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Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies

Latest from the Belt and Road Initiative

Debt and Discontent? Chinese Loans in the Caribbean
19/03/2021
In this episode I'll be chatting with Ruben Gonzalez-Vicente. He is a Lecturer at Leiden University in the Netherlands and studies China's relations in Latin America and the Caribbean. We chat about Chinese loan making in the Caribbean (with a particular focus on Jamaica) and the implications of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for Caribbean development. 
China Curtailed Loans to Latin America in 2020. Will the U.S. Swoop In?
19/03/2021
In 2020, loans from Chinese policy banks in Latin America fell to historically low levels. In the last days of the Trump administration, Washington agreed to lend Ecuador $3.5 billion, in what U.S. authorities considered a novel approach to confront China in the region. But does the region stand to benefit?
China Approves Fifth COVID-19 Shot In Push to Vaccinate Half A Billion by End of June
16/03/2021
With five approved COVID-19 vaccines, China aims to give shots to 40% of its population in the next four months, while also delivering huge amounts of doses to Indonesia, Brazil, and Mexico.
China in the Caribbean: Ambassador Jackman on Caribbean Diplomacy with China
04/03/2021
In this episode I am joined by Barbados's Ambassador to the People's Republic of China, His Excellency Ambassador Francois Jackman. We discussed several major foreign policy and geopolitical themes centered on the Caribbean's diplomatic posture towards China and the North Atlantic.
The BRI And China’s International Trade Map
01/03/2021
The Belt and Road Research Platform has developed a new map to display the Belt and Road Initiative in relation to China’s international trade. Although there are already plenty of maps which attempt to display the Belt and Road Initiative, we believe that there was a need for a novel approach: integrating the BRI into China’s international trade patterns.
U.S., China Battling for Influence in Caribbean, Latin America
04/02/2021
The political debate in Paraguay reflects a broader battle raging across Latin America about China’s swelling influence. As countries in the region grapple with a cascade of challenges to their developing economies, they increasingly look not to the North but to the East. Today, China is South America’s top trading partner.
The Challenges Facing Latin America after COVID - Part 1
03/02/2021
Dr. Evan Ellis, Latin America Research Professor for the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute, talks to Haverford School headmaster Dr. John Nagl about the challenges and opportunities that will confront the incoming Biden administration in Latin America and the Caribbean. 
Taiwan Opens Office in Guyana in Push Against China Influence
03/02/2021
Taiwan has opened a representative office in Guyana, the island’s foreign ministry said on Thursday, drawing praise from the United States, worried about deepening Chinese influence in Latin America, and a rebuke from Beijing.
China, the United States and a New World Order
02/02/2021
A few days ago, China’s president, Xi Jinping, addressed the opening of this year’s Davos World Economic Forum. His remarks imply that China is positioning itself to be the voice for a new multilateral world order.
Re-examining Caribbean-Chinese Relations
12/01/2021
Too often, United States government officials and scholars have characterized China’s relationship with Caribbean nations as a one-way affair in which the former, as a malign foreign actor, takes advantage of the latter, a small and weak group of states. 
Artists from Asia and Caribbean explore networking opportunities for creating new cultural values
08/12/2020
Organized by the UNESCO Transcultural Programme and the South-South Collective of Jamaica, the International Creative Exchange Caribbean (ICEC) 2020 Online - the Asia Connection event, which took place on 27 and 28 November 2020, brought together artists from Asia and the Caribbean in a productive exchange of ideas and experiences.
Mercantilism With Chinese Characteristics in Latin America
08/12/2020
The U.S., Latin America and China know mercantilism well. British restrictions on direct trade between its colonies and Europe to advantage its own industry was a driving factor in the American Revolution.
China's Role In Caribbean Still Major Concern For US
07/12/2020
United States authorities have admitted that China’s role in the Caribbean remains a talking point in discussions on a range of bi-lateral and other issues of national interest among the US and its regional partners.
Washington’s Backyard: The Caribbean Amid Sino-American Competition
07/12/2020
Despite the steady stream of commentary framing geopolitics in terms of a “new Cold War,” a return to bipolarity, and widespread recognition that Sino-American competition is expanding beyond the confines of the Indo-Pacific, one region remains generally overlooked: the Caribbean.
Countering China's influence in the Caribbean with a second Caribbean Basin Initiative
