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Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies

Latest from the Belt and Road Initiative

Golding Sees Possibility of New Cold War
Former Jamaica Prime Minister Bruce Golding is arguing that a vow among G7 countries to work together to counter China's increasing presence in developing countries could see the emergence of a new cold war similar to that waged between the United States and the Soviet Union between the 1960s and 70s.
The G-7 wants to mobilize new global financing as an alternative to China’s multilateral push
Over the weekend, President Biden and other Group of 7 leaders announced a new Build Back Better World (B3W) partnership to mobilize hundreds of billions of dollars toward infrastructure and other development projects. 
Trinidad seeks loan from China
The Trinidad and Tobago government Tuesday defended its decision to seek a multi-million dollar loan from China, rather than from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), saying Beijing was not imposing any stringent conditionalities on the oil rich twin island republic.
G7 meet underscores fault lines on China
The Group of Seven (G7) has come a long way since its inception in the mid-1970s 
China reminds us why the Caribbean is vital to US strategic interests
The Caribbean is vital to the strategic interests of the United States. It is the U.S. “front door” for maritime logistics, finance and tourism and generations of immigrants from the Caribbean that have helped shape U.S. society and culture.
Who Manages China’s Belt & Road Initiative?
China’s Belt & Road Initiative is somewhat enigmatic when it comes to who is behind the project. There appears to be no official secretariat, no centralised office, and no specific official responsible for discussing its objectives.
Washington is Playing a Losing Game with China
America’s latest policies toward China will prove self-defeating. US–China relations now exemplify Freeman’s third law of strategic dynamics: for every hostile act there is a more hostile reaction.
China Ready to Enhance Cooperation with Suriname: Chinese FM
Standing at a new historical starting point, China is ready to work with Suriname to carry forward traditional friendship, enhance policy alignment and political mutual trust, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Saturday.
South Coast Highway Costing Additional US$133m
The Government will have to foot the tab for additional engineering and consultancy project management services for the Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project (SCHIP), which is now costing over US$133.9 million more than budgeted to complete.
China's New Silk Road is Full of Potholes
As the harsh realities of China's growing power sink in, the country's appeal is diminishing in the West. To keep it in check, more coordinated efforts are needed and come September the tone from Germany may be decisive.
Debt and Discontent? Chinese Loans in the Caribbean
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?
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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?
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?
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?
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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
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
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

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

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
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
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
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

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
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
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.