Latin America's Watchful Eye on China
NEW YORK, May 8, 2012 — With widening political struggles and growing civil discontent, many stakeholders, especially Latin American countries, are concerned that China may face a significant economic slowdown.
As author Ann Lee — a Senior Fellow at Demos and author of What the U.S. Can Learn from China — stated here in a panel discussion on Latin American-Asian cooperation, "If civil unrest gains momentum, it could easily turn into a civil war. If that happens in China, we are possibility looking at one of the biggest catastrophes not only in Latin America, but in the world." Many Latin American countries view China as an essential trade partner, so any variable that could destabilize this relationship is monitored carefully.
Moderated by Christopher Sabatini, Senior Director of Policy at the Americas Society and Council of the Americas (AS/COA), the panel also included Shelly Shetty, Senior Director and Head of Latin America Sovereigns at Fitch Ratings. Dan Silber, Managing Director and Deputy Head of Global Markets for HSBC, the Americas, delivered introductory remarks.
Speaking about the risk factors for China's economy, Lee cited societal issues as a particular cause for concern. Shetty, however, was quick to remind the audience that China continues to grow at a rate of 8 percent GDP. Shetty said that a "soft landing" is likely to occur, and as long as transitions are "handled gently," the impact on Latin American economies would be limited.