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U.S. Official Comments on Chinese Engagement in Latin America
Date: Thursday, September 22 2005

21 September 2005

U.S. Official Comments on Chinese Engagement in Latin America
State's Shapiro notes China's growing economic and political exchanges

China increasingly is engaged economically and politically in Latin America, and this engagement should enhance -- not impair -- U.S. ties to the region, says Charles Shapiro, principal deputy assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs.

In September 20 testimony before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Shapiro outlined the role of China in Latin America and the likely diplomatic, political and economic consequences.

The United States sees two major trends in China's engagement with Latin America, Shapiro said. These trends are increased trade and investment in the region to fuel China's domestic development, and efforts to match this growing economic engagement with political influence.


Shapiro pointed out that China increasingly has engaged the rest of the world, including Latin America, to fuel its rapid economic development. As part of its efforts to secure inputs and markets, Chinese imports from Latin America reached $22 billion in 2004 and are up 16 percent in the first half of 2005. Similarly, China's exports to the region reached $18 billion in 2004 and are up 32 percent in the first half of 2005.

Another important element of China's economic engagement in the region is China's efforts to secure reliable access to petroleum products, Shapiro told legislators.

However, even though China has expanded commercial ties with Latin America and is an important new investor in the region, U.S. trade and investment in the Americas continues to dwarf that of China.

U.S. trade with the region exceeded $445 billion in 2004, 10 times China's level, Shapiro said. He noted that Latin America's exports to the United States are up 10 percent and imports from the U.S. are up 15 percent in the first half of 2005 compared to 2004 levels. And whereas Chinese investment in the region is approximately $8.3 billion, U.S. investment in Latin America is more than $300 billion, the State Department official said.

This article comes from Vive Le Canada

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