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The Chinese trail in Latin America

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Beijing's main interest in Latin America has been guaranteeing access to the region's raw materials principally oil, iron ore, soybeans and copper to fuel its continued rapid growth. For many countries, there's a downside in the China trade, through which cheap imports have displaced local textiles.

China's growing role has alarmed policymakers in Washington. However, China has been careful not to establish a military presence in the region, since doing so would antagonize Washington. The U.S. has considered Latin America to be in its sphere of influence since the Monroe Doctrine of 1823.

China "treats (Hugo) Chavez as they do (Alvaro) Uribe and Lula," said Alexandre Barbosa, a consultant to the Sao Paulo-based consulting firm Prospectiva, referring to the presidents of Venezuela, Colombia and Brazil, respectively. "They're interested in business."

And what a voracious interest in business they've shown. Trade between Latin America and China rocketed from $10 billion in 2000 to $140 billion in 2008. China is buying zinc from Peru, copper from Chile and iron ore from Brazil. It's shipping electronic equipment to Brazil, buses to Cuba, clothes to Mexico and cars to Peru...

** I don't want much, of the 140b worth of trades, I am quite sure Australia would be able to fulfill at least 50% of them - all it needs is rather simple - "talk less do more"!

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  1. kennas's Avatar
    During APEC, held in Lima a few months ago, there were 140 Chinese as part of their delegation....lol
  2. haunting's Avatar
    I can imagine - 10 are there for the conference. The rest are there checking out the local "dimsim" or "yamcha"
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