
Latin America, which have produced strong external balances and allowed the
country to reduce its debt burden. These developments have, in turn, led to
improved credit worthiness. Foreign investors, however, find Venezuela to be an
increasingly risky environment. The 2006 FDI flow was negative by $2.5 billion,
and major oil firms announced their intentions to abandon Venezuela. While
President Chavez continues to use petro-diplomacy to act as a "rule-maker"
instead of "rule-taker" on the international scene, his challenge to Brazil as the
dominant nation in South America faces growing opposition. At the May 1 Labor
Day celebration, the President announced that Venezuela was cutting its ties with
the World Bank and IMF in favor of developing regional financial institutions like
Banco Sur.

Growth and social spending reducing unemployment andpoverty
Unemployment fell below 10% for the first time in more than a decade.









Chdvez consolidating political control
Following his December 2006 re-election to a third six-year term, the President
moved quickly to further concentrate power in his hands. Already controlling the
other branches of government and the armed forces, he took steps to reduce the
independence of the media. He did not renew the license of Venezuela's oldest
private television station, and replaced it with a new state-funded channel. In
mid-August he called for constitutional reforms to end the autonomy of the
Central Bank and eliminate presidential term limits. The opposition continues to
struggle to present a unified, credible alternative.

From populism to socialism
On the eve of his January inauguration, Chavez announced he would nationalize
the leading telecommunications and power companies. Later in the year he seized
operational control of four heavy oil projects in Orinoco basin, and threatened to
nationalize other sectors of the economy. In the macroeconomic policy arena, in
addition to price controls and a fixed exchange rate, the government has also
resorted to bond sales to drain liquidity from the system.

Problematic legal environmentfor business
Based on the indicators in Tables 13 and 14, Venezuela has one of the most crime
ridden, corrupt, bureaucratic, and least competitive legal cultures in Latin
America. Pending measures would order employers to grant their employees four
hours a week leave to attend ideological training in socialism and reduce the work
week to 36 hours. The government has also proposed a co-management system
whereby employees would have the right to manage the company or share in
profits or both. A series of labor laws passed, generating additional costs for
companies that continue to operate in the country.


BRAZIL AND THE SOUTHERN CONE

South American geopolitics has clouded the prospects of broadening and

deepening the integration of the continent. A year ago President Chavez announced that

Venezuela would be joining MERCOSUR, and Bolivia and Ecuador would be following.

These were seen as steps toward expanding MERCOSUR into a South American

counterpart to NAFTA. Now Venezuela's membership in MERCOSUR is caught up in a

spat between Chavez and the Brazilian Congress. Meanwhile Venezuela promotes its

ALBA trade bloc, which may emerge as its alternative to MERCOSUR if differences

cannot be reconciled. The fate of two other Chavez initiatives for South America Bank









of the South and a South American natural gas pipeline are still on the agenda, but not

assured because of reservations on Brazil's part. In the meantime, two-way Brazil-

Venezuela trade and investment are flourishing. Thus far the two neighbors have avoided

an irreparable rupture.

The unresolved dispute between Uruguay and Argentina over the construction of

two large cellulose mills on the Uruguayan side of a shared river continues unresolved.

Uruguay is covering its bets by entertaining the possibility of an FTA with the United

States, a move that would seriously undermine IMERCOSUR. The IMERCOSUR nations

created a regional parliament in December in a step toward replicating the experience of

the EU as a political bloc.



Brazil#: Environment improves in face of corruption scandals.


Moving toward sustained growth
Brazil has experienced 20 uninterrupted quarters of growth, and the rate is
increasing to a sustainable 4.0% plus. An equally noteworthy accomplishment is
the decline in inflation as a result of the inflation targeting policy. This has
allowed interest rates to come down, stimulating both consumption and
investment. The BOVESPA stock index is at or near historic highs, and there has
been a steady stream of IPOs over the last two years.

Strong external performance
Brazil is taking advantage of the export boom to build up trade and current
account surpluses and increase foreign reserve holdings. This has allowed it to
reduce its external debt and debt/export ratio. It has also strengthened the real -
12.6% against the dollar thus far in 2007 which threatens to erode export
competitiveness. In recognition of these accomplishments, the ratings agencies
boosted the country's credit rating to one notch below investment grade. Net
FDI, which has weakened in recent years (in part because of Brazil-based
multinationals expanding abroad), but the flow is positive and strong this year.
On the diplomatic front, President Lula has pursued a foreign policy that balances
good relations with Washington and Caracas and projects Brazil on to the world
scene as a leader of the emerging nations. He is also aggressively positioning
Brazil to lead a global bio-fuels revolution.









* Poverty and inequality down but violence has escalated
Along with the Bolsa Familia that subsidizes low income families, growth is
beginning to reduce not only the poverty rate but also income inequality. On the
negative side, criminal violence linked to drug-trafficking is still a very serious
problem, especially in Rio de Janeiro, leading the government to launch a major
anti-crime program in September. According to statistics, Brazil is one of the
three most violent countries in the world. Failure to control, much less reduce,
crime increases investment risks and business costs.

* The "Teflon president"
Lula began his second four-year term in January. In spite of the problems
besieging the government this year high level corruption, ongoing violence, and
the aviation crisis his public opinion ratings remain favorable (over 50%). One
explanation is his popularity among low income Brazilians, whose standard of
living is improving because of his income transfer programs. As with all
Brazilian presidents, his biggest political challenge is to establish and maintain an
effective working majority in Congress, which involves constant horse-trading to
get bills passed.

* Solid macro-economic policy but reform lags
In September the Central Bank lowered the key overnight SELIC lending rate to
11.25% (down from 775 basis points since August 2005), but the reduction was
lower than previous cuts because of growing concerns about rising food prices.
The expectation that Lula would interpret his easy re-election as a mandate to
pursue serious structural reform and de-regulation does not seem likely to be
fulfilled. In protest over the government's support for embattled Senate president
accused of corruption, the opposition in Congress is currently holding up renewal
of the financial transactions tax (CPMF), a crucial source of revenue needed to
fund a new infrastructure investment initiative among other programs. This is
indicative of how difficult it will be for the popular president to push major items
through the legislature.

* Important developments in legal environment
In August the Supreme Court for the first time in its history took steps that could
lead to the conviction of high level politicians (including a top former advisor to
the president) on charges of corruption for their involvement in the 2005
Congressional vote buying (i'e,//tl,/i) scandal. Other developments in the legal
environment include the adoption of a reform under which lower courts are bound
by Supreme Court decisions. This should help to reduce the number of cases in
the court system and provide greater predictability and transparency.
Advancements have accompanied setbacks with the Brazilian decision to create a
compulsory license for Merck's Efavirenz AIDS drug, allowing the government
to break the drug company's patent and purchase a generic version from other
laboratories. The move came just days after Brazil was recognized by the Office
of the U.S. Trade Representative for improving its enforcement of intellectual
property rights, removing the country from the Priority Watch List to the Watch









List in its annual Special 301 report. Progress on the intellectual property
protection front had been critical in U.S. Congress's extension of Generalized
System of Preferences tariff benefits.


Argentina=: Inflation and energy problems to challenge next administration.

Growth continues strong but inflation a threat
Since 2002 the GDP has expanded at an annual average rate of over 8%. Most
observers, and most Argentines, are skeptical of official statistics and the
government's claim that inflation is easing. These doubts have weakened the
bond market. In general, the domestic capital market has yet to recover from the
2002 crisis.

Mixed external performance
High commodity prices and favorable terms of trade sustain growth in exports and
the current account surplus. Foreign portfolio investment is strong, but FDI took
a big fall last year. Although the nominal external debt and debt ratio are very
high, they do not reflect settlement made with most bond holders.

Stronger social environment
Unemployment and poverty continue to decline

Cristina Kirchner set to succeed her husband
President Kirchner's popularity declined this year in the face of embarrassing
corruption scandals, the winter energy crisis, and rising food prices.
Although the opposition made some local electoral gains most importantly
winning the mayor's office in Buenos Aires there is no serious challenge to
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner winning the October election.

