Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

Guest post: Latin America must see China as a trade threat, as well as a partner

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on November 11, 2010

by Kevin P. Gallagher for Financial Times – Beyond Brics, November 11th, 2010.

Major Chinese investment in Latin America is now a regular event: Sinopec’s $7.1bn investment in Repsol’s Brazilian unit is just the latest example. Such deals are rightly celebrated with fanfare in Latin America. However, the long-run effects are uncertain – especially given that Latin American exports are losing badly to their Chinese counterparts in world markets.

Latin America needs to diversify its exports – away from oil, iron, soya, meat and the like – if it is to grow sustainably. Unfortunately, as the region has focused on selling its commodities to China, Chinese firms have been outcompeting Latin American manufacturing exporters at a frightening pace.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Latin America looked to the US as a core economic partner, adopting the Washington Consensus in order to attract US investment and gain better access to US markets. Alas, in the twenty years up to 2002, Latin America grew by barely one per cent a year in per capita terms. (continue reading… )



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