China’s New Approach in Latin America and the Caribbean


In this November 2014 photo, Chinese leader Xi Jinping greets his Mexican counterpart Enrique Peña Nieto during an official state visit to Mexico. Photo: Presidencia de Mexico/Flickr

2nd March 2016

By Margaret Myers, director of the China and Latin America Program at the Washington, D.C. think tank The Inter-American Dialogue
Myers, one of the world’s most respected voices on Latin America-Asia relations, will publish a monthly column in Latintrade.com.
Latin America can expect both continuity and divergence from Chinese actors in the coming years.
The region has been a critical source of raw materials, such as copper, iron ore, oil, and soy, and an important destination for Chinese exports for almost two decades. It will continue to be so by all accounts. China’s concerns about energy and food security – and their effect on social stability – guarantee as much.
According to the China-Latin America Finance Database, updated in February by the Inter-American Dialogue and the Global Economic Governance Initiative (GEGI), Chinese policy bank finance topped $30 billion in 2015, with much of it supporting natural resource acquisition or machinery exports. In 2015, China also indicated interest in developing several major trans-regional infrastructure projects, such as the Peru-Brazil railway. If they come to pass, these projects will carry key commodities to ports along the region’s Pacific Coast while engaging China’s excess capacity.
Though consistently focused on infrastructure and extractives, Chinese banks and companies are in many cases changing their approach to economic engagement in the region. Chinese companies – public and private — are pursuing …

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