Interventionist policies distort economy
Energy shortages that occurred during an exceptionally cold winter underlined the
consequences of the government's failure to work out a settlement with energy
producers and public utility companies (whose tariffs have been frozen since
2002) that would lure private capital back into the investment-starved energy
sector. Another problem in the policy arena is the extensive imposition of price
controls to hold down inflation. The government also intervenes in currency
markets to minimize appreciation of the peso and short-term volatility.

Concerns over legal environment
Concerns over creditor and contract rights and unpredictable regulatory changes
blemish the attractiveness of investing in Argentina. The country broke gas
contracts with Chile, leading to gas shortages. It closed the local Shell refinery
over an environmental dispute. State legislatures in Catamarca and Corrientes
provinces are contemplating the seizure of ranch land held by foreigners,
reinforcing the message that investing in Argentina can be risky.









Chile=: Mixed year for Latin America's most attractive environment

Growth should top 6.0% but inflation a growing concern
Industrial production, domestic consumption and government spending along
with exports are important components of the current expansion cycle.

Another strong external performance
Chile continues to profit from record high copper prices, which give it extremely
favorable terms of trade. Exports are growing at 20% annually; copper now
accounts for over 60% of total exports, up from a little over 40% for mineral
exports ten years ago. Imports are also growing rapidly, but Chile has a solid
current account surplus. The peso has appreciated but not enough to significantly
affect the relative prices of Chile's exports. Net FDI in 2006 was second only to
Mexico in the region.

Protests in improving social environment
According to ECLAC, Chile has reduced the poverty rate to 18.8% today from
38.6% in 1990 through a combination of sustained growth and targeted welfare
programs. Unemployment has also dropped. However, organized public protests
periodically take place demanding more government attention to education,
poverty and inequality.

President slides in polls
President Michelle Bachelet had a bumpy first year in office. A bungled effort to
put a new, integrated public transportation system into place in Santiago
generated much ill will. On the March anniversary of her inauguration, her
popularity was down to 47% from 65% when she took office. This led to major
changes in her cabinet, the second in a year. But her approval rating continues to
drop down to 41% in September following more protests. The death of
military president Augusto Pinochet in December removed a divisive element
from the political scene.

Interest rates up
In July the Central Bank began raising the benchmark interest rate (to 5.75% in
September) to rein in inflation fueled by rising food prices. Thus far higher
interest rates have not affected the growth rate. The government introduced two
important policy initiatives: reform of the privatized pension system and a
package of measures (Chile Invests) to boost economic growth

Measures strengthen legal environment
Chile has the strongest legal environment in Latin America, and its program of
judicial reform is considered a model. Violent street protests, largely by youths,
have raised concerns. President Bachelet is expected to sign legislation removing
the requirement to prove intent in crimes committed by youth, and is proposing
legislation to hold parents legally responsible for the crimes of their children. The









2004 International Arbitration Law has seen increased though still limited use as
Chile positions itself as a regional platform for international arbitration.


Paraguay#: Country gearing up for election that could produce major change.

Growth and inflation up
GDP is expected to increase by 4% again this year giving Paraguay the best two
years in more than a decade. However, food price increases may produce double-
digit inflation in 2007.

Strong export performance
High prices and a record soy harvest promise to sustain impressive export growth
of recent years, although the country is still running a current account deficit. FDI
shows modest increase, while the debt-to-export ratio continues to decline. The
IMF stand-by loan is in effect into 2008. Standard & Poor's raised the long-term
sovereign credit rating in June from B- to B citing strong economic institutions
and more stable political outlook.

Opposition struggles to challenge ruling Colorado Party
Electoral politics are beginning to dominate the environment. Neither the
Colorado Party, which has controlled the presidency for six decades, nor the
opposition coalition has yet to pick their nominees for the April 2008 vote from
among competing pre-candidates.

Problematic legal environment
Paraguay has traditionally had one of if not the most corrupt, least transparent
and most cumbersome environments for business in Latin America. There is no
evidence that this is changing.


Uruguay#: Continuing improvements make a more attractive environment.

Four years of sustained growth
Rising food and energy costs are generating inflationary pressures in 2007.

Export growth highlights external performance
Both exports and imports showed significant increases in 2006. In June 2007
agricultural exports were up 30% over last year. The country steadily restructured
its debt profile, and was able to payoff its IMF loan. The government continues
to strengthen ties with the United States. In January it signed a Trade and
Investment Framework Agreement that could pave the way for a full FTA.
President Bush included Uruguay in his five nation Latin American trip in March.









* President's popularity high at midterm
Midway through his presidency, the government of Tabare Vasquez received
favorable ratings from two-thirds of respondents in a national poll, giving him the
highest approval rating in the region.

* Reforms enacted
Uruguay has passed a series of tax and labor laws, leading to the implementation
of personal income tax and the creation of a tax on corporate earnings.









III. OUTLOOK


OUTLOOK FOR THE REGION

Well into 2007, the outlook for the Latin America was quite positive at least

through 2008. However, the emergence of volatility in international financial markets in

August means that the prospects for sustained growth under low inflation are less certain.

Below we examine the outlook over the next 15 months for each component of the

regional business environment before assessing the outlook for the 18 countries in the

next section. For each component and each country, we indicate whether it is likely to

get better ()), get worse (+), or stay the same (=) through 2008. We use "?" to indicate

an uncertain outlook. We further identify key variables to monitor in the coming 12-15

months.

External Environment

Global
The global environment is more uncertain now than a year ago. Key questions
are whether volatility that riled global financial markets will persist and spill over
into Latin America. For the time being, the consensus seems to be that the sub-
prime-linked turmoil will be short-term and not deteriorate into a global financial
crisis. However, economists are beginning to reduce 2008 U.S. growth forecasts,
some predicting a recession. Thus far the impact on Latin America has been
minimal, and the region is less vulnerable to external shocks thanks to current
account surpluses, trade diversification, large reserves, declining debt, flexible
exchange rates, and solid macroeconomic position. However, given the
contribution of strong commodity prices and reliance on global capital markets to
the current growth cycle, a financial meltdown would eventually take its toll.
Keys: U.S. growth; globalfinancial markets

Regional=
Failure of the U.S. Congress to ratify the FTAs with Peru, Colombia and Panama
would not only be a setback for these countries and their relationship with the
United States, but it would provoke yet another attempt to configure the Inter-
American trade regime. Since the anti-immigrant sentiments in Congress are
unlikely to diminish, the immigration issue will again be a point of contention.
Keys: Congressional ratification of FTAs









Domestic Environment


* Economic and Financial Performance #
Forecasts for 2008 call for regional GDP growth to approach 5.0% again,
although they are being revised downward in light of financial market volatility.
Stricter monetary policy to head off inflation may also bring down growth.
Keys: Inflation

* Social Environment=
Declines in unemployment and poverty are very much linked to economic
expansion through job creation and social spending. A sharp economic downturn
would weaken the social environment.
Key: Continued growth

* Political Environment=
In 2007-08, only five countries (the most important being Argentina) are
scheduled to hold elections. Thus far only Paraguay has a serious (mildly) anti-
system candidate. The deliberations and outcome of the efforts to rewrite
Bolivia's and Ecuador's constitutions will indicate if further erosion of the
institutions of representative democracy are occurring.
Keys: Elections in Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Argentina and Paraguay;
constituent assemblies in Bolivia and Ecuador

* Policy Environment =
Venezuela has decided to abandon the policy prescriptions of the Washington
Consensus. Its government embarked on a deliberate path of nationalizing
important sectors of the economy. In implementing price controls and a fixed
exchange rate, it is abandoning the core macroeconomic components of the New
Economic Model. While unlikely to trigger a region wide developmental
paradigm shift that would be less business friendly, the governments of Bolivia,
Ecuador and Nicaragua seem inclined to replicate facets of the Venezuelan model.
Should the external environment become less favorable for Latin America, other
governments might come under pressure to join the populist policy camp.
Key: Interest rates

* Legal Environment
The outlook for the legal environment is mixed. Countries that have entered into
free trade agreements with the U.S. are implementing reforms that should
strengthen their justice systems and protections for investors. Crime will continue
to be a problem region-wide. Chile, Costa Rica and Uruguay display continued
strength and stability in their legal and business environment indicators and no
change is expected. Venezuela, displaying an abysmal rule of law percentile rank
of 9.2, will continue to be a volatile environment with Bolivia and Ecuador
following suit. Peru will be particularly interesting to watch in the coming year.
The country is pursuing aggressive judicial reforms and boasts a strong economy
but social unrest is not abating. The Alien Tort Statute is likely to be increasingly









used to sue multinational corporations suspected of human rights abuses in
developing countries unless or until the U.S. Supreme Court rules with greater
clarity on what kinds of claims can be pursued by foreigners in U.S. courts.
Keys: Congressional action on FTAs; outcome of suits against Chiquita and
Coca Cola.


