Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

The Chinese are coming…to Cuba

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on June 7, 2011

by Pan Kwan Yuk for Financial Times – Beyond Brics, June 7th, 2011.

When it comes to natural resources, Cuba is small fry compared to its southern neighbours Argentina, Brazil and Chile. Yet that has not stopped China from knocking at its doors.

Xi Jinping, the Chinese vice-president who is expected to become the country’s next president when Hu Jintao steps down in 2013, has been in the Communist island over the past three days shoring up budding Chinese-Cuban relations.

China is already Cuba’s second largest trading partner after Venezuela and trade between the two countries reached $1.83bn last year, compared with $440m in 2001, according to Xinhua, China’s state news agency.

For Cuba, the attractions of closer ties to China are obvious. The country, which is the subject of a strict US embargo and is excluded from most international lending organisations, depends on China as a creditor of last resort. And as the government looks to modernise its dilapidated infrastructure and reshape its Soviet-style economy, Beijing is proving to be a reliable source of cheap credit and trade cover – as well as a steadfast political ally. (continue reading… )



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