The New Silk Road: Emerging Patterns in Asian-Latin American Trade for Energy & Minerals

Jun 2015
The rise of fast-growing, populous economies in Asia has increased demand for Latin American primary commodities to unprecedented levels, quickly raising Asia's importance as an economic partner for LAC. 1 Between 2000 and 2013, inter-regional trade in energy and minerals grew by an average of 10.9% per year, reaching $33 billion in real terms in 2013. For countries in Latin America and the Caribbean the shift in trading patterns towards Asia has come at a time when demand for the region's energy and mineral resources from traditional partners in North America and Europe has slowed. Given the dependence of many Latin American countries on energy and mining for export revenue and the implications that another wave of surging Asian demand could have for the region's sustainable development prospects, it is important for LAC governments to understand how the region's trade relationship with Asia will evolve over time. This analysis traces the trade relationship in energy and minerals between Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean, focusing specifically on China and India, over the past three decades. It then offers an outlook for future trade in these sectors between the regions.