Since the emergence of China as a real economic competitor in 2005, China has not ceased the development within their borders, let alone outside of them. China has surpassed meager relations with the United States and has greatly expanded its global trading system, even to the exotic lands of Latin America.
According to CNN money reports, today China has the second largest economy; it has trampled Germany and Japan with a GDP of 10 trillion dollars. China, however, still follows behind the United States who has a total GDP of 17.5 trillion dollars.
With the world’s largest population, ~1.3 billion people, the Asian beast does not have a sufficient amount of oil, natural gas, copper, and other natural resources and foods that it needs to sustain a population as large as itself.
Although many African nations support most of China’s import needs, China has stretched out its tentacles to Latin America for resources. The countries China is strategically working with being: Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Venezuela, and Cuba. China’s trade in 2012 with Latin America reached $261.2 billion and is expected to hit $400 billion in 2017 according to Trade Solutions by JP Morgan.
China’s need for resources to sustain their production as well as their population does not appear to be dissipating. From a 2005 Wilson Center study, China was Chile’s second largest export market, at the time importing 1/5 of its copper and 45 percent of its wine and grapes imports from Chile. Various other materials, like soy beans are mass exported from Brasil and Argentina, a total of 68 percent between the two countries alone makes up China’s soy bean imports. An even more outstanding number was in 2005, China depended on Peru and Chile for about 80 percent of their imported fish meal.
Brasil having the largest economy in Latin America is a key partner of China, as was emphasized by the global recession, when the importance of the Brasilian market and trade was made clear. China has also become one of the main funders of Brasilian exploration for newly discovered deep-water oil reserves.
However, attention has switched to Argentina’s mining and oil sectors. In 2003, the CNCP (China National Petroleum Company), made agreements with Pluspetrol, an oil and gas firm that works in northern Argentina and Peru. In 2010, China National Offshore Oil Corportation (CNOOC) invested $3.1 billion for 50 percent for Argentina’s Bridas Holdings (an oil and gas corporation based in Argentina).
The relations don’t stop solely with Brasil and Argentina, but continue on, creating new political pacts and introducing market battles to the region. Agreements such as APEC and BRIC further emphasize the mutual relations between the regions. Who benefits from this Chinese-Latin American relation? Is it all a geopolitical power dispute among the great powers? What Latin American economies are becoming more dependent on trade with China and why?