Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in Latin America is growing faster than any other country according to a report released this week by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). Total investment flows to the region topped $113 billion in 2010—40 percent more than in 2009—with China contributing about 9 percent of the total. The report also revealed that 90 percent of China’s investments targeted natural resource extraction industries.
In an interview in the latest edition of Americas Quarterly (AQ), Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Li Jinzhan says China and Latin American governments “are both committed to using their strengths and tapping their potential so as to become business partners of mutual benefit and promote their common development.”
While analysts have long noted China’s growing presence in the region, the ECLAC report and AQ interview highlight the already high level of Chinese investment and the growing strategic importance of the trading relationship. Among China’s biggest purchases in the region are zinc from Peru, copper from Chile and iron ore from Brazil. China, in turn, ships electronics to Brazil, buses to Cuba, clothes to Mexico, and cars to Peru.