China and Latin America

Add China to the list of countries making inroads into Latin America (see Christina Madden’s WPR piece on Iran’s growing presence). The People’s Daily reports that trade is growing substantially across the region (up by roughly 50 percent). The details are thin, but there seems to be a two-way traffic of high-tech components being shipped from Latin America to China, with the finished products heading back the other way. Also interesting is that while country-by-country, China maintains a positive balance of trade, when taken across the region as a whole it’s pretty much a wash. (They actually import $2.5 billion more than they export.)

Another interesting detail is the wine the Chinese import from Chile. I’ve read before about the taste for French wine being developed by China’s newly-moneyed classes. If the path America followed is any indication, the importing of Chilean wine suggests a democratization of consumption. Question: Can anyone think of equivalent examples where non-Western products have become status symbols in the West as a result of globalization?

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