China Increases Investment and Influence in Latin America

By Abbie Schepps

China’s expanding presence and influence is most evident in Latin America. At an all time astonishing rate, Sino-Latin American trade is up 2000% over the past 15 years, making China the leading trade partner and top foreign direct investor of the region. Chinese investment has its hands all over the region, providing a $5 billion loan to Venezuela and investing $20 billion to Peru copper mines, among other investments.

There is nothing outright negative about China’s involvement on the continent, but it is in everyone’s interest to ensure that these deals with China are fair. In order to promote a long-term development agenda, Latin America countries need to band together to pursue a more strategic and institutional approach to engagement with China. Left unchecked however, lasting negative effects could occur. In 2014, Argentina’s exports to China were primarily products like soybeans and oils. Without the overall pursuance of a development strategy, the region may face gradual deindustrialization.