Chinese Infrastruc ture Cooperation in Latin America and the Caribbean

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The 20th century’s rapid strengthening of Latin America and the Caribbean’s (hereinafter, LAC) economic relations with China is one of the most studied elements of our region’s recent history. This is closely tied to the sale of raw materials and the “reprimarization” of the economies on this side of the world.
Initially, Chinese investments were focused on extractive activities due to the Asian country’s high demand for food, energy, and minerals, caused by its accelerated economic growth and industrialization (Svampa and Slipak, 2015).

The People’s Republic of China has had a diverse strategy, establishing numerous cooperation agreements and strategic associations with the region’s countries. In Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru, Free Trade Agreements were negotiated, while an Energy Cooperation Agreement was established with Venezuela, in which oil has been a central element (Piña, 2019). Brazil, on the other hand, has allocated 70% of its agricultural exports to this country (ECLAC, 2018) and is a key ally in the provision of meat and soybeans.

Recent research indicates that, over the last ve years, there has been a diversication of Chinese investments in LAC, which now include manufacturing and services. Between 2000 and 2018, foreign direct investment (FDI) ows were concentrated in raw materials (60.02%), manufacturing (8,62%), and internal market and services (30.76%). In 2018, raw materials represented 53.39% (Dussel, 2019b). Regardless of the percentage drop, raw materials continue to be the main sector of investment in this market.

 

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