Over the last few years, Latin American exports to China have grown to the point in which the Asian giant has become the continent’s main trade partner. However, most of these exports are raw materials. Due to the decrease in the price of commodities, it has become increasingly risky to depend on their exporting power. There is thus a need for the diversification of our exports.
Socio-Environmental Standards must be maintained
According to Kevin Gallagher, editor of the book and director of Boston University’s Global Economic Governance Initiative, the current context can pressure nations into reducing their socio-environmental standards in order to attract new investments. However, the researchers point out that this is not the right way to go.
“Our studies demonstrate that it is important to maintain and strengthen the standards in order to maximize the benefits and minimize the long-term costs,” said Gallagher during his presentation.
Cynthia Sanborn, Universidad del Pacífico’s Research Vice President
Peru’s Second Vice President and Congresswoman Mercedes Aráoz, who was responsible for the comments at the book launch event, also highlighted the possibility of joint work with China to respect socio-environmental standards.
“China is under considerable pressure to lower greenhouse gas emissions. We can help them make clean investments in our country. There are very interesting cooperation spaces which should be analyzed,” said Aráoz.
In our country, trade relations with China are mainly focused on the trade of minerals, with 76% of exports to said country being these raw materials, particularly copper.
The University’s Research Vice President, Cynthia Sanborn, highlighted the joint work that should be carried out with Chinese mining companies in order to achieve reforms in this industry.
Mercedes Aráoz, Peru’s Second Vice-President and Congresswoman
“There is a recent concern about the lowering of environmental standards for companies in order to attract investments. We deem it crucial for Peru to set an example for other countries in promoting a clean and green industry, the way we all want it to be,” said Sanborn.
Despite the importance of the mining industry in Peru-China relations, the University’s Vice President stressed the need to seek other options to widen the portfolio of exportable products. “The challenge is not only to promote more investment, but more diversified investment (…) This is how the FTA with China has opened the doors for Peruvian businesspeople to diversify their exports,” the researcher pointed out.
About the book launch
The book China en América Latina. Lecciones para la cooperación Sur- Sur y el desarrollo sostenible was edited by Universidad del Pacífico and Boston University.
The book launch event was attended by Rebecca Ray, Kevin Gallagher and Cynthia Sanborn, researchers and authors of the book, as well as Mercedes Aráoz, Second Vice President and Congresswoman; Elsa Galarza, Minister of the Environment, and Rosario Santa Gadea, director of our University's Center for China and Asia-Pacific Studies.