STORY: Hosting the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, Biden sought to assure the assembled leaders about his administration's commitment to the region despite nagging concerns that Washington, at times, is still trying to dictate to its poorer southern neighbors.
The line-up of visiting heads of state and government in attendance was thinned down to 21 after Biden excluded Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, prompting Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and several other leaders to stay away in protest.
"We have to invest in making sure our trade is sustainable and responsible in creating supply chains that are more resilient, more secure and more sustainable," Biden told a gala opening ceremony.
Biden is seeking to present Latin American countries with an alternative to China that calls for increased U.S. economic engagement, including more investment and building on existing trade deals.
However, his "Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity," which still appears to be a work in progress, stops short of offering tariff relief and, according to a senior administration official, will initially focus on "like-minded partners" that already have U.S. trade accords. Negotiations are expected to begin in early fall, the official added.