China–Latin America: Much in Common ZHANG MINGDE
in the world economy,
including the financial and currency turbulence caused by the debt
crisis in the West, could
affect both sides. Other
challenges include the
severe disparity in development bet ween the
North and the South;
the rising pressure of
inflation in China and
Latin America fueled in
part by the rising prices
of international commodities; the excess of
and the huge cross-border inflow and outflow of funds.
China and Latin American countries are also facing
shifts in their industrial structure caused by the integration in the global economy and the challenge of
building infrastructure to meet new needs.
To further develop China–Latin America relations,
both sides need to work hard to increase pragmatic
economic and trade cooperation and to expand social
and people-to-people exchanges. That will help consolidate political relations.
China and Latin America also need to train a new
pool of technical professionals in areas such as economic and trade cooperation to match the demands of
their relationships. These professionals must be knowledgeable in policies, guidelines and economic and trade
rules. And, as with any educational effort, both sides
must work to retain those new professionals. Preventing brain drain is as important as boosting the levels
of education in science and technology.
Both China and Latin America need to be strategic
in promoting their economic and trade cooperation.
Their cooperation will contribute to economic growth
for all sides.
To this end, governments should pay particular attention to creating the space to develop new trade diversity and expanding areas of cooperation. Adhering
to the principle of mutual benefit, they should adopt
different means of cooperation.
To be candid, China–Latin America economic and
trade cooperation is both complementary and compet-
itive. But when differences over specific cases emerge,
both sides must seek to address them through dia-
logue and friendly con-
sultation. We should not
allow narrow disagree-
ments or frictions to dis-
rupt our overall bilateral
economic and trade rela-
tions. Trade protection-
ism is not the solution to
problems and will only
undermine our coopera-
tion. As part of this, when
Chinese enterprises mke
invest in Latin American
countries, they should
take greater account of
social responsibility and
make greater efforts to
integrate in local development.
Our economic and trade
relations do not pose any
threat to the interests
of the United States and
European countries in
Zhang Mingde is professor of diplomatic policy at the
Shanghai Institutes for International Studies in China.
Americas Quarterly WINTER 2012