China’s Eye on Ecuador: What Chinese Trade with Ecuador Reveals about China’s Economic Expansion into South America

By Thomas P. Narins.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Because of its rapid and sustained economic growth, China has become an important centerpiece for understanding contemporary geo-economics and geopolitics. This article argues that examining China’s relationship with Ecuador–one of the smallest countries in South America–helps to explain the extent to which Chinese businesses are attempting to geographically diversify their investments as a strategy for securing long-term energy supplies and developing new and more lucrative markets in the region. This paper focuses on recent Chinese-Ecuadorian infrastructure and trade discussions in light of shifting hemispheric geopolitics and engages a set of broader questions about development in South America. These questions are: 1) What can Chinese trade with Ecuador tell us about China’s economic expansion into South America? and 2) How has Ecuador responded to China’s political and economic in-roads in the region? Using trade data and interviews with a diplomat, this article highlights Ecuador’s role in China’s strategy of economic growth through geographic diversification.

Keywords: China, Ecuador, Trade, Infrastructure

Global Studies Journal, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp.295-308. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.559MB).

Thomas P. Narins

Graduate Student, Department of Geography, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, USA

Thomas is pursuing a Ph.D. in the UCLA Department of Geography. He is fascinated by China’s economic rise and political influence on global and regional politics. Before UCLA, Tom earned a bachelor’s degree in government focusing on US-China relations and a master’s degree in business administration with an emphasis on international business. He has held several positions including one at a joint-venture company with projects in both China and Latin America where he witnessed the positive and negative effects of rapid economic growth in these regions.


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