COUNTRY OUTLOOKS

This section divides the 18 countries into three categories according to the overall

character of their business environments attractive, problematic or mixed in 2007, and

then assesses the outlook for each through 2008. Based on sustained improvements in

recent years, we upgraded three countries (Panama, Peru and Uruguay) from mixed to

attractive, increasing the number in the most desirable category from four to seven. In

2005, the business environments in only three countries (Mexico, Costa Rica and Chile)

were assessed as attractive, which reflects the overall improvement of Latin America in

recent years. Brazil, and possibly, Colombia are candidates for upgrading next year,

although neither is expected to improve significantly in 2008. At the other end of the

spectrum, four countries (Nicaragua, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador) continue to have

problematic environments. While the government of Venezuela is not likely to make the

business environment in that country attractive to private investors, important decisions

to be taken in Bolivia and Ecuador could alter the mix of opportunities and risks for

investors in a favorable or unfavorable direction.

Attractive Environments

A quick review of the 14 tables in the Appendix confirms why Chile has the most

attractive environment for business in Latin America. It has the most diversified trade

linkages, extremely favorable terms of trade, strong and sustained capital flows, dynamic

growth with low inflation, strong export growth, manageable debt, declining poverty,









stable politics and consistent, market-friendly policies. The rule of law is strong and

getting stronger. The other six countries do not match Chile across the board, but

nonetheless, feature a combination of interesting opportunities and relatively low risks.

Mexico is Latin America's second largest economy, and is closely integrated to the

United States through NAFTA. The Dominican Republic, now linked to the United

States through DR-CAFTA, has bounced back from a sharp downturn to resume a high

rate of growth. Costa Rica's positive ranking is due to its educated population, stable

politics and strong legal culture, plus the resumption of high growth. Uruguay presents a

similar profile. The newcomers, Panama and Peru, have significantly improved their

performance and policy management.

Mexico#
Although President Calder6n faces serious challenges opening the energy sector
to private investment, reforming labor markets, breaking up near monopoly
control of private groups and effectively combating drug trafficking he has
demonstrated the political acumen necessary to mount effective responses.
Keys: Continued progress on economic reform; U.S. growth

Dominican Republic=
Politics will heat up as the May election draws near. Barring the unexpected,
Leonel Fernandez will be elected to a third term. DR-CAFTA presents both an
opportunity and challenge. While it guarantees access to U.S. and Central
American markets, it also opens an economy hindered by infrastructure, education
and competitiveness deficiencies to cheaper imports. One key will be the ability
of the duty-free industries to take advantage of liberalized access to the United
States gained under the agreement.
Keys: May election; impact of DR-CAFTA

Costa Rica?
Given Costa Rica's strong performance over the past few years, failure to ratify
DR-CAFTA may not be as deleterious as might be expected. However, a no vote
would have negative consequences, not least by raising doubts about the ability of
President Arias to effectively govern through the rest of his term. There would
also be uncertainty about the terms of U.S.-Costa Rican trade (40% of all its
trade) going forward as well as the future path of Central American integration
without full Costa Rican participation.
Keys: Outcome of DR-CAFTA referendum










Panama#
Following revisions in the labor and environmental components to accommodate
Democrats, it now appears likely that the U.S. Congress will ratify the FTA. The
canal expansion promises sustained growth and rising employment. The main
challenge will be to maintain macroeconomic equilibrium and avoid corruption.
Keys: U.S. ratification of FTA; canal expansion

Peru=
Alan Garcia has proven to be a stronger, more effective leader than all but his
closest supporters might have expected, given Peru's weak institutions and the
disaster of his first term. He must now rise to the task of managing recovery from
the August earthquake while coping with the passions certainly to be unleashed
by the trial of Alberto Fujimori. Peru has accumulated strong reserves so it is
well insulated from external shocks triggered by falling metal prices.
Keys; U.S. ratification of FTA; Fujimori trial

Chile=
A slowdown in the world economy that led to lower commodity prices could have
had an impact on Chile, given the importance of copper exports. Chile also
imports much of its energy from sources that are not always dependable. On the
other hand, with a large rainy-day reserve fund, diversified trading partners and a
strong state, Chile is better prepared to cope with such challenges than other
countries in the region.
Keys: Energy supplies; inflationary pressures

Uruguay
Socialist president Tabare Vasquez has quietly maintained the policies of his
predecessor to transform Uruguay into the most open, dynamic and well managed
small economy in Latin America.
Keys: MERCOSUR relations


Problematic Environments

Even though three of the four countries in the problematic category are

experiencing high growth thanks to high energy prices and very favorable terms of trade,

they offer an unfavorable risk-reward calculus. Venezuela has explicitly opted for a

development strategy that privileges the state over the market, private investment, and

property rights. Nicaragua, Bolivia and Ecuador are in the process of deciding how far









they will go down the populist-socialist path. Consequently, the level of uncertainty is

high in all three.

Nicaragua?
President Daniel Ortega has zigzagged between a new business-friendly version
of himself and the old Sandinista radical. This raises doubts about the advisability
of investing in Nicaragua. He has also promised to push for constitutional
reforms that would allow immediate re-election certain to provoke confrontation
with the opposition and periodically seems intent on picking a fight with the
United States.
Keys: Foreign investmentflows; relations with Washington

Venezuela 0
The government is expected to devalue the bolivar within the next year. It also
announced that it will hold down spending in the next fiscal year. If these
measures fail to bolster the bolivar and reign in inflation, the business
environment will become even more unsettled as would additional
nationalizations. Because it includes a provision that would shorten the work day,
the December constitutional referendum is likely to pass. This would eliminate
presidential term limits, curb the autonomy for the Central Bank and strengthen
power of government to expropriate private property. Even if prices stay high,
Venezuelan oil revenues may decline since production has been declining.
Keys: Oil prices; inflation; December referendum

Bolivia?
Foreign investors have not given up on Bolivia. Its energy and mineral reserves
are too valuable, plus until now the government has eschewed the more radical
Chavez path in favor of a more measured nationalization program that carves out
a role for the private sector. All eyes are now on the Constituent Assembly. Will
it resume its deliberations? If it does, will it be able to arrive at compromises (on
regional autonomy, land reform, the state's role in the economy and presidential
re-election) acceptable to the contending factions? If not, Morales may face the
political chaos that forced his predecessors from office.
Key: Deliberations of Constituent Assembly

Ecuador?
Rafael Correa has succeeded in imposing a degree political stability and policy
direction, but there remains a high level of uncertainty in the environment. The
Constituent Assembly will define the environment. Since Correa won a majority
in the assembly in the September vote, he has a great deal of leeway in imposing
his vision of a new Ecuador. Correa has disassociated himself from the more
extreme steps taken by Chavez, including removing limits on presidential re-
election, but he would seem to have a mandate to dismantle the institutional
apparatus controlled by the defeated opposition and redefine the role of the state.
In this sense, he is more likely to replicate what is happening in Venezuela than









face the fate of his predecessors, the last three of whom did not serve out their full
terms.
Keys: Deliberations of Constituent Assembly

Mixed Environments

In the mixed environment, all countries have improved steadily over the past four

years. Argentina has made a dramatic recovery from the financial meltdown and

economic depression to which it succumbed in 2002.

