Shifter: “We have seen the United States increasingly withdrawn from the region and a lot of attention being diverted elsewhere”

Shifter in CGTN CGTN

Michael Shifter, President of the Inter-American Dialogue, was interviewed by CGTN about the relations between China and Latin American countries. The conversation covered a wide array of topics ranging from the recent bilateral meetings that Chinese President Xi Jinping held with Argentine President Alberto Fernandez and Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso, as well as the stark contrast between Chinese and US influence in the Americas.

Comments from Michael Shifter:

"The conventional thinking a couple of years ago was that China wasn't going to do anything in Latin America that would risk its relationship with the United States. However, we have seen the United States increasingly withdrawn from the region and a lot of attention being diverted elsewhere. Another aspect that should be considered is what is happening internally in the United States; this is where the change has been most significant in terms of this deterioration of the political system, dysfunctionality of government, polarization, and inequalities. These elements have taken a toll and they have implications about the capacity of the United States to project a coherent foreign policy overall, and to be deeply engaged in Latin America and the Caribbean."

"Now the United States obviously sees China's expanding presence and influence in the region with some concern, especially in the high tech sectors. The US government is concerned about privacy issues and they're trying to compete more effectively."

"On the one hand there is the Development Finance Corporation and on the other the idea of the Build Back Better World. There is there an interest and an intention, from the United States, to be more engaged economically in the region. However, the US government is not going to be able to match the resources from China."

"I would underscore that China still does not have as much economic leverage in Mexico as the United States does. There are very deep ties and some 80% of Mexico's trade goes to the United States. And that is also true with Central America and the Caribbean. There is a distinction between North America and also South America, where the United States is becoming much much less engaged and influential, so that opens the way for China and other actors as well."


Watch the full interview at CGTN.

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