Chinese whisper in American neighborhood

From  RT
July 23, 2014


After the major headline hogging BRICS summit, the next news event that has been watched closely is the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Latin America.

The visit was marked by an ambitious outlook as China intends to boost trade to $500 billion dollars in the next ten years and announced a $20 billion Chinese fund to finance infrastructure projects in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).

Other significant announcements included an additional credit line of $10 billion for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) from Bank of China and Sino-Brazilian collaboration to start working on a railway project across South America linking the Brazilian Atlantic coast with the Peruvian Pacific coast.

Certainly the implications of this visit are more profound than just another bilateral excursion. The trade partnership shot up from a mere $12 billion in 2000 to $261 billion in 2013. This further corroborated the UN forecastof China – with 14 percent trade share – fast outpacing the European Union (with 13% share) as Latin America’s second largest trading partner after the US, prompting many to ask would the gap between the two in Latin America get narrower.

There is a clear tendency in that direction, although it may take a while feels Fabiano Mielniczuk, former Research Coordinator at the BRICS Policy Center and current Director of Audiplo.

Both the US and EU have been stalled in financial crisis, snarled political situations at home and expensive foreign policies as a result of involvement in the war ridden Middle East, Iraq and Afghanistan.

As Kevin P Gallagher, Associate Professor of International Relations at Boston University & co-author of The Dragon in the Room: China and the Future of Latin American Industrialization points out, “China has been much more strategic. The West has been mired in financial crisis and political gridlock on the home front, and the Middle East in foreign policy.

China’s economy has been strong, and they have built a number of supporting institutions to help their firms move abroad. China has done in 15 years what it took decades for the West to do in the region.”

The diversity of trade between the US and Latin America currently is way too big for China to still match feels Gallagher. “Right now close to 75 percent of all Latin American exports to China are just in petroleum, iron ore, soybeans. Latin American exports all sorts of things to the US.”…


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