Latin American trade with China has grown exponentially since 2000. From insignificant amounts, trade with China now constitutes 13 percent of Latin America’s total global trade. Major loans and investments also add to China’s growing role in the region’s economy. China has become an important alternative for capital, trade and technology for Latin America, but without the policy conditionality that regional governments have traditionally experienced in relations with developed countries. China’s growing economic role has been welcomed by Latin America’s political classes, and China has advocated for a ‘comprehensive and cooperative relationship.’ However, some critics observe that economic relations with China have only benefited Latin America’s commodity exporters while its manufacturers have struggled to compete. Others have raised concerns that China may use its growing role to press Latin American states to roll back gains made on labor, environmental, and human rights to favor Chinese investors. Yet others have suggested that China enables some political leaders in the region to pursue policies that undermine democracy and contribute to political instability. As part of a project on China-Latin American relations at the Brookings Institution, Harold Trinkunas assesses how China’s growing economic relations actually influence politics and policies across the region. Trinkunas will be joined in conversation with Shorenstein APARC Fellow Thomas Fingar.
Harold Trinkunas joined FSI’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) in the concomitant role of Senior Research Scholar and Associate Director for Research. Trinkunas comes to CISAC from the Brookings Institution, where he was the Charles W. Robinson Chair and Senior Fellow as well as Director of the Latin America Initiative. Previously, he served as Chair of the National Security Affairs Department at the Naval Postgraduate School, where he was also an Associate Professor. One of the nation's leading Latin America specialists, Trinkunas' work has examined civil-military relations, ungoverned spaces, terrorist financing, emerging power dynamics, and global governance. His newest book, Aspirational Power: Brazil's Long Road to Global Influence, co-authored with David Mares of UCSD, was published this summer by Brookings Institution Press. Born and raised in Venezuela, Trinkunas earned his doctorate in political science from Stanford University in 1999 and has been a predoctoral fellow and later a visiting professor at CISAC.
Thomas Fingar is the Shorenstein APARC Fellow in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. From 2005 to 2008, he served concurrently as the first deputy director of national intelligence for analysis and as chairman of the National Intelligence Council. He served previously as assistant secretary of the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (2004–2005), principal deputy assistant secretary (2001–2003), deputy assistant secretary for analysis (1994–2000), director of the Office of Analysis for East Asia and the Pacific (1989–1994), and chief of the China Division (1986–1989). Fingar’s most recent books are The New Great Game: China and South and Central Asia in the Era of Reform (Stanford University Press, 2016); and Uneasy Partnership: China and Japan, the Koreas, and Russia in the Age of Reform (Stanford University Press, 2017, forthcoming).
This event is part of the winter colloquia series entitled "China: Going Global" sponsored by Shorenstein APARC's China Program.
China: Going Global
Beijing’s new Silk Road initiative links old trade corridors from Asia to Africa and Europe. Many perceive that President Xi Jinping’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative as well as China’s many other trade, investment and finance projects transcend their economic calculus and reflect Beijing’s geopolitical ambitions to reposition China’s standing on the global stage. The China Program brings leading experts to explore the drivers and motivators of China’s international initiatives, their reach and scope as well as the implications of China’s increasing activism on the world stage.