The most important realignment in the last 200 years
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5th October 2017

China upended the Latin American competitive landscape. Interview with Chilean ambassador to China, Jorge Heine.
The changes in the China-Latin America relations in the past 20 years, have induced a major revolution: “The most important realignment in the last 200 years,” said Chilean ambassador to China, Jorge Heine addressing attendees at the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Latin American Program of the Wilson Center, in Washington D.C.
Two-century old commercial ties between Latin America, the U.S. and Europe were reshaped forever in this century. China became the number one trade partner for Brazil, Chile and Peru. “Chile exports twice as much to China than to the U.S.; 25 percent of our exports go to China,” he stated.
It’s not only trade, but also financial flows. Chinese loans to Latin America in the past three years are worth more than loans from the World Bank, the IMF, the Inter-American Development Bank and the CAF combined, Heine said. “This has not been fully internalized.”
There is some regional feeling of distrust toward this new growth of trade and finance. The irony, Ambassador Heine claims, is that those who are first to denounce this pattern of trade are countries that receive high value-added products from China, not low cost manufactured goods that compete with local production.
On the other hand, he points out, South America clearly benefited from this flow as it obtained substantial rents from trade with China during the commodity boom, …

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