China’s unprecedented geopolitical and economic march through Latin America and the Caribbean is advancing rapidly. It is accomplishing this by using its increasing economic power to win the friendship of various governments in an effort to become the region’s most essential trading partner as quickly as it can, displacing the United States.
Recently, Vice-Premier Wang led a large delegation in two days of talks with business representatives and leaders from the Caribbean. During those sessions that were held in Port of Spain, Trinidad’s capital, Beijing introduced measures totaling $6.3 billion that were intended to form a better relationship with the Caribbean’s 15-nation trade bloc.
The economic measures Wang introduced, which were mentioned above, included the donation of $1,000,000 to the Caribbean Development Fund, support of economic development in the region, increased training for healthcare professionals, support for creating a technological tsunami warning center, and development of a plan encouraging Chinese tourists to visit the Caribbean.
This week’s business activities included the third China-Caribbean forum, and they attracted more prime ministers and presidents than the other two. In addition, delegates and cabinet ministers from virtually every country were also present.
In the recent past, China has signed trade and aid agreements with most countries in the Caribbean where diplomatic relations have been established. Those countries that continue to maintain relations and do business with Taiwan—such as St. Kitts, Haiti and Belize—have been automatically excluded from doing business with China.
As China strategically planned to set up geographic bases, Jamaica turned out to be the favorite in regard to trade and other activities in the northern Caribbean. At the same time, Suriname and Guyana are jockeying for position in the southeast, and one head of state in the Caribbean contends that exports to China are growing so rapidly, that this accounts for most of the region’s international trade.