El Salvador=
El Salvador is finally beginning to reap rewards for its full embrace of the New
Economic Model and early entrance into DR-CAFTA.
Keys: U.S. immigration policy

Guatemala=
Although the presidential run-off features candidates with contrasting agendas -
Colom calling for increased social spending and Perez promising increased
security it seems likely that neither will deviate from economic policies of
recent administrations nor make serious headway in diminishing violence.
Composition of the legislature is not yet decided.
Keys: November run-off

Honduras=
Should the U.S. adopt a more restrictive immigration policy the impact on
Honduras through reduced remittances could be serious. Failure to go through
with the announced global bonds issuance the first in Honduran history would
be a setback.
Keys: U.S. immigration policy; global bonds issue

Colombia=
While growth may decline because of rising interest rates, the remarkable
economic recovery Colombia is enjoying will continue. Failure of the U.S.
Congress to ratify the FTA would be a setback, but it would not be fatal if it
retains Colombia preferential access to the U.S. market through extension of the
Andean Trade Preference and Drug Eradication Act.
Keys: Ratification of FTA with U.S.

Brazil=
Brazil is on the brink of joining the other dynamic emerging markets (the BRIC
countries of Brazil plus Russia, India and China) on the road to sustained high
growth. Certainly the government's adherence to solid macro-economic policies
has impressed the financial world. The coveted investment grade credit rating is
possible within the year. Doubts remain, however, about whether the Lula









government has be ability and the inclination to push serious reform (social
security, tax, labor markets) through the scandal-tainted Congress where constant
dealing-making is required. Thanks to a more diversified mix of the trading
basket and strong international reserves, Brazil is better prepared to weather
external shocks than in the past.
Keys: Structural reforms; credit rating upgrade

* Argentina=
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner will be the next president of Argentina. Her
biggest challenge will be to deal with the issues that her husband has put off in
order to sustain the remarkable yet incomplete recovery that Argentina has
experienced during his term. More international in her orientation, expectations
are that she will seek to improve Argentina's external relations, most importantly
with the United Sates.
Keys: October election; inflation; energy policy

* Paraguay?
The strong showing of Fernando Lugo, the populist former bishop and would-be
candidate of the Concertacion alliance, in early polls suggested that the
opposition has a chance to end the Colorado Party's six decade hold on the
presidency. However, there are serious doubts that the 10-party coalition can
unite behind Lugo. In September, former General Lino Oviedo was released from
prison where he was serving a term for leading an unsuccessful coup in 1996. He
also took his party out of the Concertacion.
Keys: Party primaries; April election










TABLES


Table 1 MEMBERSHIP IN MAJOR TRADE AGREEMENTS

Table 2 TERMS OF TRADE, 1997-2006

Table 3 NET FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT, 1997-2006

Table 4 GDP GROWTH, 1997-2007

Table 5 ANNUAL INFLATION, 1997-2007

Table 6 EXPORTS, IMPORTS AND CURRENT ACCOUNT BALANCE, 2003-
2006

Table 7 GROSS DISBURSED EXTERNAL DEBT, 1997-2006

Table 8 DEBT/EXPORT RATIO, 1997-2006

Table 9 EXCHANGE RATES AND IMF AGREEMENTS, 2007

Table 10 SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT, 2007

Table 11 POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT, 2007

Table 12 FISCAL DEFICIT/SURPLUS, 1997-2006

Table 13 LEGAL ENVIRONMENT, 2007

Table 14 LEGAL ENVIRONMENT, 2007





















Table 1

MEMBERSHIP IN MAJOR TRADE AGREEMENTS


NAFTA CACM


DR-CAFTA CBI CARICOM CAN


BILATERAL AGREEMENTS
ATPA MERCOSUR CHILE COLOMBIA PANAMA PERU


NAFTA REGION
Mexico
DR-CAFTA Region
Dominican Republic
Costa Rica
El Salvador
Guatemala
Honduras
Nicaragua
Panama
ANDEAN SOUTH AMERICA
Bolivia
Colombia
Ecuador
Peru
Venezuela
SOUTHERN CONE
Argentina
Brazil
Chile
Paraguay
Uruguay
US MEMBERSHIP


M M
M
M
M
M
M


M M
M M
M M
M M


M M


A = Associate Member M = Member P = Membership Pending
NAFTA = North American Free Trade Agreement CACM = Central Amerian Common Market
CAFTA-DR = US Free Trade Agreement with Central America and the Dominican Republic CBI = Carbbean Basin Initiative
CARICOM = Caribbean Common Market CAN = Andean Community ATPA = Andean Trade Preference Act
MERCOSUR = Common Market of the South CHILE = US-Chile Free Trade Agreement
COLOMBIA = US-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement PANAMA = US-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement PERU = US-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement










Table 2
TERMS OF TRADE, 1997-2006
(2000=100)


1997 1998


1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 20061


89.5


90.6


99.3 100.0 97.4


97.9


98.8 101.6 103.6 107.6


DR-CAFTA REGION
Dominican Republic
Costa Rica
El Salvador
Guatemala
Honduras
Nicaragua
Panama


ANDEAN SOUTH AMERICA
Bolivia
Colombia
Ecuador
Peru
Venezuela


106.1 108.0 105.7 100.0 100.9
125.9 117.5 106.9 100.0 98.4
95.0 95.8 99.6 100.0 102.5
97.9 115.3 101.9 100.0 96.7
125.5 108.9 107.5 100.0 94.8
82.0 79.6 95.3 100.0 88.4
103.9 104.7 104.6 100.0 102.7


107.9 102.0 97.1 100.0
93.3 81.2 87.2 100.0
89.1 75.8 89.1 100.0
115.5 103.4 100.8 100.0
70.1 51.2 66.1 100.0


95.8
94.2
84.6
95.6
82.2


BRAZIL AND SOUTHERN CONE


Argentina
Brazil
Chile
Paraguay
Uruguay


102.2 96.6 90.9 100.0 99.3
113.6 111.9 97.0 100.0 99.6
94.5 91.0 94.2 100.0 93.3
106.2 108.0 101.7 100.0 100.2
102.9 104.4 95.9 100.0 104.0


LATIN AMERICA AND
CARIBBEAN


95.0


91.3


94.5 100.0


96.3


96.6


98.6 103.9 109.0 117.5


NAFTA REGION


Mexico


101.5
96.9
101.6
95.8
92.0
87.0
101.6


96.2
92.5
86.8
98.4
87.6


97.9
95.5
97.7
93.0
88.0
84.1
97.2


98.5
95.2
89.8
102.2
98.7


107.2
97.0
102.8
101.4
103.5


96.7
91.9
96.8
92.1
87.2
82.5
95.3


104.1
108.5
91.5
111.3
118.1


109.2
97.9
124.9
104.3
99.9


95.8
88.3
96.8
91.3
87.2
81.4
93.5


111.8
117.7
102.4
119.4
154.4


106.9
99.2
139.8
97.4
90.7


94.9
84.9
94.9
89.6
83.9
79.8
90.8


134.6
124.5
111.8
150.1
188.9


111.8
102.4
186.9
95.5
89.1


98.7
98.4
97.2
96.7
102.6


SOURCE: United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the
Caribbean 2006. Santiago, Chile: United Nations Publications, December 2006.
1 Preliminary estimates for Year 2006 from ECLAC










Table 3
NET FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT, 1997-2006
(Millions of US dollars)

1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 20061


NAFTA REGION
Mexico

DR-CAFTA REGION
Dominican Republic
Costa Rica
El Salvador
Guatemala
Honduras
Nicaragua
Panama


