Major and Classification
Economics and International Relations
Carol Wise, Ph.D.
Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, Sciences
“China’s Courtship of Chile: Implications for the Sino-Latin American-U.S. Triangle”
China’s economic reform and opening to the rest of the world has successfully pushed it forward as a global power during the past two decades. Aside from China’s annual average 10 percent growth rate, President Hu Juntao’s official visit to Latin America in 2004 and his signing of multiple economic and political accords with different Latin American countries, signaled to the world of China’s emergence as a global actor. The U.S. has long dominated Latin America and these actions on the part of China constitute a new chapter in China’s relations with the Western Hemisphere. This paper contributes to the overall understanding of an emergent Sino-Latin American-U.S. triangle. It offers an in-depth analysis of Sino-Chilean relations, emphasizing the economic ties between the two countries before and after the signing of the 2006 China-Chile Free Trade Agreement (FTA). This analysis is supplemented by a comparison of U.S.-Chilean relations in order to evaluate the implications of Sino-Latin American relations. Four major trends from this research emerge out of this relationship: 1) Sino-Chilean relations auger a positive trend in Sino-Latin American relations overall; 2) Chile serves as a model for Latin American countries to establish economic and political relations with large powers and to exploit the dynamic gains from trade; 3) Chile’s geographical diversification of trade and adoption of trade policies with China demonstrates a decline of U.S. prominence in Latin America; 4) China’s presence in Latin America, while still in its infancy, may pose a significant threat to U.S. interests in the region. The final part of this paper is dedicated to prescribing a new U.S. economic and political policy framework in the Western Hemisphere that takes into account the China factor.