Monday, August 24, 2009

China's investment in Latin America

Hugo Restall at the Wall Street Journal has a very interesting article on the growth of Chinese investment in Latin America. It gets straight to the pragmatic interests involved, which I agree is the best way to understand China's role in the region.

There are two key points. First:

There are several reasons to be relatively sanguine about China's increasing involvement in Latin America. Most obviously, the Chinese interest in the region is pragmatic rather than ideological. The goal is to further economic growth at home by opening new markets and guaranteeing a supply of necessary inputs.

Rocking the boat politically is not on the agenda. Even where Beijing is engaging America's foes, like Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez, it is careful not to offer encouragement for their destabilizing activities.


The more China invests, moreover, the greater the risk of an eventual backlash. Already there are murmurings from vested interests in Latin countries that Beijing is a neocolonial power, buying raw materials and flooding the region with its cheap manufactured goods. Certainly competition from Chinese goods has had a much greater effect in Latin America than in the U.S., hurting the textile industries in Brazil, Argentina and Mexico. This has brought a wave of antidumping suits.

For all the talk of budding South-South relations, the reality is that developing economies directly compete with each other because their comparative advantages are similar.


Anonymous,  8:55 AM  

This is interesting:

yet it has had to offer loans at preferential rates and 20-year terms in order to secure guaranteed supplies of oil and other commodities at market prices.

Just what are Latin American 'guarantees' worth? Look at how Argentina stopped selling gas to Chile, despite existing contracts. Or how Venezuela changes the rules of the game almost daily. I wonder what, exactly, the Chinese think they are getting for their investment. The risk of Latin nations simply ignoring the contracts they signed is not trivial.

Slave Revolt,  3:14 PM  

This framing of left governments as "desabilizing" smacks of the same old neocolonial, undemocratic and brutal mindset that is oh so "American".

The pillage of the resources and hyper-marginalization a d exploitation of the working class a d indigenous people represents 'stability'?! Only is the sick, totalitarian minds of parasitical minds of overlords and their comprador whore lackies.

Sylvia Longmire 3:29 PM  

I'm not as concerned about Chinese investment in the Western Hemisphere as I was, say, three years ago. I agree that it's a financial decision, although they did fall into Chavez's romantic notions of cheap oil for a little while. I know there are talks of building a refinery in China to process Venezuela's sour crude (it may be more concrete than talk, actually), but I think the Chinese are considerably more skeptical about Latin America (especially Venezuela) than they used to be. Many countries have been financially hit by the wave of nationalizations, and I don't see why China would be immune to that.

Camera 10:34 PM  

I don't know why anyone would want the Sewell & Marbury Investment Bank in Bourne Ultimatum deciding anything.

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP