Thursday, March 17, 2011

ThinkIN China is back!

ThinkIN China is pleased to invite you to:

China­Latin America Relations
22nd March at 7PM The Bridge Cafe Rm 8, Bldg 12, Chengfu Lu
成府路五道口␣清嘉园12号楼8号 010‐82867026

Matt Ferchen, assistant professor in the Department of International Relations at Tsinghua University.
Ferchen is the first and only full‐time, foreign faculty member in his department. He teaches courses on international political economy and area studies, with a focus on Chinese political economy and China‐Latin America economic and political ties. His research interests are in Chinese domestic political economy and the politics of China’s trade and investment relations with Latin America. Ferchen is also the editor of the Chinese Journal of International Politics (CJIP), which is published by Oxford University Press. Since 1996, Ferchen has conducted field work in Latin America and China on trade and investment ties between the two regions. In addition to giving academic and professional presentations on China‐Latin America relations in China, Latin America and the United States, Ferchen has published his findings in English and Chinese. In addition to recent opinion pieces
in Caijing and Caixin, co‐authored with Alicia Garcia‐Herrero from BBVA, Ferchen has recently published an article titled “China‐Latin America Relations: Long‐Term Boon or Short‐Term Boom?” Ferchen has an MA in international affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a Ph.D. in political science from Cornell University.

China‐Latin America trade and investment relations have expanded rapidly in the past decade. It is commonly recognized that the basis for this expanded economic relationship is China’s demand for Latin American natural resources. However, there is less agreement about the consequences of this burgeoning relationship, with many on both sides highly optimistic about the possibility for continuing rapid expansion in economic and political relations while others worry about the health and sustainability of commodity‐based trade and investment. This has resulted in dual narratives, with some describing the China‐Latin America relationship as complementary and South‐South while others emphasize dependency. However, I argue that no assessment of the health and stability of the China‐ Latin America relationship is complete without a better understanding of Chinese commodity demand. Chinese demand for key Latin American commodities, including mineral resources like iron ore, is based on a boom in domestic Chinese heavy industrial production, which in turn has fueled a global commodity boom for inputs to feed that boom. Chinese industrial (over)production has only increased as a result of stimulus and credit policies in the wake of the global financial crisis, causing concern inside and outside of China about capacity and asset bubbles. Therefore, I emphasize that the basis of China‐Latin America trade and investment relations is both more narrow and more fragile than is commonly understood. I argue that the current China‐Latin America trade and investment, and also political, relationship needs to be understood in the context of historical commodity boom and bust cycles.

The ThinkIN China Team


Matt Ferchen, “China­Latin America Relations: Long­Term Boon or Short­Term Boom?” The Chinese Journal of International Politics, 2011 (

Cynthia J. Arnson and Jeffrey Davidow, eds., “China, Latin America and the United States: The New Triangle.” Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, January 2011 (

Kevin P. Gallagher and Roberto Porzecanski, The Dragon in the Room: China and the Future of Latin American Industrialization. Stanford University Press, 2010.

Adrian H. Hearn, “China’s Relations with Mexico and Cuba: A Study in Contrasts.” Pacific Rim Report Series, 2009 (


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