12,831 12,409 13,631 17,588 21,800 18,154 14,003 14,509 12,460 17,300


421
404
59
84
122
203
1,299


ANDEAN SOUTH AMERICA
Bolivia 72
Colombia 4,75
Ecuador 72
Peru 2,05
Venezuela 5,64

BRAZIL AND SOUTHERN CONE
Argentina 5,50
Brazil 18,60
Chile 3,80
Paraguay 23
Uruguay 11


LATIN AMERICA AND
CARIBBEAN


700
608
1,103
673
99
218
1,203


947
2,033
870
1,582
3,942


4,965
26,002
3,144
336
155


:8
3
4
4
5


7
8
9
0
3


1,338
614
162
155
237
337
864


1,008
1,392
648
1,812
2,018


22,257
26,888
6,203
89
238


734
2,069
720
810
4,180


9,517
30,498
873
98
274


1,079
451
289
456
193
150
467


703
2,509
1,330
1,070
3,479


2,005
24,715
2,590
78
291


674
1,283
1,275
2,156
-244


2,776
14,108
2,207
12
180


SOURCE: ECLAC, Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean 2006
1 Preliminary estimates for Year 2006 from ECLAC


909
733
430
155
325
250
1,004


63
2,975
1,160
1,599
864


3,832
8,339
5,646
38
315


1,023
904
300
208
272
241
1,027


-280
5,751
1,646
2,579
1,400


3,579
12,550
4,764
58
715


1,050
1,611
222
325
299
290
2,500


100
3,949
2,899
3,500
-2,500


869
-6,858
6,600
90
1,193


195
820
1,555
1,275
722


878
9,894
2,701
22
401


57,599 60,999 79,923 70,308 63,659 45,213 35,114 43,149 49,206 33,483










Table 4
GDP GROWTH, 1997-2007
(Percentage Change)


1997 1998 1999


2000 2001 2002 2003 2004


Average
2005 20061 1997-2006


IMAr I A KtUlUIM
Mexico


DR-CAFTA REGION
Dominican Republic 8
Costa Rica 5
El Salvador 4
Guatemala 4
Honduras 5
Nicaragua 4
Panama 6

ANDEAN SOUTH AMERICA
Bolivia 5
Colombia 3


Ecuador
Peru
Venezuela


6.8 5.0 3.8


.1 8.3 6.1
.6 8.4 8.2
.2 3.7 3.4
.4 5.0 3.8
.0 2.9 -1.9
.0 3.7 7.0
.4 7.4 4.0


.0 5.0 0.4
.4 0.6 -4.2
.1 2.1 -6.3
.9 -0.7 0.9
.4 0.3 -6.0


4
6
6


BRAZIL AND SOUTHERN CONE
Argentina 8.1 3.9 -3.4
Brazil 3.3 0.1 0.8
Chile 6.6 3.2 -0.8
Paraguay 3.0 0.6 -1.5
Uruguay 5.0 4.5 -2.8


LATIN AMERICA AND
CARIBBEAN


5.5 2.6 0.4


6.6 0.0 0.8 1.4 4.2


7.9 2.3 5.0 -0.4 2.7
1.8 1.1 2.9 6.4 4.1
2.2 1.7 2.3 2.3 1.8
3.6 2.3 2.2 2.1 2.7
5.7 2.6 2.7 3.5 5.0
4.1 3.0 0.8 2.5 5.1
2.7 0.6 2.2 4.2 7.5


2.5 1.7 2.5 2.9 3.9
2.9 1.5 1.9 3.9 4.9
2.8 5.3 4.2 3.6 7.9
3.0 0.2 5.2 3.9 5.2
3.7 3.4 -8.9 -7.7 17.9


-0.8 -4.4 -10.9 8.8 9.0
4.4 1.3 1.9 0.5 4.9
4.5 3.4 2.2 3.9 6.2
-3.3 2.1 0.0 3.8 4.1
-1.4 -3.4 -11.0 2.2 11.8


3.9 0.3 -0.8 2.0 5.9


SOURCES: International Monetary Fund. World Economic Outlook 2007: Spillovers and Cycles in the Global Economy. Washington, D.C.:
International Monetary Fund, April 2007.
ECLAC, Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean, 2006
1 Preliminary estimates for Year 2006 from ECLAC
2 Preliminary estimates for Year 2007 from IMF Economic Outlook 2007


2007 2


3.0 4.8


9.2 10.0
5.9 6.8
2.8 3.8
3.2 4.6
4.1 5.6
4.0 3.7
6.9 7.5


4.1 4.5
5.2 6.0
4.7 4.9
6.4 7.2
9.3 10.0


9.2 8.5
2.3 2.8
6.3 4.4
2.9 4.0
6.6 7.3


4.5 5.3


.,____ ___,_.,










Table 5
ANNUAL INFLATION, 1997-2007
(Percentage variation in CPI, December through December)

1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 20061 2007 2
NAFTA REGION
Mexico 15.7 18.6 12.3 9.0 4.4 5.7 4.0 5.2 3.3 4.1 3.9

DR-CAFTA REGION
Dominican Republic 8.4 7.8 5.1 9.0 4.4 10.5 42.7 28.7 7.4 3.7 4.5
Costa Rica 11.2 12.4 10.1 10.2 11.0 9.7 9.9 13.1 14.1 9.4 8.1
El Salvador 1.9 4.2 -1.0 4.3 1.4 2.8 2.5 5.4 4.3 3.9 4.4
Guatemala 7.1 7.5 4.9 5.1 8.9 6.3 5.9 9.2 8.6 4.4 6.2
Honduras 12.8 15.7 10.9 10.1 8.8 8.1 6.8 9.2 7.7 4.9 6.0
Nicaragua 7.3 18.5 7.2 9.9 4.7 4.0 6.6 8.9 9.6 7.5 6.1
Panama -0.5 1.4 1.5 0.7 0.0 1.9 1.5 1.5 3.4 1.3 2.2

ANDEAN SOUTH AMERICA
Bolivia 6.7 4.4 3.1 3.4 0.9 2.4 3.9 4.6 4.9 4.7 6.5
Colombia 17.7 16.7 9.2 8.8 7.6 7.0 6.5 5.5 4.9 4.3 4.2
Ecuador 30.6 43.4 60.7 91.0 22.4 9.3 6.1 1.9 3.1 3.2 2.8
Peru 6.5 6.0 3.7 3.7 -0.1 1.5 2.5 3.5 1.5 1.5 1.0
Venezuela 37.6 29.9 20.0 13.4 12.3 31.2 27.1 19.2 14.4 15.8 21.6

BRAZIL AND SOUTHERN CONE
Argentina 0.3 0.7 -1.8 -0.7 -1.5 41.0 3.7 6.1 12.3 10.0 10.3
Brazil 5.2 1.7 8.9 6.0 7.7 12.5 9.3 7.6 5.7 3.0 3.5
Chile 6.0 4.7 2.3 4.5 2.6 2.8 1.1 2.4 3.7 2.1 2.5
Paraguay 6.2 14.6 5.4 8.6 8.4 14.6 9.3 2.8 9.9 8.9 10.2
Uruguay 15.2 8.6 4.2 5.1 3.6 25.9 10.2 7.6 4.9 6.2 6.0

LATIN AMERICA AND
CARIBBEAN 3 10.7 10.0 9.7 9.0 6.1 12.2 8.5 7.4 6.1 4.8 5.2
SOURCE: ECLAC, Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean 2006
1 Preliminary estimates for Year 2006 from ECLAC
2 Preliminary estimate for Year 2007 from IMF Economic Outlook 2007
3 Does not include the Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, St. Lucia or Cuba.










