In an ongoing series examining the consequences of President Trump’s policies on the region, Kevin Gallagher looks at what this administration’s trade policies will mean for China’s influence in Latin America.
Latin America is experiencing its worst economic growth — projected to be negative this year – since the lost decade of the 1980s. At this crucial time, the United States is turning its back and stepping backward from Latin America while China takes further steps forward in its economic relations with the region.
In just over a decade, China has become a global leader in development finance. China has established a number of bilateral and multilateral funds across the world, in addition to two policy banks. China has also led efforts to establish new multilateral development banks that promise to provide significant financing capabilities into the regime as well.
In 2015 China’s two development banks provided upwards of $29 billion in loans to Latin American governments with the promise of more to come. The problem is the region has no mechanism to constructively engage China to help direct and manage these funds. Here’s an idea.
The World Bank annual meeting in Lima, Peru this weeks offers a unique opportunity. While China’s massive investments in infrastructure are much-needed, they come with huge risks. The World Bank can reduce those by working with these new efforts—with all their capital—to apply the Bank’s experience in protecting the environment and local communities.
In the final stages of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, the U.S. is still pushing for the elimination of safeguards to regulate capital inflows and capital flight. Those controls have mitigated past crises and prevent others in economies that for decades have been buffeted by financial instability.