China’s investment in Latin America

Visitors stroll through China's pavilion at Havana's annual International Trade Fair, November 1, 2004. China exhibited household electrical appliances, scooter, clothes and toys in its largest turnout at the fair. Trade between the two communist-run countries grew 28 per cent in the first six months of this year, and Chinese companies are looking to invest in Cuba, particularly in nickel production. REUTERS/Claudia Daut CD - RTREQRE

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Cover of "China's investment in Latin America" by David DollarFor the five-year period between 2015 and 2019, China’s President Xi Jinping set ambitious goals for exchange with the Latin American and Caribbean region (LAC): $500 billion in trade and $250 billion in direct investment. The pledge was made in January 2015 at the first ministerial meeting of the Forum of China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, which was held in Beijing. Although it remains to be seen if this degree of integration can be achieved, the investment target is certainly plausible, as China is likely to emerge in the next few years as the world’s largest supplier of capital.

That a developing country is emerging as the world’s largest investor is a surprising phenomenon. In this paper, David Dollar examines China’s investment in LAC and tackles some important questions that arise. To what extent does Chinese investment differ from other foreign investment? What are the implications for LAC of Chinese investment deviating from global norms? As China’s investment increases, will it become more typical, will it reshape global norms, or will it remain somewhat at odds with global practices?