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Revista de Sociologia e Política

On-line version ISSN 1678-9873


FERCHEN, Matt. Relations between China and Latin America: short or long duration?. Rev. Sociol. Polit. [online]. 2011, vol.19, suppl.1, pp.105-130. ISSN 1678-9873.

This article focuses on business relations and investments involving China and Latin America during the decade of the 2000s. There are three major interpretations, different yet interconnected, on this set of relations. According to the first one, Latin America, a region with abundant natural resources, exports primary products to a China in expansion that is experiencing a shortage of the latter. Close to this interpretation is also another one, advocated by prominent members of government, which asserts that economic relations between China and Latin America are fundamentally complementary and have a positive effect on both. In contrast, other observers have emphasized that what is seen as complementarity is in truth little more than a new form of Latin American dependence. These authors argue that, notwithstanding the rapid expansion of businesses and investments bringing short term benefits to both countries, the nature of these relations based on commodities actually reinforces dysfunctional standards of Latin American development which many countries within the region rejected some time ago and from which they have been trying to free themselves for a period now spanning more than half a century. Taking this discussion as our reference point, we present a general view of trade and investment relations between China and Latin America, highlighting the important role played by Chinese demand for Latin American commodities. This is followed by a description of different interpretations on what guides this commercial relationship as well as what consequences it may produce. We conclude by exploring the implications of our findings with regard to the notion that China provides the sole model for domestic and international political economy.

Keywords : Business; Investment; China; Latin America.

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