Latin America and the China-U.S. Trade War

In a column for Latin Trade Magazine, Rob Atkinson writes that the China-U.S. trade war can be an opportunity for Latin America. Tariffs on Chinese imports to the United States and tariffs on U.S. imports to China make Latin American exports to both China and the United States more competitive. More importantly, shifts in global supply chains open opportunities for Latin American nations. 

However, Latin American companies and policymakers need to focus on longer-term strategic issues. The U.S. government is confronting China not just to protect the U.S. economy but the entire global economy. Chinese mercantilism has had severe, negative consequences for Latin American economies. China’s severe currency manipulation has stifled the development of manufacturing jobs, and its “Made in China 2025” plan risks turning the region into a “hewer of wood and drawer of water” to supply insatiable Chinese input need, making Latin American efforts to develop their own technology economies stillborn.

In short, Latin America has a key stake in America prevailing in this trade war. As such they should, at minimum, support the U.S. rhetorically, if not in action.