Table 6
EXPORTS, IMPORTS AND CURRENT ACCOUNT BALANCE, 2003-2006
(Millions of US dollars)


NAFTA REGION
Mexico

DR-CAFTA REGION
Dominican Republic
Costa Rica
El Salvador
Guatemala
Honduras
Nicaragua
Panama

ANDEAN SOUTH AM
Bolivia
Colombia
Ecuador
Peru
Venezuela

BRAZIL AND SOUTH
Argentina
Brazil
Chile
Paraguay
Uruguay


2003


2004


2005


2006


Exports Imports C/Account Exports Imports C/Accountl Exports Imports C/Account] Exports Imports C/Account


164,766 170,546


5,471
6,163



1,050
5,049

ERICA
1,598
13,825
6,381
9,091
27,170

ERN CONE
29,939
73,084
21,524
2,175
2,281


LATIN AMERICAN AND
CARIBBEAN I 378.206


3


7,627
7,294



2,021
6,162


1,616
13,258
6,294
8,255
10,687


13,134
48,290
18,002
2,450
2,098


33.513


-8,615


1,036
-929



-749
-437


62
-987
-340
-935
11,448


8,019
4,177
-1,102
122
-58


8.571


187,999 196,810


5,936
6,370
3,337
3,368
2,393
1,365
6,078


2,146
17,224
7,968
12,809
39,668


34,576
96,475
32,215
2,863
3,145


7,888
7,791
5,999
7,189
3,677
2,440
7,617


1,725
15,878
7,684
9,805
17,021


21,311
62,835
23,020
3,108
2,992


466.311 405.998


-6,682


1,047
-796
-632
-1,211
-404
-696
-1,061


337
-938
-564
19
15,519


3,446
11,679
1,586
138
43


20.775


214,233 221,820


6,146
7,100
3,432
3,701
2,648
1,552
7,591


2,791
21,729
10,427
17,336
55,473


40,106
118,308
40,574
3,266
3,758


9,876
9,230
6,440
8,070
4,188
2,865
8,907


2,341
20,134
9,698
12,076
23,693


27,302
73,560
30,394
3,758
3,730


560.629 479.391


-5,039


-500
-964
-786
-1,387
-67
-800
-782


619
-1,981
204
1,105
25,534


5,789
14,193
703
-22
1


35.873


SOURCE: ECLAC, Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean 2006
1 Preliminary estimates for 2006 from ECLAC


252,795 259,529


6,392
8,445
3,594
4,046
2,938
1,925
8,578


3,908
24,240
12,721
23,404
69,341


47,040
138,421
60,049
4,343
4,500


10,864
10,600
7,151
9,077
5,005
3,287
10,154


2,833
24,788
11,637
14,491
31,038


32,937
92,686
35,713
5,261
4,900


677.170 573.524


-2,651


-807
-1,120
-832
-1,533
-22
-764
-716


1,284
-2,359
503
2,292
31,293


8,473
13,074
5,888
-265
-406


51,294











Table 7
GROSS DISBURSED EXTERNAL DEBT, 1997-2006
(Millions of US dollars)
1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 20061
NAFTA REGION
Mexico 149,028 160,258 166,381 148,652 144,526 134,979 132,271 130,922 127,089 130,946

DR-CAFTA REGION
Dominican Republic 3,572 3,546 3,661 3,682 4,177 4,536 5,987 6,380 6,756 7,021
Costa Rica 2,640 2,872 3,057 3,151 3,175 3,281 3,733 3,884 3,626 3,611
El Salvador 2,689 2,646 2,789 2,831 3,148 3,987 4,717 4,778 4,976 5,418
Guatemala 2,135 2,368 2,631 2,644 2,925 3,119 3,467 3,844 3,723 4,063
Honduras 4,073 4,369 4,691 4,711 4,757 4,922 5,242 5,912 5,082 4,912
Nicaragua 6,001 6,287 6,549 6,660 6,374 6,363 6,596 5,391 5,348 5,336
Panama 5,051 5,349 5,568 5,604 6,263 6,349 6,504 7,219 7,580 7,914

ANDEAN SOUTH AMERICA
Bolivia 4,532 4,659 4,574 4,460 4,497 4,400 5,142 5,045 4,942 4,673
Colombia 34,409 36,681 36,733 36,130 39,101 37,329 38,012 39,445 38,350 37,209
Ecuador 15,015 16,221 15,902 13,216 14,376 16,236 16,756 17,211 17,237 16,900
Peru 28,864 30,142 28,586 27,981 27,196 27,873 29,587 31,117 28,605 27,933
Venezuela 37,242 35,087 37,016 36,437 35,398 35,460 39,672 44,546 47,233 43,120

BRAZIL AND SOUTHERN CONE
Argentina 129,964 147,634 152,563 155,015 166,272 156,748 164,645 171,115 113,518 106,812
Brazil 199,998 223,792 225,610 216,921 209,934 210,711 214,930 201,373 169,450 156,661
Chile 29,034 32,591 34,758 37,177 38,527 40,504 43,067 43,517 45,014 47,604
Paraguay 2,029 2,235 2,741 2,869 2,653 2,900 2,952 2,894 2,761
Uruguay 4,945 5,467 8,261 8,895 8,937 10,548 11,013 11,593 11,441 11,464

LATIN AMERICA AND
CARIBBEAN 680,332 742,694 762,267 738,237 744, 560 733,062 757,775 761,344 656,129 632,849
SOURCE: ECLAC, Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean 2006
' Preliminary estimates for Year 2006 are from ECLAC










Table 8
DEBT1/EXPORT RATIO, 1997-2006
(as a percentage of exports of goods and services)
1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 20061
NAFTA REGION
Mexico 123 124 112 83 84 78 75 65 55 49

DR-CAFTA REGION
Dominican Republic 51 47 46 41 50 55 67 68 67 67
Costa Rica 49 42 37 41 46 46 46 45 37 32
El Salvador 92 87 88 77 88 105 115 108 109 112
Guatemala 67 68 76 69 75 79 84 85 75 74
Honduras 186 180 210 189 196 196 195 190 148 131
Nicaragua 666 666 680 604 570 557 505 327 287 235
Panama 60 65 78 72 78 84 86 82 71 64

ANDEAN SOUTH AMERICA
Bolivia 321 344 349 303 296 283 262 197 151 107
Colombia 242 273 263 229 260 263 242 203 157 137
Ecuador 248 324 298 221 253 264 229 192 150 123
Peru 345 400 372 330 321 302 274 210 146 108
Venezuela 148 183 166 105 126 128 141 109 83 61

BRAZIL AND SOUTHERN CONE
Argentina 420 473 546 496 533 538 479 431 245 197
Brazil 338 381 409 336 311 301 257 185 126 99
Chile 133 161 165 160 172 179 162 114 94 70
Paraguay 51 54 95 98 109 120 108 83 70 54
Uruguay 117 132 238 243 274 392 357 270 225 196

LATIN AMERICA AND
CARIBBEAN 198 216 211 172 181 178 168 138 101 83
SOURCE: ECLAC, Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean 2006
1 Gross disbursed external debt includes the public-and-private sector external debt. Also includes International Monetary Fund loans.
L Preliminary estimates for Year 2006 from ECLAC











Table 9

EXCHANGE RATES AND IMF AGREEMENTS, 2006


EXCHANGE RATE
June 19, 2006 June 19, 2007


% change


Exchange Rate Regime IMF Agreements (Dates)


NAFTA REGION
Mexico peso


DR-CAFTA REGION
Dominican Republic peso
Costa Rica col6n
El Salvador col6n/U.S. dollar
Guatemala quetzal
Honduras lempira
Nicaragua c6rdoba oro
Panama balboa/U.S. dollar

ANDEAN SOUTH AMERICA
Bolivia boliviano
Colombia peso
Ecuador sucre/U.S. dollar
Peru nuevo sol
Venezuela bolivar

BRAZIL AND SOUTHERN CONE
Argentina peso
Brazil real
Chile peso
Paraguay guarani
Uruguay peso


