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Former Spanish president warns on China’s growing influence in Latinamerica

Thursday, March 25th 2010 - 05:47 UTC
Full article 6 comments
Felipe González admits Beijing also helps to counter US influence Felipe González admits Beijing also helps to counter US influence

Former Spanish president Felipe González and several experts in economics and politics warned about the growing influence of China in Latin America, which nevertheless could also help to balance the international scenario according to a forum held in New York University sponsored by the Euro-America Foundation.

“China in Latinamerica behaves completely different from how it acts in Africa and its decisions are political-strategic besides economic”, said Socialist Gonzalez adding that Beijing knows that in the region it must look for local partners for their investments, “contrary to what happens in Africa”.

Economics Professor from NY University David Denoon coincided with Gonzales and said that in 2004 China launched an investment campaign in Latinamerica which currently absorbs 30% of its overseas investments.

“Even when the US and European Union have bigger relations with Latin America, China is growing fast and is quickly rebalancing the equation”, said Denoon who added that investments are accompanied by “a great effort in promoting influence in the region”.

Denoon admitted being impressed by the multiple trade accords signed by Beijing in the region in just five years as with the intelligence centres is has opened in Cuba and the hydrocarbons, arms and air and space industry accords signed with Venezuela.

The economist also pointed out to the tremendous efforts from Beijing “to eradicate Taiwan from the international stage”, since in Latinamerica are 12 of the only 16 countries in the world that recognize Taipei sovereignty.

However Denoon also admits that it is in Latin America’s interest to have closer links with China, among other motives because of the sustained potential demand for commodities and the alternative to US political influence in the region.

Political sciences professor Christopher Mitchell from the NY University also agreed that China’s influence advances at “gigantic strides” but warned that both sides face a tremendous problem which are the social inequities, but this is particularly severe in Latin America “which has the largest social gaps in the world”.

Regarding Latin America’s relations with the rest of the world, Gonzalez recalled that regional GDP per capita is 2.5 times higher that in China and therefore so its purchasing potential for which the US “has a greater commercial link potential” with the region.

“These facts are partly ignored because among other reasons different influences are changing the world, particularly from China, which is a demographic, military, economic and savings capacity leading power” and therefore must be taken into account when drafting a new financial system to avoid a new crisis like the current one the world is suffering.

Gonzalez in a rather pessimistic outlook said that currently there are no proposals for this “new model”, unless some emerging regressive alternatives of past utopias such as those “like the XXI century Socialism preached from Venezuela and accompanied by several regional countries” are taken into account.

As to the current world crisis the Spanish politician said that “it might sound dramatic but we are before one of the last chances to make a real reform to the financial system which could save it”. He regretted profoundly that many global leaders still believe in the “invisible hand of the market which can self regulate, in spite of the brutal display which forced the massive intervention of governments impacted by the crisis”.

“I honestly think we are simply hatching the following crisis” and if the European Union and the US don’t leave aside moralizing speeches that have no interest and offer a true reform with global governance elements and a clearly defined regulatory framework, “the next crisis will be the crisis of the system”.

Top Comments

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  • geo

    Spain's Q4 2009
    exports : 62.431 $ millions ...imports : 84.513 $ millions...

    China 's Q4 2009
    exports : 354.945 $ millions...imports : 293.738 $ millions...

    they can't do any “ tv” programs about Latin America becouse
    they are blushing on above numbers !

    Mar 25th, 2010 - 07:21 am 0
  • globetrotter

    These are only figures geo. The main reason for the high value of exports, lies in those goods made by US and European companies based in China. China does not have the capacity to produce anything of quality and which will find buyers in the US or Europe. With this, I am talking of “home grown” products.

    Mar 25th, 2010 - 12:04 pm 0
  • geo

    globetrotter ; being of a “ home grown ” products country is an utopia and unrealistic and irrational today ! but few resister countries in the of them is France who try to produce everything ,of course they have their own limits with poor financial capacity..can not make everything at optimum scales . China's strategical mentality is far from other ones means that not like Europe and USA's experiments as before ..
    sometimes the perspectives of companies might be misleading !!..above numbers very very important should finance the how !?...China has huge international reserves !!

    Mar 25th, 2010 - 02:42 pm 0
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