On February 26th, the Dialogue’s China Program organized an event for the release of our newest findings on Chinese finance in Latin America. Despite slowing economic growth in China, the country’s banks remain a primary source of finance for certain Latin American nations. Multi-billion dollar loans, primarily for infrastructure, energy, and mining projects, are still being funneled to the region’s more fragile economies. With billions more promised by the end of the decade, what does Chinese finance mean for the region? Are Chinese loans facilitating critical infrastructure development? What will mounting debt to China mean for Venezuela and Ecuador?
Kevin Gallagher, visiting scholar from Boston University at John Hopkins University’s School for Advanced International Studies, co-author of The New Banks in Town: Chinese Finance in Latin America, and co-creator of the Dialogue’s China-Latin America Finance Database, examined the volume, composition, and characteristics of China’s loans to Latin America in 2014. We also welcomed Geoff Dyer, reporter and former Brazil and China bureau chief for the Financial Times, and Haibing Zhang, deputy director of the Institute for Economic Comparative Studies at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, for a wide-ranging discussion on the implications of China’s overseas finance.