11.46


34.35
532.4
9.16
7.95
19.71
17.91
1.04


8.33
2675.5
1.00
3.41
2148.8


3.08
2.25
567.9
5873.3
24.93


10.78


32.73
527.8
8.91
7.80
19.22
18.73
1.02


8.08
1954.2
1.00
3.21
2149.0


3.08
1.91
526.1
5185.7
24.16


5.93% Independent Float


4.72%
0.86%
2.73%
1.89%
2.49%
-4.58%
1.92%


3.00%
26.96%
0.00%
5.87%
-0.01%


0.00%
15.11%
7.36%
11.71%
3.09%


Managed Float
Dollarized
Managed Float
Managed Float
Managed Float
Dollarized


Managed Float
Independent Float
Dollarized
Independent Float
Managed and Licensed


Independent Float
Independent Float
Independent Float
Independent Float
Managed Float


Stand-by (1/05-1/08)



PRGF1 (2/04-2/07)


Stand-by (1/07-2/09)






Stand-by (5/06-8/08)


Currency


SOURCES: Oanda Currency Conversion Homepage ; IMF Homepage
Key for IMF Agreements:
Stand-by is the most common type of credit arrangement designed to provide short-term financial assistance
1PRGF (Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility) is a concessional arrangement providing credit at an interest rate of 0.5% to eligible low-income members











Table 10

SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT, 2007

URBAN
AVG. POP. ILLITERATE GDP PER INCOME POPULATION IN UNEMPLOYMENT
POPULATION GROWTH POP. CAPITAL GROWTH INEQUALITY HDI POVERTY RATE
(Millions) % % (PPP $U.S.)* % (World rank)*** % %
2005 2004-15 2005-2010 2004 1990-2004 GINI index** 2006 2005 2005
NAFTA REGION
Mexico 104.2 1.1 6.2 $9,803 1.3 49.5 53 35.5 4.7

DR-CAFTA REGION
Dominican Republic 9.5 1.3 12.9 $7,449 4.2 51.7 94 47.5 18.0
Costa Rica 4.3 1.4 3.2 $9,481 2.5 49.9 48 21.1 6.9
El Salvador 6.9 1.5 16.6 $5,041 1.8 52.4 101 (2004) 47.5 7.3
Guatemala 12.7 2.3 25.2 $4,313 1.3 55.1 118 (2002) 60.2 (2004) 4.4
Honduras 6.9 2.0 19.4 $2,876 0.2 53.8 117 (2003)74.8 6.5
Nicaragua 5.5 1.9 30.3 $3,634 0.1 43.1 112 (2001) 69.3 7.0
Panama 3.2 1.6 6.0 $7,278 2.2 56.4 58 33.0 12.0

ANDEAN SOUTH AMERICA
Bolivia 9.4 1.7 9.4 $2,720 1.2 60.1 115 (2004)63.9 (2004) 6.2
Colombia 44.9 1.3 5.9 $7,256 0.5 58.6 70 46.8 14.0
Ecuador 13.2 1.4 5.8 $3,963 0.2 43.7 83 48.3 10.7
Peru 27.3 1.4 7.0 $5,678 2.1 54.6 82 51.1 9.6
Venezuela 26.6 1.6 4.8 $6,043 -1.2 44.1 72 37.1 12.4

BRAZIL AND SOUTHERN CONE
Argentina 38.6 1.0 2.4 $13,298 1.3 52.8 36 26.01 11.6
Brazil 187.6 1.2 9.6 $8,195 1.2 58.0 69 36.3 9.8
Chile 16.3 1.0 2.9 $10,874 3.7 57.1 38 (2003) 18.7 8.0
Paraguay 5.9 2.1 4.7 $4,813 -0.8 57.8 91 60.5 7.6
Uruguay 3.3 0.6 1.7 $9,421 0.8 44.9 43 18.8 1 12.2
SOURCES: United Nations Development Programme. Human Development Report 2006: Beyond Scarcity: Power, Poverty and the Global Water Crisis. New York: United
Nations Development Programme, 2006.
United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. Social Panorama of Latin America 2006. Santiago, Chile: United Nations Publications, February
2007.
* GDP per capital (Purchasing Power Parity in $U.S.). 1 PPP dollar has the same purchasing power in the domestic economy as 1 U.S. dollar has in the U.S. economy
** The Gini index measures inequality over the entire distribution of income or consumption. A value of 0 represents perfect equality, and a value of 100 perfect inequality
*** The Human Development Index (HDI) measures a country's achievements in three aspects of human development: longevity (life expectancy at birth), knowledge
(combination of literacy rate and enrollment ratio), and a decent standard of living (GDP per capital PPP in $U.S.).
1 Percent of urban population in poverty










Table 11


POLITICAL
Level of Democratic Consolidation


Unscheduled
Head-of-State Changes


Election Inaugurating
Democracy


ENVIRONMENT, 2007


Political Civil
Rights1 Liberties'


Current Government


President / PM


Term


Control of Legislature


NAFTA REGION
Mexico
DR-CAFTA REGION
Dominican Republic
Costa Rica
El Salvador
Guatemala
Honduras
Nicaragua
Panama


2000


1963
1949
1984
1985 3
1982
1984
1994


Calder6n 2006-2012 Government


Fernandez
Arias
Saca
Berger
Zelaya
Ortega
Torrijos


ANDEAN SOUTH AMERICA
Bolivia 1980 3
Colombia 1958
Ecuador 19783


Peru
Venezuela


Morales
Uribe
Correa
Garcia
Chavez


1980 3
1958


2004-2008
2006-2010
2004-2009
2004-2008
2005-2009
2007-2011
2004-2009


Government
Opposition
Govt. Coalition
Govt. Coalition
Opposition
Divided Opp.
Government


2006-2010 Govt. Coalition
2006-2010 Government


2007-2010
2006-2010
2001-2007


Opposition
Opposition
Government


BRAZIL AND SOUTHERN CONE
Argentina 1983 3 4 2 2 Kirchner 2003-2007 Government
Brazil 1989 2 2 Lula da Silva 2006'2010 Govt. Coalition
Chile 1989 1 1 Bachelet 2006-2010 2 Houses Split
Paraguay 1993 3 3 Duarte 2003-2008 Opposition
Uruguay 1985 1 1 V6zquez 2005-2010 Government
SOURCE: Freedom House. Freedom in the World 2007.
1 Freedom House definition: Those rights that enable people to participate freely in the political process. On this scale 1 represents the most free and 7 the
least free.
2 Freedom House definition: Freedoms to develop views, institutions and personal autonomy apart from the state. On this scale 1 represents the most free
and 7 the least free.
3 Interrupted democracies
+ + Up or down indicate, respectively, an improvement or a worsening of the political environment from 2006.











Table 12

FISCAL DEFICIT/SURPLUS, 1997-20061
(Percentage of GDP)
1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 20062
NAFTA REGION
Mexico -1.1 -1.4 -1.6 -1.3 -0.7 -1.8 -1.1 -1.0 -0.8 0.3

DR-CAFTA REGION
Dominican Republic -1.6 -1.0 -1.8 -2.1 -2.4 -2.7 -5.2 -4.0 -0.7 -1.0
Costa Rica -2.9 -2.5 -2.2 -3.0 -2.9 -4.3 -2.9 -2.7 -2.1 -2.4
El Salvador -1.1 -2.0 -2.1 -2.3 -3.6 -3.1 -2.7 -1.1 -1.0 -0.4
Guatemala -0.8 -2.2 -2.8 -1.8 -1.9 -1.0 -2.3 -1.0 -1.5 -1.5
Honduras -2.5 -1.1 -3.6 -4.9 -5.3 -4.8 -5.6 -3.1 -2.6 -1.0
Nicaragua -0.8 -1.1 -3.3 -4.8 -7.3 -2.5 -2.8 -2.2 -1.8 -1.6
Panama -0.3 -4.2 -2.0 -1.1 -1.7 -1.9 -3.8 -5.4 -3.9 -2.9

