In This Review

China’s Strategic Partnerships in Latin America: Case Studies of China’s Oil Diplomacy in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Venezuela, 1991–2015
China’s Strategic Partnerships in Latin America: Case Studies of China’s Oil Diplomacy in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Venezuela, 1991–2015
By Yanran Xu
Lexington Books, 2016, 168 pp

For those in Washington who worry that an aggressive China will exploit any missteps the Trump administration might make in Latin America, Xu’s deep dive into Beijing’s oil diplomacy in the region offers some reassurance. China faces a long road ahead as it searches for ways to forge mutually advantageous strategic partnerships with the major Latin American countries. China’s status as a relative newcomer to the region makes its commercial relationships with the four countries studied here very much a work in progress. Chinese business executives and diplomats are struggling to adjust to fast-paced local political currents, and they have already been forced to learn from painful mistakes. Xu cogently argues that to up its game, China will have to devise more sophisticated political risk assessments. Sometimes, callous Chinese state-owned enterprises must figure out how to honor local codes of social responsibility if they want to maintain their access to lucrative business opportunities. If China is to forge genuine strategic partnerships, it will have to match its hunger for the region’s natural resources with a greater willingness to import value-added products and invest in infrastructure and industry in the region.