Chinese Foreign Direct Investment in the Caribbean: Potential and Prospects

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Bernal, Richard L.
Nov 2016
China has recently become the third largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the world and is a major source of development aid for developing countries, including those in the Caribbean. The capital flows it provides have taken the form of loans to governments to finance infrastructure projects and to expand production of oil and other raw materials. There have been indications of interest in further investment in the Caribbean from Chinese enterprises and entrepreneurs. This is driven by both state policy, which seeks to more actively integrate China into the global economy, and enterprise-level interests by both state and private enterprises. Caribbean governments have generally been receptive to prospective incoming FDI. This paper identifies the instances of Chinese FDI in the Caribbean to date and discusses the potential for further investment, highlighting opportunities in agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, mining, infrastructure, and fishing. The factors influencing the emergence of Chinese FDI in the Caribbean include: the ongoing learning process by both investors and the governments of host countries; the performance of vanguard companies; transnational ethnic business networks; the local business environment; and the policies of Caribbean governments.