China's President Xi visits Latin America: A spotlight on Chinese' firms impacts in the region

READ: Blog post by our Senior Researcher & Representative for Latin America, Amanda Romero: "A Golden Opportunity” for some: Can the visit of President Xi to Latin America improve the practices of Chinese firms in the region?". 

China's President Xi Jinping will be making state visits to the three countries in Latin America, including Ecuador, Peru and Chile beginning 17 Nov 2016. With the bilateral collaborations under China-Latin American Countries and Caribbean States Cooperation Plan (2015-19), closer economic exchanges are expected as an outcome of this visit.

However, over the years, local communities and civil society organisations have voiced out concerns over Chinese companies' social and environmental impacts by various projects in the region. Below are some of the stories about such projects. For more on Chinese investments overseas see our portal on the subject.

- Ecuador: NGOs allege forced eviction of communities to make room for Chinese mining project Mirador, of Ecuacorriente
- Nicaragua: Social, environmental concerns associated with Chinese firm HKND Group's major canal project
- Bolivia: Joint venture of YPFB & Chinese oil companies threatens uncontacted indigenous tribe, according to NGO; includes YPFB comments
- Bolivia: NGOs allege labour rights abuses at two Sinohydro construction projects

Additional Information:
Report illustrates Chinese investments’ environmental & social impact in Latin America with cases of best practices & challenges

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Article
27 December 2016

Chinese President Xi proposes roundtable discussion over environmental protection with Latin American countries during visit in Peru

Author: An Baijie, China Daily

"Beijing aims to stimulate Latin America's growth", 22 Nov 2016

In a speech to Peru's Congress, Xi, who is on his third visit to Latin America as head of state, said China will enhance technology transfers to Latin American countries...The president added that China has proposed a roundtable discussion about environmental protection with Latin American countries next year.

[Translation of excerpt of President Xi's speech provided by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre] "...China proposes a roundtable meeting in Beijing next year on China-Latin America environmental and developmental policies, and welcomes active participations from Latin America. Chinese companies have to respect the local culture, comply to local laws, and take up the social responsibilities in investing in localization, promoting job opportunities and social developments..."

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Author: 新华社

"习近平在秘鲁国会的演讲", 2016年11月22日

...中方倡议明年在北京举办中拉环境与发展政策圆桌对话会,欢迎拉方积极参会。中国企业要尊重当地人民的文化习俗,遵守当地法律,在投资本地化、促进当地就业和社会事业发展方面担负起应有的社会责任。我们还要开展人文交流和文明互鉴,让中拉合作在物质和精神层面同步发展...

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Author: 新華社

"習近平在秘魯國會的演講", 2016年11月22日

...中方倡議明年在北京舉辦中拉環境與發展政策圓桌對話會,歡迎拉方積極參會。中國企業要尊重當地人民的文化習俗,遵守當地法律,在投資本地化、促進當地就業和社會事業發展方面擔負起應有的社會責任。我們還要開展人文交流和文明互鑑,讓中拉合作在物質和精神層面同步發展...

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Author: IISCAL

Boletín # 9 IISCAL - Diciembre, 2016

Contenido: 1. Una nueva tanda de acuerdos; 2.Las cartas de Xi Jinping; 3. Apuntes sobre la Política China hacia América Latina (2016); 4. La sostenibilidad y el medio ambiente…La visita de Presidente Xi Jinping a Ecuador, Perú y Chile fortalece la relación que China mantiene con América Latina desde que inició la reforma económica y de apertura a inicios del 2000. Las cartas abiertas del Presidente Xi Jinping a los ecuatorianos, peruanos y chilenos, los 41 convenios firmados, el fortalecimiento de las Alianzas Estratégicas Integrales, y el nuevo Documento de Política China hacia América Latina (2016) confirman que China tiene una visión comprehensiva y planificada de lo que espera de la región y que va construyendo las condiciones y creando los instrumentos para implementarla…Por otro lado, la actitud de los gobiernos de Ecuador, Perú y Chile indican que China define el rumbo de la relación. Todos los presidentes invitan a China a invertir en sus países, piden a China una mayor apertura de sus mercados para productos con mayor valor añadido, y abogan por una mayor transferencia tecnológica. Pero al fin del día es China -como dueña de los capitales y de la tecnología- quién decide…Notoriamente, ALC no ha articulado aún una política propia para orientar el relacionamiento con China. Un primer paso en esa dirección, sería evaluar los efectos de la cooperación china en el endeudamiento público, la diversificación de las exportaciones, la construcción del modelo de desarrollo sustentable, el fortalecimiento de las economías locales y de mediana escala, y el mejoramiento de la calidad de vida de las comunidades locales…

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Article
21 November 2016

"Ecuador must re-invent its relationship with China"

Author: Paulina Garzon, in Dialogo Chino

The China-Latin America relationship took off in the mid-2000s under the banner of South-South Cooperation. In 2014, President Xi Jinping said that China-Latin America cooperation would be guided by an Inclusive and Sustainable Cooperation Plan. Last week, Ecuador and China agreed to upgrade their relationship to that of a ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership‘. But what are the practical implications of this for the financial and energy sectors in Ecuador?...

Ecuador needs to re-invent its relationship with China. In recent years, China has taken impressive steps towards “greening” its economy to and promoting renewable energy. The latest green policies of the Chinese banking system, including a commitment to close coal production plants and provide state support to establish the largest solar panel factory in the world are just a few examples of China’s capabilities. That is the China Ecuador needs in order to establish a truly meaningful Comprehensive Strategic Partnership...

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Article
15 November 2016

“Interview: Ecuadorian president hopes Xi's visit will boost bilateral cooperation”

Author: Xinhua

…Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa hopes Chinese President Xi Jinping's upcoming state visit to his country will expand cooperation between the two sides in various fields…The goal, Correa told Xinhua in a recent interview, is to "mutually make the most" of the strategic partnership…China has funneled some 15 billion U.S. dollars in financing the South American nation in the past 10 years…Of the eight hydropower stations under construction and finished, seven were constructed by Chinese firms, which has helped turn the once energy-poor Ecuador into an energy exporter..."We have Chinese companies building highways and hydroelectric plants, and we have oil and mining companies. So there is already investment here. But many more highly profitable projects are hugely important to the country's development," [President Correa] said…

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