The Wall Street Journal looks at how Latin America may be reassessing China in the light of a protectionist Trump presidency.
Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a 78-year-old former Wall Street banker who chose to visit China on his first official trip, joked earlier this year that he would “grab a saw and cut” ties with the U.S. if Mr. Trump won. Mr. Kuczynski was more serious recently, warning about protectionism and saying he would support a Pacific trade accord that added China and Russia if the U.S. pulls out.
His trade minister, Eduardo Ferreyros, said this week he was hopeful Mr. Trump wouldn’t scrap the deal, but Peru was now interested in joining the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, a Chinese-led free-trade agreement of 16 countries seen as a rival to the TPP.PPK is the sort of pro-business leader the U.S. would typically connect to. Now it seems intent on alienating him. Up to this point, leftist governments had been very active in seeking out economic relationships with China and to a lesser extent Russia. Now our president-elect is encouraging rightist governments to do the same.
And of course they will. They want to trade, and if the U.S. is not interested then others will be. Obama is trying to get Latin America to wait, hoping that Trump doesn't fulfill his many unwise campaign promises. But why should they? In a time of uncertainty, look for the most certain deal. And it's not Trump's.