The Geopolitical Factor of Belt and Road Initiative in Latin America

The cases of Brazil and Mexico

  • Miguel Angel Montoya Full time professor at the School of Business, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico. Phd in Economics, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain http://orcid.org/0000-0002-5545-6334
  • Daniel Lemus Professor at the School of Government and Social Sciences, Guadalajara Campus, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico. Ph.D. in Transpacific International Relations, University of Colima http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1002-5319
  • Evodio Kaltenecker Professor at the School of Business of the Monterrey Institute of Technology, Campus Guadalajara, Mexico. Ph.D. in Strategy and Internationalization of Multinational Companies, University of São Paulo, Brazil. http://orcid.org/0000-0002-6431-5007

Abstract

In the context of Chinese growing influence in Latin America, the purpose of this paper is to analyze how geopolitical factors impact the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) implementation within the region. Specifically, this paper illuminates how Brazil and Mexico, the two largest economies in Latin America, have different predispositions towards their relationships with China. Through the review of secondary sources, this paper sets the background to analyze the geopolitical factor of the BRI in Latin America, which is complemented by the use of international databases to contrast how the US factor has molded the relationships between these countries. Finally, a comparative case study method is used to illustrate how geopolitics have influenced the Chinese investment possibilities in both economies. Although China's presence in Latin America through investments, trade, loans, and official development aid, has grown, we conclude that the United States influence is still a relevant factor to understand the differences between bilateral relationships amongst Brazil-China, and Mexico-China. This particular finding emphasizes the importance of geopolitics on BRI’s implementation in Latin America.

References

Agnew, J. (2003). Geopolitics: Re-visioning World Politics. London: Routledge.

Agnew, J. and Corbridge, S. (1995). Mastering Space: Hegemony, Territory and International Political Economy. London: Routledge.

Anguiano, E. (2019). Las vinculaciones de México con China y Estados Unidos. Economía UNAM, 16(46), 144-156.

Barbosa, R. (2011). Connecting American and Brazilian Interests”. The American Interest. Retrieved from https://www.the-american-interest.com/2011/07/01/connecting-american-and-brazilian-interests/

Barragan, S. (2017, November 22). China reclama a México 11 mil millones por cancelación del Tren México-Querétaro, Aristegui Noticias. Retrieved from https://aristeguinoticias.com/2211/mexico/china-reclama-a-mexico-11-mil-millones-por-cancelacion-del-tren-mexico-queretaro/

Cairo, H. (1993). Elementos para una geopolítica crítica: tradición y cambio en una disciplina maldita. Eria, 31(1), 195-213.

Chatzky, A. and McBride, J. (2019). China’s Massive Belt and Road Initiative. Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved from https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/chinas-massive-belt-and-road-initiative.

Chávez, N. (2014). Latin America, United States and China: Strategic Continental Relations. In A. Bonilla and P. Milet (Ed.), Latin America, The Caribbean and China: Sub-regional Strategic Scenarios, (pp. 73-102). San José, Costa Rica: FLACSO.

Cohen, S.B. (2015). Geopolitics: The Geography of International Relations. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield.

Covarrubias, A. (2016). Containing Brazil: Mexico's Response to the Rise of Brazil. Bulletin Latin American Research, 35(1), 49-63. doi:10.1111/blar.12412

Danilovich, M. (2018). The ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ in the discourses of the Central Asian states: political rhetoric of growth and academic prognostication. Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, 16(3), 293-313. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/14765284.2018.1482090

Dodds, K.J. (2004). Global Geopolitics: A Critical Introduction. London: Routledge.

Downie, E. (2017 January 24). The Dragon Mart Fiasco Still Haunts China-Mexico Relations. The Diplomat. Retrieved from https://thediplomat.com/2017/01/the-dragon-mart-fiasco-still-haunts-china-mexico-relations/

Dussel, E. (2018) Chinese Infrastructure Projects in Mexico: General Context and Two Case Studies. In, E. Dussel, A. Armony and S. Cui (Ed.), Building Development for a New Era. China´s Infrastructure Projects in Latin America and the Caribbean (pp. 58-76). México, D.F: Red Académica de América Latina y el Caribe sobre China.

