Trade relations between Latin America and China have expanded significantly based on comparative advantages: China is relatively lacking in natural resources and has a huge labor force, while in Latin America the situation is the other way around.
An exclusive document from ConnectAmericas, “China: A Unique Opportunity for LAC Businesses (link in Spanish),” describes the scope and nature of these relations in detail.
- Trade between the two parties increased almost ninefold since 2003 and reached US$255 billion in 2014. Bilateral trade grew at an average annual rate of 20% over that period, while Latin America’s total trade with the rest of the world grew by 9%.
- Exports from Latin America and the Caribbean to China passed the US$85 billion mark in 2014 and have grown at a steady annual rate of 18% since 2003. Despite its distance from Latin America, China is the second largest export market for the region as a whole. Exports remain highly concentrated in the primary sector (which accounted for 52% of the total in 2014), although there are beginning to be some signs of diversification.
- Imports from China represent around two-thirds of total bilateral trade between the two parties and reached US$170 million in 2014 after growing at an average annual rate of 21% since 2003. Approximately 17% of Latin America’s imports come from China. These are concentrated in the manufacturing sector (96%) and products with high technology content account for a particularly large share (40%).
For more information on the Chinese economy and the possibilities it holds for Latin America and the Caribbean, see “China: A Unique Opportunity for LAC Businesses (link in Spanish).”