Geopolitical & Socioeconomic

Britain & Latin America in the 20th Century: The Business Relationship with Rory Miller

  • Institute of Latin American Studies, Malet Street, London

Canning House in conjunction with the Institute of Latin American Studies is pleased to announce a new series of talks taking a look at Britain’s relationship with Latin America throughout the 20th Century. This is the second instalment of the series.

Canning House in conjunction with the Institute of Latin American Studies is pleased to announce a new series of talks taking a look at Britain’s relationship with Latin America throughout the 20th Century. This is the second instalment of the series.

Ever since the Worthington Mission of 1899, British government officials have been concerned with the apparently inexorable decline in the UK’s share of Latin American trade.  Commercial missions and commitments by Foreign Secretaries to pay more attention to the region and reverse the trend have followed at frequent intervals but the country’s export performance has remained disappointing compared with the UK’s competitors.  However, governments have paid much less attention to invisible exports and, except a brief period between the wars, to British investment.  While returns on the old investments in sovereign debt, railways and public utilities faded in the 1930s, and many were nationalised or sold after the Second World War, several large industrial companies made significant investments, especially in Argentina and Brazil.  Although important firms such as ICI, Coats Viyella and Plessey have since disappeared from the region (as have Lloyds Bank and HSBC), others like Shell, Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser, GSK, Rolls Royce and BAT have persisted and frequently made good returns.

Rory Miller is Reader in International Business History at the University of Liverpool Management School, and the author of Britain and Latin America in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (Longman 1993), as well as many articles on the UK-Latin American relationship.  He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Canning House.

This event will take place in the Senate Room at Senate House, Malet St, London WC1E 7HU

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