Dussel Peters, E. (2019). China’s Foreign Direct Investment in Latin America and The Caribbean: Conditions and Challenges. Ciudad de México: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

Erthal, A. and Gonzalez, A. (2018). Trans-Regional Cooperation in a Multipolar World: How is the Belt and Road Initiative Relevant to Latin America? Working paper, LSE Global South Unit. London: The London School of Economics and Political Since.

Fernandes, G., Cunha, A., Celorio, G., Mabire, B. and Valenzuela, J. (2018). La política exterior de Dilma Rousseff y Enrique Peña Nieto (2011-2015). La equidistancia protocolaria del eje Mariachi-Bossa Nova. Foro internacional, 58(2), 313-342.

Flint, C. (2012). Introduction to Geopolitics. London: Routledge.

Freitas da Rocha, F. y Bielschowsky, R. (2018), La búsqueda de China de Recursos Naturales en América Latina. Revista de la CEPAL, 126, 9-29.

Gao, C. (2018, January 24). China Says Latin America 'Eager' to Join Belt and Road China invites Latin American and Caribbean states to join the Belt and Road Initiative. The Diplomat. Retrieved from https://thediplomat.com/2018/01/china-says-latin-america-eager-to-join-belt-and-road/

Guajardo, J. (2016). A Latin America Perspective on China’s Growing Presence in the Region. In R. Roett and G. Paz, (Eds.), Latin America and the Asian Giants: Evolving Ties with China and India (pp. 68-74). Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press.

González, J. (2012). Las relaciones China-México; cuatro decenios de aprendizaje mutuo y perspectivas futuras. Comercio Exterior, 62(1), 28-37.

González, J., Mendoza, J.E. and Zhang, J. (2015). The impact of China on Mexico-USA Relations: Economic Evolution and Strategic Possibilities. Análisis Económico, 75(30), 29-43.

Habib, K., Hamelin, L., and Wenzel, H. (2016). A dynamic perspective of the geopolitical supply risk of metals. Journal of Cleaner Production, 133, 850-858.

Hey, J. and Mora, F.O. (2003), The Theoretical Challenge to Latin American and Caribbean Foreign Policy Studies. In J. Hey and F.O. Mora (Eds.), Latin American and Caribbean Foreign Policy (pp. 10-17). Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Huntington, S. (2004). Who Are We?: The Challenges to America's National Identity. London: Simon & Schuster.

Jin, X. (2015). The Political Conflicts and its Implications of Dragon Mart, Cancun in Mexico, Journal of International Studies, 36(1), 74-90.

Kaltencker, E. (2018). The Chinese rise in Latin America: The cases of Mexico and Brazil. Retrieved from https://evodiokaltenecker.com/the-chinese-rise-in-latin-america-the-cases-of-mexico-and-brazil/

Kaplan, R.D. (2012). The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and Battle Against Fate. New York: Random House.

Koop, F. (2019, October 1). Los trenes chinos avanzan lentamente en América Latina. Diálogo chino. Retrieved from https://dialogochino.net/30573-chinese-rail-advances-slowly-in-latin-america/?lang=es

Kopf, D. (2019, August 8). Mexico is finally the US’s number-one trading partner. QUARTZ, Retrieved
from https://qz.com/1682861/mexico-is-now-americas-number-one-trading-partner/

Lemus-Delgado, D. and Bravo, J. (2017). Geopolitics, Real and Imagined Spaces: China and Foreign Policy in the Context of East Asia, International Journal of China Studies, 8(3), 393-417.

Lin, S. (2014, November 18). Why Does Mexico Suddenly ‘Treacherously’ Cancel the High Speed Railway Contract with China? Guancha. Retrieved from: http://www.guancha.cn/LinShuYou/2014_11_08_284255_s.shtml.

Liu, W. and Dunford, M. (2016). Inclusive globalization: unpacking China's Belt and Road Initiative. Area Development and Policy, 1(3), 323-340. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/23792949.2016.1232598

López, J.C. (2013, March 14). Dragon Mart Cancun. Retrieved from
http://www.economia.unam.mx/deschimex/cechimex/chmxExtras/documentos/actividades/Dragonmart/Juan_Carlos_Lopez_R.pdf

Loveman, B. (2010). No Higher Law: American Foreign Policy and the Western Hemisphere since 1776. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press.

