China: Latin America’s new ally

The Asian country is making its way through Latin American culture and economy

China: Latin America’s new ally

Leer en Español: China: el nuevo aliado de América Latina

China has become an economic superpower, in fact, in 2014 the International Monetary Fund put Chinese economy as the number one economy in the world, surpassing the United States. Now it seems that China’s eyes are on a new ally: Latin America.

Over the past 15 years, the Chinese-Latin American commerce has grown rapidly, which has turned the Asian country into the most important economic actor in the region, behind the United States. Commerce between both regions was almost non-existent during the nineties, but by 2012, they had grown up to 270 billion dollars. According to Ted Piccone in his book “The geopolitics of China’s rise in Latin America”, the Chinese influence has been of great help to this part of the American continent, since it has allowed the economic growth seen in the region, which increased the size of the middle class and has reduced poverty.

With the passing years more and more Chinese enterprises have decided to send their products to Latin America. This is the case of Huawei, whose chief marketing officer for Latin America, Jerry Huang, sees a great market in Costa Rica, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, since they bring in 10% of Huawei’s global sales. The Alibaba Group has also shown interest in the Latin area of the Americas: according to their public affairs manager, Jimmy Shi, there is a great interest in importing goods from small and medium enterprises in Latin American countries.

During the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, support was shown for the Chinese president Xi Jinping’s “The Belt and Road” initiative, which aims to become a new silk road that will allow a connection between countries and regions with the goal of a mutual improvement in finance, commerce, infraestructure and politics. The presidents of Argentina and Chile, Mauricio Macri and Michelle Bachelet, attended this forum, showing the interest of Latin America in being part of this initiative. After the forum, the Chinese ambassador in Panama talked about the “Belt and Road” initiative and what it could mean for the region’s relations with China: “We have a firm conviction that the development of China and of Latin America represents mutual opportunities, we want to build together a community of a shared future between China and Latin America”.

Economy isn’t the only aspect where we can see the union of Latin America and China: we can also see it in the culture of Latin countries. Since 2014, Argentina celebrates the Week of Confucius, where some of the countries museums install exhibitions dedicated to the Chinese philosopher, while Costa Rica recently celebrated the sixth Chinese film festival to promote the Asian country's culture.

 

Latin American Post | Alan Rosas González

Copy edited by Laura Rocha Rueda

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