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Los Grobo in the Media

April 16, 2018
Leaders of America seek actions against corruption at the summit without Trump or Maduro
LIMA, April 13 (Reuters) - Latin American leaders will seek to agree at a summit on Friday concrete actions to fight corruption, which has not only slowed investment and economic growth but also unleashed political crises in recent years.

The Summit of the Americas is also expected to try to stop the growing influence of China in the region, without the presence of President Donald Trump, who canceled his first official trip to Latin America at the last minute.

The foreign ministers of the region concluded on Thursday the negotiation of the Lima Commitment "Democratic Governance against Corruption", leaving the document ready to be signed by the presidents in a plenary session on Saturday, the Foreign Ministry of Peru said in a statement.

"The representatives of the countries of the region considered that this result revitalizes the process of Summits, because after 13 years this mechanism manages to agree on a document oriented to action," said the Peruvian Foreign Ministry.

In recent months, the region has been involved in corruption scandals involving the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht, which admitted paying bribes to officials to win public works in several Latin American countries.

The issue was agitated in March with the resignation of former Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, cornered with complaints and requests for dismissal in Congress for his links with the company.

Martín Vizcarra, successor of Kuczynski, said on the eve of a parallel summit of businessmen that corruption has diminished the confidence of the population in its authorities and in its business class.

"These things affect us negatively and have impaired our growth and development. That's why our citizens demand actions to face corruption, "he said.

USA, China and Venezuela

Instead of Trump, Vice President Mike Pence will attend, who plans to ask his regional allies to pressure Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro to carry out reforms before the May elections, which have been described as a farce by the opposition and regional leaders.

Maduro will not participate in the regional summit either.

Other major issues at the table of the presidential summit will be trade, in the midst of a dispute between the United States and China, the main markets for Latin American products.

The tension spread on Thursday after US Trade Secretary Wilbur Ross said Washington would not leave the commercial leadership on its own continent in the hands of authoritarian countries, in an allusion to China that has gained influence in Latin America.

But some businessmen who came to Lima for the meeting said that the United States seems to be working against that idea.

"Trump's plan seems to be to ensure that the United States is no longer the world leader," Gustavo Grobocopatel, executive chairman of an Argentine agricultural group, told Reuters at a joint summit for business leaders on Thursday.

Trump has threatened to apply more tariffs to Chinese products and has said he is in no hurry to reach an agreement on the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico and Canada. (Edited by Pablo Garibian)

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Published by: Reuters (Argentina). By Marco Aquino y Mitra Taj.
Automatic translation from spanish.

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