Will China become Latin America’s new partner for infrastructure?

A summit of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) took place in Fortaleza, Brazil on July 2014.

President Xi took advantage of his trip to Brazil by visiting Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba as well. This brief takes a look at the agreements that China signed with these four countries. We identified a strong focus on infrastructure, energy and transport in the 120 agreements that were signed within a week.

China’s ties to Latin America are becoming stronger. Chinese trade with Latin America reached over $261 billion in 2013. Beijing has also ramped up investment in the region to about 20% of its total foreign direct investment of $90 billion last year. Today China has become Brazil’s biggest trade partner. Trade between these two nations was $83.3 billion in 2013 compared to from $3.2 billion in 2002 with commodities representing the main Brazilian exports.

Key points:

● The BRICS countries announced the set up a new $50 billion development bank, to be based in Shanghai with the goal to reach $100 billion.

● President Xi Jinping also proposed to the creation of a new $20-billion infrastructure fund for Latin America.

● During President Xi Jinping’s visit, the Government of China also signed 120 bilateral cooperation agreements.

The following table we review key elements of the agreements signed with Brazil (54), Venezuela (38), Argentina (19) and Cuba (9).

In the next weeks, Nivela will publish further analysis about the BRICS new development bank.

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