Latin America

China in Latin America: A rising power’s forays into US backyard

China, a late entrant in Latin America, has now emerged as the region's major economic partner. Bilateral trade between the two stands today at more than USD 200 billion. By augmenting investments and trade in Latin America, Beijing has managed to project itself as an alternative to the United States, which had previously enjoyed overarching influence in the region. The US' inability to lead Latin America into a path of sustainable economic development as promised in the 'Washington consensus' of the 1990s further fuelled China's rise. This paper examines China's engagement in Latin America and proposes that Beijing's use of 'soft power' undermines US influence in the region. At a time when China is aggressively campaigning for the success of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Latin American countries are welcoming giant infrastructure investments and aid from Beijing. This enables China to consolidate its position as a long-term player in the Latin American realm, much to the dismay of the US.


Ketan Mehta