Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Sam Logan, "Beijing's Latin America inroads," ISN Security Watch, December 4, 2008.

  Countries that replace a dependence on trade with the US with a dependence on China, however, should be aware of China's own economic troubles, banking sector weaknesses, and ultimately the Communist Party's sense of self preservation.

The Bank of China will open its first office in Brazil in March 2009, marking Brazil's importance to China in growing Sino-Latin American relations, according to a 28 November report in China's official newspaper, the China Daily.

The results of the recently concluded Asian-Pacific Economic Council (APEC) summit in Lima, Peru, show that Brazil is not the only country important for China in Latin America. In fact, compared to the 2004 APEC summit held in Santiago, Chile, China's growing presence in Latin America shows a determined, focused and well planned approach centered on trade, political ties and Chinese energy security.

In 2004, Chinese leader Hu Jintao made a very public tour of Latin America, promising US$100 billion in trade by 2010 on the heels of the APEC summit in Chile. His promise was reached in 2007, with trade between China and Latin America passing some US$102 billion and bilateral trade between China and Brazil around US$23.37 billion, according to China's Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade (MDIC).

China has inked a free trade agreement (FTA) with Chile and Peru, and negotiations for an FTA with Costa Rica are underway.

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