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The New Banks in Town: Chinese Finance in Latin America

By Kevin Gallagher, Amos Irwin, and Katherine Koleski
February 16, 2012







In their Inter-American Dialogue report, “The New Banks in Town: Chinese Finance in Latin America,” Kevin Gallagher, Amos Irwin, and Katherine Koleski offer the first comprehensive summary of China’s lending practices in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). The authors provide estimates of the volume, composition, and characteristics of Chinese lending to the region since 2005, offer comparisons to international and Western lending institutions, and examine some commonly held notions about Chinese loans to LAC. These include claims that China’s loans have less favorable terms than those of international financial institutions (IFIs) and Western banks, that Chinese lending carries few policy conditions, and that Chinese lenders impose less stringent environmental guidelines than their Western counterparts. The report lends credence to some of these claims, but less so to others.