The implications of China-CELAC meeting

A blog post

It does represent a “new” model of South-South cooperation, with a few important items to keep in mind:

-China promises to invest $250 billion in Latin America in the next 10 years, and double bilateral trade between 2 regions to $500 billion

-sectors such as infrastructure, mining, industry, scientific innovation, education and social policies have been prioritized


The big story

Venezuela’s unpopular president Maduro, who is overseeing his country going through
one of the worst economic crisis ever, with people queing outside empty
supermarkets and pharmacies, was the surprise/ unsurprising guest.
Rarely does one sovereign nation’s president comes to another to
essentially beg for money.

Increased funding?

Kevin Gallagher says it’s a major pivoting point, whereby more funding arrangements than
ever will occur, “it is hard to think about substantive counteroffers
that the U.S. can provide”

China side does insist that the
cooperation will be more “open, inclusive, and balanced”, whereby China
will consider Latin Ameria’s need for self-development, decreasing
dependence on China, and diversify its economy, according to China’s
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wang Yi.

Better bargaining on the part of Latin America?

represents an opportunity for Latin America, as a region, to
collectively use the forum for bargaining power (As ASEAN does). But
many experts including Margaret Myers, the Inter-American Dialogue’s
program director for China and Latin America, are suspicious of that “
but there are many obstacles to even sub-regional integration in Latin

Matt Ferchen, scholar of Carnegie-Tsinghua Center, who
has examined China’s relationship with Latin America, and in particular
told me, it is basically business as usual, only being important so far
as its symbolism, which China wants. While ASEAN may pose challenges to
China with a collective bargaining scheme,
CELAC does not, he points out, because it is largely China’s creation,
as is FOCAC.

Waning U.S. influence?

says, U.S. does not see incresaing CELAC-China cooperation as a
challenge, and has therefore stayed relatively quiet about it, saing
that "Chinese presence in the region is anywhere close to American,
that’s just wrong, on any level; commercial, social, people-people
connection, historical”–“But I do think the momentum, for a country
that was doing nothing much economically or politically in the region,
the momentum has clearly been on China’s side.”

End of the community boom and bad days for Latin America

also argues that as China’s development takes a new path the demand for
commodity from South America may just have peaked. Considering that
China-Latin America relationship was largely fuelled by China’s thirst
for energy and commodity, “ If that somehow slows down, then there is
serious questions about the content and equality of trade relationship. The question then becomes beyond those commodities, what can be the Latin American export side of things?”

photo by Flickr user “
R Barraez D´Lucca


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