Naji S. and Jawan, J.A. (2011), The US Geopolitical Codes and Its Influences on the US-Iran Relations: The Case of George W. Bush’s Presidency. Journal of Political and Law, 4(1), 231-244. doi: 10.5539/jpl.v4n1p231.

Narins, T. P. (2016). Evaluating Chinese Economic Engagement in Africa versus Latin America. Geography Compass, 10(7), 283-292. doi: 10.1111/gec3.12270.

Navarrete, J.E. (2016). Algunas ideas para reanimar el diálogo político bilateral. En E. Dussel (Coordinador), La relación México-China. Desempeño y propuestas para 2016-2018 (pp. 18-21). México, D.F.: Unión de Universidades de América Latina y el Caribe.

Neto, O. A. and Malamud, A. (2015). What Determines Foreign Policy in Latin America? Systemic versus Domestic Factors in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico, 1946–2008. Latin American Politics and Society 57(1), 1-27. doi:10.1111/j.1548-2456.2015.00286.x

Niu, H. (2018). A Strategic Analysis of Chinese Infrastructure Projects in Latin America and The Caribbean. In, E. Dussel, A. Armony and S. Cui (Eds.), Building Development for a New Era. China´s Infrastructure Projects in Latin America and the Caribbean (pp. 180-193). México, D.F: Red Académica de América Latina y el Caribe sobre China.

Maldonado, M. (2019, May 3) AMLO Cierra la puerta a la inversión china. El Universal. Retrieved from https://www.eluniversal.com.mx/columna/mario-maldonado/cartera/amlo-le-cierra-la-puerta-la-inversion-china

OECD. (2018). China's Belt and Road Initiative in the Global Trade, Investment, and Finance Landscape. OECD Business and Finance Outlook 2018. Paris: OECD Publishing. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1787/bus_fin_out-2018-6-en.

Ragin, C. (2014). The Comparative Method: Moving Beyond Qualitative and Quantitative Strategies. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Rolland, N. (2018). China’s Eurasian Century? Political and Strategic Implications of the Belt and Road Initiative. Seattle: The National Bureau of Asian Research.

Rosas, M.C. (2010). Encuentros y desencuentros: las relaciones entre México y la República Popular China. Nueva Sociedad, 228, 116-136.

Pavlich, G. (2012). Paradigmatic Cases. In A. J. Mills, G. Durepos and E. Wiebe (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Case Study Research (pp. 645-647). Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.

Tavares, R. y Nedal, D. (2009). China and Brazil: Two Trajectories of a Strategic Partnership. In A. Hearn and J. León-Manríquez (Eds.), China Engages Latin America: Tracing the Trajectory (pp. 235-255). Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

Valderrey, F.J, Montoya, M. and Sánchez, A. (2019), Latin America: The East Wing of the New Silk Road. Competition and Regulation in Network Industries, 1-29. doi: 10.1177/1783591719853537

Van Dijk, T. A. (1998). Ideology: A Multidisciplinary Approach. London: SAGE Publications

Villafranco, G. (2015, February 27). 6 obras públicas que terminaron en fracaso presupuestal. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com.mx/6-obras-publicas-que-terminaron-en-fracaso-presupuestal/

Yu, L. (2015). China's strategic partnership with Latin America: a fulcrum in China's rise. International Affairs, 91, 1047-1068. doi:10.1111/1468-2346.12397

Wang, Y. (2016). Offensive for defensive: the belt and road initiative and China's new grand strategy. The Pacific Review, 29(3), 455-463. doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/09512748.2016.1154690

World Bank. (2018). Gross domestic product 2018. Retrieved from https://databank.worldbank.org/data/download/GDP.pdf

World Bank. (2019). World Development Indicators database. Retrieved from https://datos.bancomundial.org

Ward, P. M. and Wilson, R. H. (2018). Latin America’s Future Public Policy Challenges: A Ten‐year Time Horizon. Latin American Policy, 9(2), 183-207. doi:10.1111/lamp.12150
Keywords Geopolitics, Belt and Road Initiative, China, Brazil, Mexico
Compartir
How to Cite
Montoya, M., Lemus, D., & Kaltenecker, E. (2020). The Geopolitical Factor of Belt and Road Initiative in Latin America. Latin American Journal of Trade Policy, 2(5), 6 - 21. doi:10.5354/0719-9368.2020.56349
Section
Articles: FLAUC Annual Meeting 2019
Published
2020-02-01