Ex­pert weighs China-Peru re­la­tions

China Daily (USA) - - XI’S VISIT - By MAY ZHOU in Lima, Peru

As the di­rec­tor of the China and Latin Amer­ica Pro­gram at the In­ter-Amer­i­can Di­a­logue based in Wash­ing­ton, Mar­garet My­ers es­tab­lished the di­a­logue’s China and Latin Amer­ica Work­ing Group in 2011 to ex­am­ine China’s grow­ing pres­ence in Latin Amer­ica and the Caribbean.

My­ers also de­vel­oped the China-Latin Amer­ica Fi­nance Data­base, the only pub­licly avail­able source of em­pir­i­cal data on Chi­nese lend­ing to Latin Amer­ica, in co­op­er­a­tion with Bos­ton University’s Global Eco­nomic Gov­er­nance Ini­tia­tive.

“I have stud­ied both Spanish and Chi­nese for many years and have fo­cused ex­ten­sively on both China and the Latin Amer­ica re­gion in other po­si­tions, al­beit sep­a­rately,” she said.

The first step was a baby one. When My­ers was work­ing for the Fauquier County schools in Vir­ginia, she de­vel­oped the county’s first Man­darin-lan­guage pro­gram.

Her knowl­edge of the Chi­nese lan­guage and China led her to work as an an­a­lyst for a cou­ple of in­sti­tutes. Be­fore join­ing the di­a­logue, My­ers worked as a Latin Amer­ica an­a­lyst and China an­a­lyst for the US Depart­ment of De­fense.

“Since ar­riv­ing at the In­ter-Amer­i­can about six years ago, I’ve been able to com­bine my ex­per­tise in both of these ar­eas and to ex­plore the in­creas­ingly com­plex China-Latin Amer­ica re­la­tion­ship, which has de­vel­oped at a rapid rate in re­cent decades,” My­ers said.

Re­cently, My­ers coau­thored a book ti­tled The Po­lit­i­cal Econ­omy of China-Latin Amer­ica Re­la­tions in the New Mil­len­nium, which ex­am­ined how China’s en­gage­ment with Latin Amer­ica has hap­pened in a va­ri­ety of ways.

When it comes to Peru, My­ers pointed out that China and Peru have a long­stand­ing re­la­tion­ship based on Chi­nese im­mi­gra­tion to the South Amer­i­can coun­try, which oc­curred over cen­turies.

“Chi­nese trade has been ev­i­dent in Peru for many decades, but the eco­nomic re­la­tion­ship de­vel­oped es­pe­cially rapidly over the past two decades. Chi­nese com­pa­nies have been pri­mar­ily in­ter­ested in Peru’s min­ing sec­tor. Their cop­per min­ing in­vest­ments have achieved vary­ing de­grees of suc­cess,” My­ers said.

In ad­di­tion, Chi­nese ex­ports of gen­er­ally high­tech equip­ment are in­creas­ingly prom­i­nent in Peru, as are in­vest­ments in var­i­ous types of in­fras­truc­ture, My­ers said.

Peru also has sought to ex­port agri­cul­tural prod­ucts, such as fruits and fish­meal. But nav­i­gat­ing China’s com­plex reg­u­la­tions has proven to be a chal­lenge to Peru.

My­ers said that it’s un­clear to what ex­tent Kuczyn­ski will re­lax min­ing sec­tor reg­u­la­tions in an ef­fort to at­tract ad­di­tional for­eign in­vest­ment, much of which would pre­sum­ably come from China.

She said that ex­ces­sive re­lax­ation of ex­ist­ing reg­u­la­tions could have neg­a­tive ef­fects on the en­vi­ron­ment and lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

My­ers be­lieves Peru needs to work more to at­tract di­verse Chi­nese in­vest­ment. “China’s in­vest­ment and trade with Peru re­mains fo­cused on pri­mary com­modi­ties. Cop­per, in par­tic­u­lar, ac­counts for the vast ma­jor­ity of Peru­vian ex­ports to China. Peru­vian of­fi­cials must work to at­tract Chi­nese in­vest­ment, while en­sur­ing that it is in­creas­ingly di­ver­si­fied, sus­tain­able, and pro­mot­ing of long-term growth,” My­ers said.

My­ers said that China al­ready has shown some in­ter­est in in­vest­ing in a wider va­ri­ety of sec­tors not only in Peru, but across the re­gion.

She said it would ben­e­fit both that “Chi­nese com­pa­nies, banks and of­fi­cials should also seek out in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties that will be sup­port­ive of Peru­vian pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity and long-term growth.

“I was very for­tu­nate to have stud­ied briefly at sev­eral uni­ver­si­ties in China, and most re­cently at the Johns Hop­kins University–Nan­jing University Cen­ter for China-US Stud­ies,” she said.

“I learned much about Chi­nese gov­ern­ment, so­ci­ety and eco­nom­ics from my Chi­nese pro­fes­sors at these in­sti­tu­tions. Al­though, given the com­plex­ity of China and the Chi­nese lan­guage, I will of course be a life­long stu­dent of both.”

The eco­nomic re­la­tion­ship de­vel­oped es­pe­cially rapidly over the past two decades .” Mar­garet My­ers, di­rec­tor, China and Latin Amer­ica Pro­gram at the In­ter-Amer­i­can Di­a­logue

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