Working Group on Development
China in Latin America:
By Rebecca Ray, Kevin P. Gallagher, Andres Lopez, and Cynthia Sanborn
Latin America's recent China-led economic boom was associated with significant environmental degradation and social conflict. Latin American exports to China — the fastest growing export destination over the past decade — were twice as carbon intensive and three times as water intensive as general economic activity in the region. What is more, Chinese firms investing in Latin America have generated a series of social and environmental challenges.
These are the findings of the new report, "China in Latin America: Lessons for South-South Cooperation and Sustainable Development" – a multi-university effort coordinated by Boston University’s Global Economic Governance Initiative (GEGI) with the Center for Transformation Research (CENIT) in Argentina, the Research Center of the University of the Pacific (CIUP) in Peru, and Tufts University’s Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE). The report is a synthesis of eight country studies on the social and environmental impacts of China in Latin America, including analyses of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, and Peru.
The synthesis report, being released this week in Washington, found that Latin American governments and Chinese firms largely fell short of mitigating the negative impacts of trade and investment during the recent boom. That said, researchers found significant instances of innovative approaches by Latin American governments and Chinese companies alike.
It is imperative that Latin American governments put in place the necessary policies to ensure that economic activity in natural resource sectors is managed in an environmentally responsible and socially inclusive manner. Chinese firms should also upgrade their sensitivities to social and environmental concerns in order to maintain the positive public image and to maintain the profitability of their overseas activities.
This web page is hosted by the Global Development and Environment
Institute (GDAE) at Tufts University in the United States, one of the
sponsors of the Working Group.
For additional information about GDAE, see GDAE's Globalization and Sustainable Development Program. Learn more about GDAE’s previous work on China and Latin America