China to surpass the U.S. as top LatAm trading partner

Mar 21, 2014

Latin America’s trade with China will surpass that of the continent with Europe in two years, according to a United Nations study, with some predicting it will eclipse its trade with the U.S. within two decades.

Chinese investment in the continent’s energy and infrastructure sectors is rising rapidly, with more than $550 billion in infrastructure projects in the market.

A study by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean predicts China will surpass the European Union as Latin America’s second-largest trading partner in 2016. Some estimates forecast that in 15 years, China will overtake the U.S. to become Latin America’s largest trade partner, according to an article by Peter Hakim and Margaret Myers in China Policy Review, a magazine of the State Council.

Trade between China and Latin America grew 8 per cent to $255.5 billion in 2012, faster than the 6.2 per cent growth of the continent’s trade with the U.S., according to the International Monetary Fund. Preliminary estimates are that 2013 trade between Latin America and China will top $280 billion.

China is already the biggest trading partner of Brazil, Chile and Peru. Its trade with Brazil grew 10 per cent last year to $83.3 billion, according to the Brazilian Ministry of Commerce.