China's Competitive Threat to Latin America: An Analysis for 1990-2002

Date: Jan, 2005
ODID Working Paper No. 120
Author(s): Sanjaya Lall (QEH) and John Weiss

This paper explores China's competitive threat to Latin America in trade in manufactures. The direct threat in exports to third country markets appears small: LAC's trade structure is largely complementary to that of China. In bilateral trade, several LAC countries are increasing primary and resource-based exports to China. However, the pattern of trade, with LAC specializing increasingly in resource-based products and China in manufactures, seems worrying. Given cumulative capability building, China's success in increasingly technology-based products with strong learning externalities can place it on a higher growth path than specialisation in 'simpler' goods, as in LAC. China may thus affect LAC's technological upgrading in exports and industrial production. The issue is not so much current competition as the 'spaces' open for LAC in the emerging technology-based world.

ODID Author(s)