China Comes Calling in Latin America

China’s search for natural resources is taking it to Latin America, and bringing considerable economic clout at a time when U.S. trade with the region is steadily declining. In Peru, China has locked in control of copper production with its multibillion-dollar purchase of a mountain that holds most of Peru’s copper reserves, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Venezuela, meanwhile, has sealed a new agreement that will increase crude oil exports to China to one million barrels daily by 2012, reports Other Chinese investments in Latin America include $1 billion for a hydroelectric plant in Ecuador and a $10 billion loan to Brazil’s national oil company, The New York Times reports. China is now Latin America’s second largest trading partner, with trade increasing by almost 40 percent in 2008, up to $140 billion, according to China Daily, while a Foreign Policy magazine essay states that China is signing currency swap agreements worth more than $100 billion.