The Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean just released its report, Latin America and the Caribbean in the World Economy, 2008-2009 (here is a PDF of the 14 page briefing paper). It's main argument is that Latin America should get closer economically to China.
In the course of this decade, China has come to play a major role in production, international trade and FDI and has recently increased its international reserve holdings and the internationalization of its companies. For the region, especially for South America, recovery from the current crisis depends largely on sustained growth in the Chinese economy.
Further, Latin American countries should develop a coordinated approach to trade with Asia generally, but especially China:
The Latin American and Caribbean region has yet to fully assimilate the significance of Asia-Pacific, despite that region’s growing importance as a trade partner. Still less has any sort of coordinated strategy been developed among countries or groups of countries to forge closer trade and strategic investment links. Thus far, approaches by the Latin American countries have tended to be sporadic and isolated, and a number of bilateral trade agreements have been signed. Although these agreements are important, they are not enough to generate the scale and critical mass needed to encourage trade and technology partnerships between the two regions, nor to reduce the sharp asymmetry between the large volumes of trade and small levels of investment.
In other words, China is here to stay, so let's make the relationship work better for us.