On February 6, Argentina and China signed a series of cooperation agreements, including a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to jointly promote the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Against the backdrop of the deterioration of China-US relations and the return of the Monroe Doctrine, the US has increased its intervention in Latin American countries, and the relationship between China and some Latin American countries has grown closer. Cao Ting's article analyzes the results of the increasing cooperation between China and Latin America through the BRI since Xi Jingping has become the top leader in 2012 and what has been driving this trend.
- Since 2012, 21 Latin American countries have signed MoUs with China on BRI cooperation.
- China's investment in Latin America has been shifting from reliance on energy resources to increasing industrial cooperation to promote diversified production, expanding into emerging areas such as smart manufacturing, power, and communications. As of August 2021, Latin American and Caribbean countries have established 34,633 enterprises and invested US$ 237.05 billion in China.
- China continues to accelerate cooperation in Latin American countries, especially in the field of transportation, energy, and IT. For example, Huawei has nine data centers in the region: two each in Brazil, Chile, Peru, and Mexico, and one in Argentina. This is more than any other public cloud provider.
- Financial cooperation between China and Latin America continues to deepen. China has set up RMB clearing banks in Argentina and Chile, and seven countries such as Brazil, Argentina, and Chile have joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
- From China's perspective, Chinese-Latin American cooperation can help the country's economic transformation and further development. For Latin America, one of the benefits is that BRI has increased the free flow of goods, capital, services, and labor in the region through infrastructure construction, which has accelerated Latin American integration.
According to Cao Ting, cooperation between China and Latin American countries is also facing challenges, such as China's lack of knowledge of Latin American national conditions and systems. The differences between Latin American countries and Chinese standards in taxation, labor, environmental protection, and legal norms have created difficulties in cooperation. Chinese-Latin American cooperation, however, has a solid foundation and huge room for growth. China and Latin American countries should cultivate high quality cooperation; an example of which is building a "green silk road" to create a number of model cooperation projects that promote local economic development, protect the local environment, and benefit the local people. Aiming to tap into common economic growth drivers, Chinese-Latin American cooperation could be a good model for fostering sustainable development in developing countries.
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