In 2013, President Xi Jinping delivered a speech announcing one of China’s most ambitious commercial projects: the Silk Road. Also known as “Belt and Road” this project expands the Chinese presence in the world, strengthening business ties with all continents, including Africa and Latin America.
The new silk route is a transport project that aims to emulate the commercial success that China’s millenary trade exchange with the world meant. This project includes a land transport route to reach Europe, a sea route to trade with Asia and Africa, as well as a transoceanic route.
The transoceanic route interests Latin America because it will cross the Pacific Ocean to connect the region with the Asian giant.
China expansion contrasts with the recent hostile policy of the United States, which in the present administration has distanced itself from some key trading partners.
Asian expansion timeline
Panama was the first Latin American country to join the Chinese initiative. Uruguay, Ecuador, Venezuela, Chile, Uruguay, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Cuba, and Peru is the last one, despite US warnings about the Asian giant.
Without the Silk Road, Chinese development banks loaned $ 150,000 million in 12 years over the past twelve years. This number is likely to increase with the commercial initiative that recently incorporated Peru.
“China has established itself as Peru’s main trading partner, and we are confident that the relations between the two countries will be further deepened thanks to the cooperation initiatives that can be developed within the framework of the Silk Road,” said the minister. Foreign Trade and Tourism of Peru, Edgar Vásquez, within the framework of a global forum on the commercial initiative that was held in Beijing.
Chile announced in November that it would join the initiative, a striking fact considering that Chile is an ally of the United States. However, China has also become the leading trading partner of this South American country. The Chilean Minister of Commerce, Roberto Ampuero, said that the agreement opened “tremendous prospects,” mainly in terms of infrastructure.
“We want to transform Chile into a true business center for Chinese companies, so that you can, from Chile, also reach all of Latin America,” Piñera said during the Beijing meeting.