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The Chinese globalization

Silvio Siefke #Society

Whether this - or beyond the oceans: the globalization of markets reaches a new Dimension through the push from China. Around the world, engineers, architects, mineurs, warheads, bricklayers, welders and simple workers under the leadership of China on the mammoth project “New Silk Road “ an intercontinental trade network of the future.

Silk Route by the side of Indus River

As for the new Silk Road for China, the initiative to integrate South American infrastructure into World Trade (Integración de la Infraestructura regional Suramericana, IIRSA) for Latin America. The presidents of twelve South American countries have initiated IIRSA in 2000 to promote “international competitiveness” and “to create a stable, efficient and equitable pattern of development in the Region”.

Construcción de central hidroeléctria Santo Antonio, octubre 2010 / Foto: IPS

The Initiative now encompasses around 600 projects and connects infrastructure in the fields of Transport, energy and communication, which according to IIRSA “facilitates the flow of goods and services as well as people and information within and outside the country”. This is a multinational strip that runs across the continent in the Form of roads, bridges, deep-sea ports and airfields. The IIRSA infrastructure Initiative also provides for the construction of hydroelectric and electricity plants, metal and stone mines, as well as oil and gas plants. Finally, materials and energy are needed to build a functioning infrastructure.

The TRANS-continental railway will shorten transport routes

One of the most expensive projects (7 billion dollars), the planned railway between Brazil and Peru, the so-called Tren Bioceánico. The rail link between the port of Santos in Brazil and that of the Ilo in Peru, which is less than 5,000 kilometres away, is intended to shorten the transport routes between the Atlantic and the Pacific. In plain language, this means: soybean from Brazil is supposed to be easier, faster and cheaper to reach the Chinese pig fattening farms. Already today, 75% of Latin American agricultural products destined for the Chinese market come from the former Portuguese colony, such as the documentation and Information Centre (Cedib) in Bolivia.

Argentina Interesada en Sumarse Al Tren Bioceánico Impulsado por Bolivia

The transcontinent railway line will connect the largest container port of South America in Santos with the Pacific.

Santo Tomas de Castilla - container port

However, the Tren Bioceánico will also be used for the Import of Asian goods. China already supplies Latin America with machines, tools and kitchen utensils, but also with mobile phones, clothes or shoes. Uruguay, for example, imports 80 percent of its solar-powered hot water tanks from Asia.

Motorway in the protected area

During the construction of the South American TRANS-continental railway in Bolivia plays a Central role. The landlocked state in the heart of the continent connects the production and cultivation areas in southwestern Brazil with the export ports of the Peruvian Pacific Coast. The 52 projects envisaged in the Andean state are of the same importance. A large part of the billions of investments go to the Transport sector, half of which go to the construction or construction of roads and motorways. Only four projects concern the energy sector, two communication.

But anyone who wants to build infrastructure in Latin America, especially in protected areas where farmers or indigenous people are resident, must expect resistance. In Bolivia, this resistance is directed in particular against the construction of a hydroelectric power plant in the east of the country and against a motorway crossing the Indigenous Protected Area and National Park Isiboro-Secure (Territorio Indígena y parque nacional Isiboro Sécure, TIPNIS).

Die Einwohner des TIPNIS-Nationalparks demonstrieren gegen die geplante Straße durch den Regenwald (© Marco Arnéz)

The planned construction, which is not officially one of the IIRSA projects, but connects two of the main axes, had to be interrupted due to protests by the indigenous communities.

China as the most important donor

The development of new trade routes in other parts of the world, but above all access to raw materials, is in the spirit of the government in Beijing. China grants loans and can thus build, as it was similar to the new Silk Road project. In Sri Lanka, China built the country’s largest deep-sea port in the south and secured rights of use for 99 years.

In Latin America, the raw materials business is ongoing. China is building infrastructure for these countries, borrowing money and securing oil in return for many years in advance. China is now the main donor of Latin America, ahead of the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank.

The trails are open

In Latin America, there are various cases such as the Asian giant concentrating its interests to establish relations that develop infrastructures so that China as a counter-performance with raw materials, imports of goods is sashed. What the West is securing with wars and Nato statutes is done by China through loans, construction and counter-payments.

Coincidence is it not, that the Chinese Bank-financed petroleum are drilling and infrastructure projects in the North-East of Bolivia in the immediate vicinity of two major IIRSA axes. This is matched by the announcement by the Chinese ambassador in La Paz a year ago that the Chinese Export-Import Bank Exim would like to participate financially in the construction of the Bioceánico.

The new Silk Road, like the old one between Asia and Europe, is being built. However, the raw materials for the construction, but especially for the satisfaction of the consumption needs of the growing Chinese middle class come from Africa and Latin America.