Re: “New Study: Chinese Exports undermine Latin American manufacturing”By: COHA Research Associate Lynn Yi-Ling Tu
The article published on your website entitled “Trade Competition from China” by Osvaldo Rosales painted in a somewhat entirely deserved negative light the impacts of such Chinese exports on Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Colombia. However, the region could also view such trade as an opportunity rather than just a threat, and even the ambivalent ongoing role of Taiwan (informally known as “The Other China”) should at least have been awarded a passing nod that would be worthy of analysis. Research indicates that Latin America has become a major beneficiary from its trade relationship with China, as well as being the venue for fierce competition. Beijing is now the primary foreign trade partner for most of the Latin American nations. Although some criticsof this trend contend that China trade expansion does not always have a beneficial impact on Latin American economies, and that China, to the contrary, is not proving to be a constructive force when it comes to human rights observance, it is important that regional countries continue to work closely with the Asian behemoth in order to receive some of the many benefits that could lie ahead for them.
It is perfectly clear that imports originating from China have made substantial inroads in the region’s domestic and export markets. However, it is equally important for Latin America to take advantage of this opportunity to expand its own market horizons, rather than view this increase only in terms of fierce competitive factors or as a permanent threat to its economic prowess. China should currently value its relationship with Latin American countries to a large extent as a function of the economic stability that the region has displayed in the past decade during the ongoing global financial crisis. Moreover, since half of its rival Taiwan’s surviving diplomatic relationships is present within this region, it is of distinct importance for China to ensure that it maintains robust ties within the Latin American economic market. Knowing how to build up the necessary leverage behind such commercial relationships in order to secure a reliable competitive advantage with Beijing’s other trading partners should place China high on the agenda of stellar trading powers like Brazil, Mexico or Argentina. Latin American nations should continue to tolerate a two-China policy, in order to sustain a pattern of ongoing economic growth. Yet Beijing should be mindful that its present indifference when it comes to the subject of human rights would remain a heavy shroud over the current tempo of commercial exchange between China and its Latin America trading partners for, as long as it is not lifted. But once again, because Chinese Vice President Xi-Jinping insisted during his current trip to the U.S. that Beijing is not insensitive to human rights, change may be in the air.