Seven out of ten Latin Americans favor their country integrating further with other Latin American and Caribbean countries, confirming widespread support for greater trade integration, according to a study by the Inter-American Development Bank.
This is one of the findings of the report The Voice of Latin America: Views on Regional Integration and Trade (Spanish), prepared by the Institute for the Integration of Latin America and the Caribbean (INTAL) of the IDB's Integration and Trade sector. The survey was conducted by Latinobarómetro, which annually captures Latin Americans’ opinions, attitudes, behaviors, and values.
The study found that pro-integration sentiment is strongest among younger people (16- to 25-year-olds). Over half of Latin Americans look positively at the trade agreements between their country and others in the region. About seven out of ten are in favor of free trade.
“The clear support of Latin America and the Caribbean citizens for regional integration, free trade and trade agreements is a key factor that countries should take advantage of to design and implement policies that stimulate inclusive and sustainable growth in our region,” said Fabrizio Opertti, manager of the IDB's Integration and Trade Sector.
The study on views on trade, foreign investment, digitalization, and immigration was based on 20,000 interviews conducted in 2020 and finished in 2021 with citizens of 18 countries in the region.
The report also found that:
- 92 percent of the population of Latin America use social media, but only 23 percent shop online.
- Almost half of Latin Americans recognize progress in regional integration in the last five years.
- 54 percent of Latin Americans believe that Foreign Direct Investment is beneficial for their country, and only 15 percent believe it is detrimental. Twenty-nine percent of respondents felt they did not know enough about the issue to form an opinion.
- Seven out of every ten people believe that consumers stand to benefit from the free importation of goods and services.
“Three-quarters of Latin Americans between the ages of 16 and 25 support regional integration, which is encouraging news for regional integration efforts and projects,” said Ana Basco, director of IDB INTAL.
The results are aligned with the IDB’s Vision 2025, which seeks to achieve sustainable growth in Latin America and the Caribbean by promoting regional integration and the digital economy, and empowering women and vulnerable populations.
Latinobarómetro is one of the largest databases on public opinion in Latin America and the Caribbean. Its surveys cover a representative sample of 600 million inhabitants.
About the IDB
The Inter-American Development Bank’s mission is to improve people’s lives. Founded in 1959, the IDB is one of the leading sources of financing for economic, social, and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also undertakes cutting-edge research projects and provides consultancy services on policies, technical assistance, and training to public and private clients throughout the region.
The Institute for the Integration of Latin America and the Caribbean (INTAL) is part of the IDB’s Integration and Trade Sector. It was created in 1965 and seeks to promote regional and international integration for countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. It generates qualitative and quantitative information, conducts technical analyses, assists governments, and develops training programs for public officials and the business community in the countries. It also raises awareness around progress on Latin American integration and the benefits and challenges.