01/12/2020
The Caribbean Basin is very important to U.S. interests. However, while we have been distracted by other things, China has been making significant inroads into the Caribbean, where it is eager to displace American economic and military influence.
How China Outsmarted the Trump Administration
06/11/2020
While the U.S. is distracted, China is rewriting the rules of the global order.
Will the IDB’s Politicization Pull China and Latin America Closer?
05/11/2020
U.S. and Chinese attempts to shape Latin American governments’ lending options raise issues of sovereignty and choice.
The View from Europe: Partnerships are always better than hostility
01/11/2020
Jamaica has to make a decision as to whether it is going to look East to the “two headed dragon” or North to the United States when it comes to deciding where its economic priorities lie.
China’s Fifth Plenum: What You Need to Know
29/10/2020
China’s leaders issued a blueprint for the next five years – and beyond. 
The Three Seas Initiative: A European answer to China’s Belt and Road?
26/10/2020
A quest to modernise dilapidated infrastructure in Central Europe has quickly transformed into a geopolitical contest.
China is Weaponizing the Belt and Road. What Can the US Do About It?
22/10/2020
The BRI-driven trend towards a Chinese sphere of influence is neither inevitable or irreversible. 
The evolving relationship between the international development architecture and China’s Belt and Road Who is making the rules?
22/10/2020
China’s entry into foreign assistance 20 years ago has largely coincided with the evolution and advancement of international development architectures in support of shared development good practice and norms.
Is China trying to displace US as top global power? Two analysts differ
21/10/2020
Two prominent China analysts debated on Tuesday whether Beijing is attempting to supplant Washington as the foremost global power.
A New Global (?) Infrastructure Initiative: The Blue Dot Network
16/10/2020
There are still many unknowns surrounding the Blue Dot Network – a new infrastructure quality certification initiative jointly launched by the United States of America, Japan, and Australia that is often compared to the Belt and Road Initiative of the People` s Republic of China. 
China’s Public Diplomacy in Latin America and the Caribbean — COVID-19 Edition
16/10/2020
Beijing is training its envoys in Spanish, Portuguese, and local politics and letting them loose on Twitter in America’s backyard.
Boris Johnson Pushes Back Against China’s ‘Chokehold’ on Barbados Through its Debt Trap Diplomacy
29/09/2020
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reportedly ordered British diplomats to try to counter the “expansionism” of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Belt and Road initiative following accusations that the regime in Beijing pressured Barbados to remove the Queen as its head of state.
The View from Europe: Washington Consolidates its position in the Caribbean
27/09/2020
Speaking recently at Bocas Lit Fest, Jamaica’s former Prime Minister, P.J. Patterson, observed that in recent years there had been a “deliberate attempt” to split the Caribbean.
Blaming China’s investments for Barbados ditching Queen is Sinophobia. What stopped UK from developing its former colony?
24/09/2020
The decision by Barbados to axe the British monarch as titular head of state has unleashed anti-China paranoia claiming malign influence from Beijing. This is the poverty of Cold War zero-sum thinking.
Caribbean wouldn't tolerate external interference on Republic status
24/09/2020
Of all the fanciful reasons imputed to the decision of the government to make Barbados a Republic, shedding its monarchical status with Queen Elizabeth II as Head of State, the most surprising has come from the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the British House of Commons, Tom Tugendhat.
How China has Poured Billions into the Caribbean by Investing in Ports, Roads and a Five-Star Resort in a Soft Power Grab – as Beijing is Blamed for Barbados's Calls to Drop the Queen as Head of State
23/09/2020
China has poured billions of dollars of investment into the Caribbean while signing tax and trade deals in an attempt to wrest the region out of the West's sphere of influence and bring it under the sway of Beijing.
Pompeo Pitches US business over China in Suriname, Guyana
17/09/2020
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday made a direct pitch for fast-growing Suriname and Guyana's new leaders to pick US firms, warning of the risks of China amid an oil boom.
20 New IDB Chief Promoted by Trump Promotes “Pan-Americanism” against China
16/09/2020
The new head of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Mauricio Claver-Carone, an American promoted by President Donald Trump to a position that has always been in the hands of Latin Americans, seeks to fulfill “the dream of Pan-Americanism” in the face of China’s advance in the region.
Jamaica received US$2.1 billion to support Medium-Term Socio-Economic Framework
14/09/2020

