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The Long History of Chinese/LatAm Trade

China’s economic slowdown has been one of the factors holding back economies in Latin America, which were bolstered by a commodities boom over the past 15 years as the Asia giant gobbled up raw materials the world over. But Manuel Suarez-Mier offers an intriguing reminder that these trade links go back much, much further. It started in the 1570s with a happy accident and then ramped up. “For the next 250 years, mutually beneficial trade flowed between the ports of Manila via China, Korea and Japan, to cross the Pacific and arrive in upper California, not far from San Francisco, and then sail down along the coast until reaching Acapulco, in fleets that would go back and forth once a year in each direction.” So while there may be some disruption now in the volume of exchange, these China/LatAm ties are deep — and won’t be broken any time soon.

Jared Wade

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