Growing economic needs, Chinese ambition, and hard cash are giving China a stronger and stronger foothold in Latin America. The underlying reasons for China’s success include China’s domestic demand for Latin American agriculture and mining and raw materials, and the U.S.’s inability to take a concerted interest in the region, along with the political turmoil in Washington.
The old idea, enshrined in the Monroe Doctrine, that Latin America is “America’s backyard,” over which it could dominate, has been relegated to the dustbin of history.
The Monroe Doctrine Has Been Replaced
It is hard not to be impressed by the extent of China’s growing economic footprint in the region.
Last year, China’s trade with Latin America reached $450 billion compared to $180 billion in 2010. According to the World Economic Forum, “on the current trajectory, LAC-China trade is expected to exceed $700 billion by 2035, more than twice as much as in 2020.”
As a result, China is now the largest trading partner for many South American countries, including Peru, Chile and Argentina. This is a particularly impressive feat, considering that at the beginning of the century in 2000, Chinese trade with the region was only 2%.
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