Monday, July 28, 2008

Council on Hemispheric Affairs -- China in L America- a partner, not a threat (so far)

Apologies on the lack of updates and coverage as of recent. I've been in transit from NYC --> Belo Horizonte and was stuck a few days without net or rather without easy access to the net in San Paulo.

Will be publishing from Belo Horizonte for the next few days.

China's Claim in Latin America: So Far, a Partner not a Threat
By light years, Washington traditionally has held the upper hand when it comes to foreign influence on Latin America. Its hemispheric power-advantage rests on decades of security, trade, investment, and ideological connections. However, the era of globalization is now tearing down many of the world's hemispheric divides.

Latin America is rapidly diversifying its international relations as major regional powerhouses, such as China, increase their presence in the region. Many view China's growing influence in the western hemisphere as a challenge to the U.S.'s historic regional supremacy. However, the struggle for power and influence need not automatically reflect a winner-take-all competition, as both outside megaliths can benefit from China's presence in Latin America. China's Economic Expansion China's phenomenal economic growth in the past quarter century has helped motivate Beijing to globalize its industries.

From 1990-1998, China's average annual economic growth rate was 11.2 percent, compared to the world's average rate of 2.4 percent during the same time frame (China's Average Economic Growth Rate in the 90s Ranked 1st in the World 2000) and the country's growth rate is projected to remain above 8.5 percent for the next five years (Erikson 2008). Beijing's economic ties to Latin America have witnessed comparable growth: from 1993 to 2003, China's trade with Latin America increased by 600 percent (Xinhua News Agency 2004).

Chinese president Hu Jintao set the mark for increasing trade with Latin America to $100 billion by 2010, a goal easily met when trade surged to $102.6 billion in 2007, which represents a 42.6 percent increase from 2006 (Erikson 2008).

Click here to access the remainder of this analysis prepared by COHA Research Associate Jamie Heine