The growth of bilateral Latin American trade in the past decade was phenomenal. From 2000 to 2011, total bilateral trade grew a total 2,310 percent, from $10 billion to $241.5 billion. This tremendous growth helped the region experience the strong economic growth of the “Golden Decade,” as demand drove commodity prices upwards, and China proved a voracious consumer for the region’s exports.
But the latest statistics of China-Latin American Trade show those good old days are gone. In 2013, bilateral trade between Latin America and the Asian giant grew just 0.6 percent from a year earlier. Bilateral trade is now just $257 billion, with exports to the region growing just 0.2 percent, and imports from the region up 1.1 percent.
“This is a significant slowing from the rapid expansion in trade seen during most of the past decade and may reflect, to some degree, China’s slowing economic growth in general,” said Professor R. Evan Ellis, an expert in Chinese-Latin American relations and fellow at the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies, and a frequent contributor to Latin Business Chronicle’s opinion section. He also shared other insights on the changing trade patterns between China and the region.