The Heritage Foundation’s China Global Investment Tracker has just been updated. Through June 30, it shows over $60 billion in Chinese investment in Latin America. This worries some people. They think that China is gaining economic benefits and cementing strategic ties in our backyard.
At the same time, the U.S. has had a clear and powerful opportunity for years to expand our own links to the region through free trade agreements (FTAs) with Colombia and Panama. Those agreements, though, are said to be a threat to the American economy that requires tens of billions of dollars in protection money in the form of Trade Adjustment Assistance.
So which is it? Should we dismiss expanding Chinese economic activity in South America because, after all, that sort of thing will just hurt their economy? Or should we pass the FTAs immediately, recognizing that they will benefit our economy, and then move on to more trade and investment agreements?
That answer is that America wins with freedom in economics as well as politics. Among the many reasons to improve our trade and investment ties around the world is to beat China at our own game.