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China's Economic Engagement With Latin America

Gaston P. Fernandez, 2015 International Mining and Oil & Gas Law, Development, and Investment

China's financial institutions have also been a significant source of funding for other important infrastructure projects in Latin America. Since 2010, CDB has lent more than US$40 billion to Venezuela's Banco de Desarrollo Económico y Social (“BANDES”) for the development of projects in Venezuela. During the same period, CDB has also has lent approximately US$5 billion to Ecuador for the development of various infrastructure projects and programs in the country. In Colombia, CDB joined the Inter-American Development Bank (“IADB”) and Banco de Desarrollo de América Latina (“CAF”) to provide US$390 million in financing for the development of the El Dorado Airport in Bogotá.20 The ambition and scope of more recently proposed projects appears to be growing: the proposed 278 km Grand Interoceanic Canal in Nicaragua, with a total projected investment of between US$40 billion, appears to be in the very early stages of development and financing, and has the potential to transform the economy of Nicaragua.

This article reviews some of the key differences in the policy approaches between China's banks and Western multilateral development banks and export credit agencies (“ECAs”), the types of credit structures used in connection with financings from China's banks, and how upcoming trends could affect future investments from China in Latin America.

2. Key differences