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Latin American countries in the BRI: challenges and potential implications for economic development

Juliana Gonzalez Jauregui (Department of International Relations, FLACSO Argentina, Buenos Aires, Argentina)

Asian Education and Development Studies

ISSN: 2046-3162

Article publication date: 3 June 2020

Issue publication date: 18 June 2021




According to official statements, BRI is a Chinese call for global cooperation, based on five priorities: policy coordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people bonds. The purpose of this paper is, primarily, to describe and contextualize the official discourse of China's foreign policy toward Latin America, emphasizing on BRI. On that basis, the author aims to contrast official rhetoric with real facts, bringing problematic cases associated with implementing BRI in Asian and African developing countries, so as to discuss possible challenges that Latin America can encounter when implementing the initiative. Finally, the author evaluates potential implications of resembling the Chinese three-level scheme of development in the region and make suggestions on this subject.


In an effort to evaluate possible implications of BRI in Latin America, the paper describes and contextualizes Chinese foreign policy official rhetoric toward the region's countries. Based on that, the author brings to discussion Asian and African experiences in the implementation of the initiative and raise questions on controversial issues that Latin America could meet when enforcing BRI-related projects.


As a part of its new foreign and economic policies, China continues to strengthen its engagement with Latin American countries, enlarging its strategy though the promotion of BRI. If Latin American countries, through BRI, seek to replicate the Chinese three-level of development scheme, including domestic, regional and global scopes, certain controversial issues cannot be ignored in the design and implementation processes. Also, equal participation of Chinese and Latin American governments, societies and enterprises is decisive if the goal is to settle a long-term development scenario for the region.


The central thesis of this paper is that the implementation of BRI in Latin American countries could potentially replicate the Chinese three-level development proposal. To achieve such an ambitious goal, much depends on how Latin American countries define and enforce BRI projects. Full understanding of those challenges requires close attention to what the Chinese official rhetoric claims and what actually puts into practice in other developing countries already involved in BRI, so as to anticipate possible consequences for the region.



Gonzalez Jauregui, J. (2021), "Latin American countries in the BRI: challenges and potential implications for economic development", Asian Education and Development Studies, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 348-358.



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