China and Latin America must confront the legacy of past deals gone wrong and attempt to move beyond commodity-based trade, investment and financing ties to forge more infrastructure cooperation.
Concerns about China’s mercantilist trade and investment policies have been at the forefront of growing frictions between China, the EU and the United States, but the Belt and Road Initiative has also highlighted worries about the lending of billions of dollars for infrastructure projects by its “policy banks”.
Since its announcement in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative has grown from an idea centered on connectivity and infrastructure development into a global strategy bolstering China’s influence and economic diplomacy.
Since its unveiling in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has developed into a sweeping global project with profound implications for the international financial system, China’s own growth model, and governance in China and in countries along the Belt.
While the Trump administration has proposed to slash foreign aid by more than one-third, China is increasingly interacting with, and providing aid to, developing countries under the umbrella of South-South cooperation.
China and its keenest Latin American borrowers are left with the challenge of managing the legacy of past deals, including those that have gone awry.
It is Trump administration policies and attitudes that have provided China a rhetorical opening in Latin America at a time when China’s economic and political relations with the region face serious challenges.
It is imperative that the United States not abandon international development out of the mistaken sense that it is removed from America’s core economic, political, and security interests.
Beijing’s role and response to the current economic crisis engulfing Venezuela needs to be further examined, particularly in light of China’s loans-for-oil relationship with the developing nation.
Panama's decision to establish ties with China heightens risks of diplomatic isolation for Taiwan, but the future of cross-Strait relations highly depends on the upcoming 19th Party Congress.