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19/10/2002
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Denis MacShane MP
Message from Dr Denis MacShane, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with responsibility for Latin America.

I would like to warmly welcome you to the Latin America and Caribbean pages of the website.

Traditionally, Britain has enjoyed strong links with Latin America. In the 19th century, Britain provided crucial political support for the Bolivarian independence movement and unrivalled economic links followed. British firms led in the construction of railways, tramways, ports, bridges and other major public works with their world class expertise.

Our current relationship is led by a renewed emphasis on modern political, cultural and economic links and, of course, our important trade and investments with Latin American countries. Annually, our exports are worth some £2.5 billion and British companies represented in the region read like an A-Z of the FTSE 100. They include Allied Domeq, BAE Systems, BAT, Barclays Bank, BG International (British Gas), BOC, BP-Amoco, Glaxo-Wellcome, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, National Grid, Rio Tinto, Shell, Unilever and Zeneca.

Our government is committed to improving links with Latin America. Between May 1997 and the end of 2000, over 70 British Ministerial visits took place. These included John Prescott's visit to Brazil and Mo Mowlam's visits to Colombia in 2000. Since 1997, the heads of State of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico have visited Britain.

We hope to enrich this relationship further not only bilaterally, but also through broader, inter-regional relations between the countries of the European Union and those of Latin America in the formative years of the 21st Century.

My own personal interest in Latin America goes back a number of years. I speak Spanish and my wife, who works as a professional Spanish/English translator, is a regular visitor to the region. I am now very much looking forward to seeing more of the region for myself in the near future. Meanwhile, I hope that you find the web pages useful and I wish you happy browsing.

Minister's message in Spanish  (PDF, 6K)
Minister's message in Portuguese  (PDF, 6K)