ANDEAN SOUTH AMERICA
Bolivia -3.0 -3.3 -3.6 -4.6 -7.0 -8.0 -7.1 -5.4 -3.5 4.1
Colombia -3.7 -4.8 -6.1 -5.4 -5.3 -4.9 -4.7 -4.3 -4.8 -5.3
Ecuador -1.2 -4.1 -2.9 0.1 -1.0 -0.7 -0.4 -1.0 -0.5 0.6
Peru -0.8 -1.1 -3.1 -2.8 -2.8 -2.1 -1.7 -1.3 -0.7 0.3
Venezuela 2.0 -4.0 -1.7 -1.7 -4.4 -4.0 -4.4 -1.9 1.7 1.0

BRAZIL AND SOUTHERN CONE
Argentina -1.4 -1.8 3.1 -2.1 -4.0 -0.6 0.2 2.0 0.4 1.0
Brazil -2.6 -5.4 -6.8 -3.1 -3.7 -6.4 -2.5 -1.3 -3.5 -4.0
Chile 2.0 0.4 -2.1 -0.6 -0.5 -1.2 -0.4 2.1 4.7 7.6
Paraguay -1.6 -1.1 -3.8 -4.6 -1.2 -3.2 -0.4 1.6 0.8 0.8
Uruguay -1.6 -1.2 -3.9 -3.5 -4.5 -4.9 -4.6 -2.5 -1.6 -1.8

LATIN AMERICA AND
CARIBBEAN -1.2 -2.3 -3.1 -2.7 -3.3 -3.2 -2.9 -1.9 -1.2 -0.3
SOURCE: ECLAC, Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean 2006
1 Reflects deficits or surpluses of either National Administration, Central Administration, or Central Government
2 Preliminary estimates for Year 2006 from ECLAC.










Table 13
LEGAL ENVIRONMENT, 2007

Rule of Law Corruption Perception2 Economic Freedom3 Crime Victimization4
Percentile Rank Index Rank Index Rank % Yes
NAFTA REGION
Mexico 39.6 3.3 70 65.8 49 75.7

DR-CAFTA REGION
Dominican Republic 33.3 2.8 99 56.7 100
Costa Rica 65.7 4.1+ 55 65.1 51 35.7
El Salvador 44.0 4.0 57 70.3 29 34.2
Guatemala 14.5 2.6 111 61.2 68 41.5
Honduras 27.5 2.5 + 121 60.3 76 34.2
Nicaragua 32.9 2.6 111 62.7 61 34.6
Panama 51.2 3.1 84 65.9 47 28.7

ANDEAN SOUTH AMERICA
Bolivia 27.1 2.7+ 105 55.0 112 33.8
Colombia 32.4 3.9 59 60.5 73 37.4
Ecuador 22.7 2.3 138 55.3 108 40.4
Peru 28.5 3.3 70 62.1 63 37.8
Venezuela 9.2 2.3 138 47.7 144 44.2

BRAZIL AND SOUTHERN CONE
Argentina 36.2 2.9 4 93 57.5 95 47.1
Brazil 43.0 3.3 + 70 60.9 70 35.6
Chile 87.4 7.3 20 78.3 11 36
Paraguay 16.4 2.6 4 111 56.8 99 46
Uruguay 61.8 6.4 4 28 69.3 33 27.7
1: As measured by the World Bank's Governance Indicators: 1996-2005 . The percentages measure the extent to which agents have confidence in
and abide by the rules of society, including perceptions of the incidence of crime, the effectiveness and predictability of the judiciary, and the enforceability of contracts.
2: As measured by Transparency International, Corruption Perceptions Index 2006 . Focuses on corruption in the public sector and defines
corruption as the abuse of public office for private gain. The country ranks measure the corruption level in 159 countries as perceived by business people, risk analysts,
investigative journalists and the general public. The index scores range from 10 (country perceived as virtually corruption-free) to almost 0 (country perceived as almost
4* Up or down indicate, respectively, an improvement or a worsening of the environment from 2005.
3: As measured by the Heritage Foundation's 2007 Index of Economic Freedom. Countries are ranked in order of economic freedom.
4: As measured by Latinobarometro 2002. "Have you, or someone in your family, been assaulted, attacked, or been the victim of a crime in the past 12 months?" Those
who response "Don't know" or did not provide an answer were excluded from the results.










Table 14
LEGAL ENVIRONMENT, 2007


Days Required to'
Start a Register Enforce Trade Across
Business Propertyb Contractsc Bordersd


Paying taxes2
Number of Hours Tax Rate
Payments, Requiredb (% Profit)c


Intellectual Property3
Estimated Trade Losses due to
Copyright Piracy in Millions USD


NAFTA REGION
Mexico


49 552 37.1 #


CAFTA-DR
Dominican Republic
Costa Rica
El Salvador
Guatemala
Honduras
Nicaragua
Panama

ANDEAN SOUTH AMERICA
Bolivia
Colombia
Ecuador
Peru
Venezuela 1


107
21
334
374
36
124
44


734
77
264
30
444
39
19


50
44 +
65 4
72
141+


4604
615
626
1459
480
486
686


591
1346
498
300#
435


178*
402
224
294
424
240
560


1080
456
600
424
864


67.9#
83
27.4
40.9
51.4
66.4
52.4


80.3
82.8
34.9
40.84
51.9#


29.9+
27.14
17.8* (2001)
23.8* (2002)






21.84 (2005)
116.54
51s
80.5
174.64


BRAZIL AND SOUTHERN CONE


Argentina 32 44 520 16 34 615+ 116.8 3014
Brazil 152 47 616 18 23 2600 71.7 850.84
Chile 27 31 480 20 10 432 26.3 95.6
Paraguay 74 464 478 34 33 328 43.24 135 4
Uruguay 43 4 66 655 22 41 300 27.6 10.14 (2002)
1 As measured by the World Bank Group's report "Doing Business in 2007 Removing Obstacles to Growth "a) Average time in calendar days spent registering a firm b) Average time in calendar days spent completing the procedures to register
property c) Average time in calendar days from the moment a plaintiff files a lawsuit in court until the moment of payment d) Average time in calendar days necessary to comply wth all procedures required to export goods
4* Up or down indicate, respectively, an improvement or a worsening of the environment from 2006 The absence of an arrow indicates "no change" from the previous year
2 As measured by the World Bank Group's report "Doing Business in 2007 Removing Obstacles to Growth" a) total number of tax payments per year b) time it takes to prepare, file and pay (or withhold) the corporate income tax, the value added
tax and social security contributions c) total amount of taxes and mandatory contributions payable by the business
3 As measured by the International Intellectual Property Alliance 2007 Country Reports Estimates are based on 2006 losses due to copyright piracy in millions of USD unless year is otherwise noted Industries included in estimates include, sound
recordings and musical compositions, business software, entertainment software, motion pictures and books


1005.64










SELECTED SOURCES MONITORED FOR 2007LABER


Print
The Economist
Latin America Monitor
LatinFinance
Latin Trade
Wall Street Journal

On-line
BBC Mundo. con
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/spanish/news/
Brazil Focus: Weekly Report
Subscriptions available at fleischer(@aol.com.br
Council on Hemispheric Affairs Report
http://www.coha.org/
Latin American Newspapers accessible through Latin American Network Information
Center at http://wwwl.lanic.utexas.edu/la/region/news/
Latin America Advisor: The Interactive Forum for the Region's Leaders
Subscriptions available to mailto:freetrial@,thedialogue.org
Manchester Trade Export Performance & Trade Relations
www.ManchesterTrade.com
Miami Herald
www.herald.com
New York Times
www.nvtimes.com

Primary Data Sources
International Monetary Fund
http://www.imf.org/
Organization of American States Foreign Trade Information System
http://www.sice.oas.org/
U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean
htt ://www.cenal.org/default.asn?idioma=IN











































Latin American Business Environment Program
Center for Latin American Studies
University of Florida
PO Box 115530
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611-5530 USA

Tel: (352) 392-0375
Fax: (352) 392-7682
www.latam.ufl.edu/labe.html


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