When Olaf Scholz travels to Argentina, Brazil and Chile at the weekend, it will be the Chancellor's first visit to the Latin American subcontinent.

Even if the time in the middle of the summer break there was not cleverly chosen, this trip is more than overdue after more than a year in office and eleven months of "changing times".

On the one hand, Latin America is a key partner that we cannot do without in our efforts to create a rules-based international order.

On the other hand, Central and South American countries have raw material and energy deposits that we can use to reduce one-sided dependencies on China and Russia.

It is therefore true that the chancellor will travel to Latin America accompanied by a business delegation.

However, this cannot hide the fact that the heads of the key departments, Foreign Minister Baerbock and Economics Minister Habeck, still owe another visit to the subcontinent.

Especially since the chancellor does not have a cross-ministerial Latin America strategy in his luggage, which brings us to the heart of the problem.

The traffic light government has so far given Latin America the cold shoulder.

While strategies are being developed for other parts of the world - more or less interministerially coordinated - there is a lack of clever concepts for the Latin American countries, which means that great potential and many opportunities are wasted.

The federal government must take this important region more seriously and see it as an equal partner, especially since the countries are good, old friends from a European perspective.

It must not just remain with hypothetical statements, but concrete offers must be made.

We call for a cross-departmental Latin America strategy to expand and deepen cooperation between Germany and Latin American countries.

The institutionalized dialogue between the EU and Latin America must also be significantly intensified, for which the EU-Latin America summit in October this year can provide a platform.

Thinking North, Central and South America together and thus strengthening the transatlantic partnership as a whole will point the way equally at national and European level.

The crisis is teaching us to be better prepared for scenarios of economic dependency such as we are currently experiencing with Russia.

This includes making more strategic decisions not only in foreign and security policy, but also in development cooperation.

We must be concerned with rethinking existing cooperation formats.

We need a value-oriented foreign and development policy that does not ignore its own interests.

This is far too often neglected.

Among other things, the federal government must make the topic of raw material security part of the new national security strategy and, in particular, conclude more energy and raw material partnerships with Latin American countries.

Visibility of European engagement

A partnership at eye level must not only stand for the import of raw materials, but must also promote the development of infrastructure for on-site processing.

Investments in economic projects and support for human rights do not have to be opposites.

Overall, it is important to noticeably increase the visibility of German and European engagement.

We must make better offers for strategic partnerships, not least to prevent the countries of Latin America from falling into the China trap.

The EU-Mercosur agreement will be an important signal to our partners on the continent.

But it is also important to us, as it can play a key role in diversifying our supply chains and building the resilience of our economy.

Last but not least, the Greens stood in the way of adoption.

We should finally accommodate the widespread desire in the Mercosur region to develop a closer partnership with Germany and the EU.

The adoption of the Mercosur agreement alone will not be enough to give Germany a new image in the region.

But it can be an important step towards a future-oriented Latin America policy.

Not least because of the historical and cultural ties, there are many starting points for a strong partnership between the countries of Latin America and Germany.

The federal government must finally start to shape this.

The authors are members of the Bundestag and co-chairs of the Latin America working group of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group.