US attention to war in Ukraine opens space for Chinese influence in Latin America – News

THE China became the main trading partner of Latin America in recent years with large investments in various economic sectors, which contributes to increasing its influence in the region.

The Asian country is increasingly looking to the outside world and competes in many sectors with other major powers. In addition, it manages to project itself to the whole world through its technology companies, which range from cutting-edge social networks and smartphones to the 5G network, the fifth generation of high-speed mobile internet and which is being implemented in several countries. .

Historically closely linked to the politics of United StatesLatin American countries are now increasingly strengthening their ties with the Chinese government, while the White House turns its eyes to Russia and Ukraine, in the face of war tensions, and to Europe, with issues involving NATO (Organization of the North Atlantic Treaty).


Alana Camoça, professor of the international relations course at UFRJ (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro), believes that Latin America is a space for dispute between China and the United States.

“Since the George Bush administration (2001-2008), US foreign policy has turned to the Middle East, which has created a political vacuum in Latin America and accelerated the rise of China in the region. American attention to Latin Americans only returned after the Obama administration (2009-2017)”, says Alana.

The professor of the ESPM international relations course Ricardo Leães adds: “The US leaves Latin America aside and only looks at us again when they realize that there is really a risk of losing influence. That was in the 2000s with the Iraq war and it happens again now, with your concerns focused on the war in Ukraine.”


Summit of the Americas

The Summit of the Americas, held in the US city of Los Angeles last week, was an indication that the relationship between the US and many countries on the continent is no longer the same.

President Joe Biden decided on the eve of the opening that he would not invite representatives from Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua to the meeting, a situation that generated the discontent of other invited leaders.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced that he would not attend the summit because he disagreed with the stance adopted by the White House. For the same reason, Bolivia and Honduras also announced that they would boycott the event.


In a speech, Argentine President Alberto Fernández said that hosting the event does not allow the country to exclude participants, and the Belizean prime minister called the Biden administration’s attitude “inexcusable”.


“Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, in addition to seeing China as an important political partner, have historical disagreements with the United States, which contributes to the advancement of Chinese influence”, explains Professor Alana.

For the expert, the United States is trying to strengthen ties with Latin America through international summits and meetings between leaders. Washington should also pay more attention to Colombia and Brazil due to this year’s presidential elections, which could influence the commercial and political partnership between the governments.


Comercial relations

Data from the Ministry of Economy show that China surpasses the United States in export and import values ​​both in the first months of 2022 and in comparison with the same period in 2021. Brazilian exports to the Asian country are more than twice was sold to the American market in May.

Exports from Brazil to China, Hong Kong and Macau in May totaled US$8.53 billion. Imports reached 4.67 billion dollars. In the period from January to May this year, compared to the same period last year, sales increased by 1.4% and reached 38.13 billion dollars and imports grew by 29.8% and totaled 23.62 billion dollars.

On the other hand, Brazilian exports to the United States in May totaled 3.09 billion dollars, while imports reached 4.88 billion dollars. From January to May this year, compared to the same period in 2021, exports to the United States reached a value of 13.60 billion dollars and imports totaled 20.67 billion dollars.


The biggest economy in the world


A Bloomberg estimate published in February this year points out that China is set to overtake the US to become the world’s largest economy in about a decade, but also indicates that the outcome is far from guaranteed.

“Even if China becomes the largest economy in the world, in terms of influence the US still has other very significant spheres of power, such as the political point of view.
and cultural, in addition to military power, a position that the Chinese are still very far away from”, points out Camoça.

For Leães, “the influence of one country over the other is not just due to commercial issues. Even if China expands in economic terms, there is still the challenge of expanding this influence in other areas that are important, so that a country can truly consolidate itself as a great power.”


About Abhishek Pratap

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