Jamaica received US$2.1 billion in Official Development Assistance (ODA) from International Development Partners (IDP) to advance the Government’s strategic objectives and priorities under the 2018-2021 Medium Term Socio-Economic Policy Framework (MTF).

The Significance of BRI in the Wake of COVID-19
09/09/2020

COVID-19 did not just change the world; it also showcases the significance of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). As China recovers from the pandemic, the surge in exports bears testimony to the strong connection binding China and BRI-participating nations and the unbreakable supply chain with Beijing. It also underscored China's leading role in worldwide trade during the COVID-19 pandemic. And this is by itself a good sign for worldwide trade recovery.

Party Secretary Li Meets Latam & Caribbean Envoys
09/09/2020
Shanghai Party Secretary Li Qiang hosted a meeting with a delegation of envoys from 18 Latin American and Caribbean countries to China in Shanghai yesterday. Li welcomed the envoys on behalf of the Communist Party of China Shanghai Committee and the Shanghai municipal government, and introduced to them measures taken for the prevention of COVID-19 pandemic as well as the development of economy and society in Shanghai.
Argentina Looks At Joining China’s Belt & Road Initiative: But Balancing US Debt With China Trade Is A Tricky Act For Buenos Aires
02/09/2020
Argentina could become the biggest economy in Latin America to join the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), an action that would allow its heavily indebted government to deepen trade and investment ties with China even further. Argentina is one of the main economies, after Brazil, in the Mercosur trade bloc, which includes directly or via associate nations, most of South America.  Thus far, Chile, Uruguay and Venezuela together with Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana and Suriname have signed up to the initiative, although China has been financing projects to non-BRI member states in Latin America. 
US-China relations: nations failing as global leaders, academics say
19/08/2020
China and the United States are failing in their roles as world leaders, and the poor state of their relationship is impeding international collaboration in the fight against 
Covid-19, academics said on Wednesday.  “I see some key global challenges – right now that would be this health pandemic, global climate change, debt problems, bond payment crisis – I really see a failure of the US and China to provide leadership,” David Dollar, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, said at a webinar organised by Centre for China and Globalisation (CCG), a Beijing-based think tank.
Marco Rubio Champions Proposal to Help Western Hemisphere Countries Counter Chinese Influence
14/08/2020

On Friday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., paired up with U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-NJ, on the  “Advancing Competitiveness, Transparency, and Security in the Americas (ACTSA) Act.”

Rubio’s office noted that the bill “would strengthen economic competitiveness, expand safeguards for physical and digital infrastructure, and address human rights abuses from digital surveillance technologies in Latin America and the Caribbean” and is “the first comprehensive effort to improve U.S. economic engagement and diplomatic presence, and address the Government of China’s economic, political, security, and intelligence activities in the region.”

A cold wind is blowing from the north
31/07/2020
Whether it chooses to take sides or not, the Caribbean is about to find itself swept up into the now almost inevitable superpower confrontation between the United States and China.
Kenya leader warns against US, China rivalry in Africa
22/04/2020
Kenya's president said Wednesday that African nations should be free to cooperate with both the United States and China, warning that foreign powers were exacerbating the continent's divisions.