Beyond Commerce: China’s Impact on Ethics and Development in Latin America

On June 8, the Inter-American Dialogue, the Johns Hopkins SAIS Foreign Policy Institute, and the China-Latin America Sustainable Investments Initiative will hold a private roundtable meeting to examine China’s evolving South-South narrative and what it means for the Latin American region.

China’s rise and its growing importance for Latin America and the Caribbean is most commonly measured in terms of trade growth, foreign direct investment, the size of its outgoing aid and loans, and corporate acquisitions. While quantitative studies contribute extensively to our understanding of the relationship, we perceive an urgent need to pay greater attention to the effects of Chinese policy on governments, the environment, agriculture, businesses and the public in the region. South-south relations have been subsumed into President Xi’s “community of common destiny for mankind” and are part of China’s bold global connectivity initiative, BRI. The ideas promoted by China’s leadership are of particular consequence for Latin America and other developing regions, where social harmony and sustainable development are at a global low and further threatened by larger phenomena such as climate change, displacement of labor, inequality and corruption.