Summary of The China Triangle

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  • Comprehensive
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China is a crucial trading partner for Latin America. China invested billions in Latin American infrastructure development and provided a market for Latin American resources that fueled a boom from 2003 to 2013. Professor Kevin P. Gallagher’s report provides a thoughtful introduction to China’s relationship with Latin America. His book is a quick read, with a strong overview in the first chapter and data and examples in subsequent chapters. Though always politically neutral, getAbstract recommends Gallagher’s insights to investors and executives with interests in trade, natural resources, China or Latin America.

About the Author

A professor of global development policy at Boston University’s Frederick S. Pardee School for Global Studies, Kevin P. Gallagher co-directs the Global Economic Governance Initiative.



Outside Forces

Around the end of the 19th century, six million European emigrants headed for Latin America. Chinese immigrants came, too, mostly to work on the construction of the Panama Canal. Today, China is investing billions in the Twin Ocean Railroad Connection that will link the Atlantic coast of Brazil to Peru’s Pacific shores and in the construction of a canal crossing Nicaragua. These projects will expedite Latin America’s exports of commodities to China and quicken the pace at which it imports from China.

The “China Boom” in Latin America stretched from 2003 to 2013 and then dwindled. Latin American resources supported Chinese development as Latin America enjoyed its fastest economic growth in decades. This helped buffer the damage caused in Latin America by the so-called “Washington Consensus” – which prescribed removing regional governments from business to unleash the power of the markets to bring prosperity. China’s presence also helped the region’s recovery from the global financial crisis of 2008.

Historical Development

Three stages marked Latin America’s economic development from the late 1800s to 2000:

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