Related Articles Commentary Paper SIIS Report
Oct 21 2013
Sustainable Development and Regional dynamics
Session III& IV: Sustainable Development and Regional dynamics

This third session focuses on energy cooperation, influence of violence on development, middle income trap and Washington Consensus.

Chinese participant emphasize the importance of energy cooperation on the sustainability of Sino-Latin American relationship. Firstly, both have strong complementary on energy and resources cooperation. Secondly, modern energy supply is an important condition for developing countries to achieve economic development. Both sides should enhance cooperation on energy especially renewable energy. There is great potential on wind energy and solar power. Though ethanol can be used as renewable energy, it generates negative impacts on food consumption. Both sides should enhance energy cooperation to deal with the fragmentation of global governance in this area.

Argentine scholar argued that it is an important dimension to safeguard sustainable development by dealing with urbanization dangers properly. By comparing the economic development between Argentina and China during 2002-2012, he emphasized the big income gap and marginalization of some communities in the growth and urbanization. Social cohesion is a good choice.

The other presentation emphasized the challenge of violence to sustainable development. He argued that though Latin America one of the most dynamic regions in world, safety is still a big problem. In Mercosur, violence has let the society assume huge costs: lose 7.7% of GDP in economy, most of the people died between 15-44 years old for violent crime, confidence lose towards government, and judicial authority being challenged. To solve problems of violence, all social forces should take actions. Academics, NGOs and universities should provide solutions and methods. Relevant institutions should enhance coordination and leadership to prevent crime and violence.

An American scholar argued that there are three common challenges in the development process in both Latin America and China. The first is corruption, inequality, group protests, and flee of corrupted officials. The second is that one possible outcome of urbanization is marginalization of some people rather than enterprising spirit. The third is the lack of public goods such as social assurance, education, infrastructure and poor environmental governance. And middle income trap and bureaucratism are also important issues in both sides’ social development. It is not clear what will be the future of the long-term development.

The disagreements in the discussion are two aspects. The first is to what extent China’s development achievement is related to Washington Consensus. Some argued that China’s success is a result of adopting Washington Consensus. Others insisted that China’s success lies in its peaceful foreign policy and promoting its comparative advantages dynamically. The second is whether there is space for both sides to cooperate on urbanization. Some argued there is no such space since Latin America can’t provide technology for China. While most participants think that China can learn a lot from Latin America, such as Latin America’s long history of urbanization, experiences and lessons, etc. It is also important to mobilize all social forces to participate in urbanization.

The fourth session focuses on the regional dynamic of East Asia and Latin America. Some scholars are holding very positive views on the regional integration in both regions. Some scholar argued that there are TPP dominated by the U.S. and RCEP promoted by China in East Asia. The competition between TPP and RCEP possibly reduce the central position of ASEAN. Both regions are focusing regional affairs which make it difficult to promote trans-regional cooperation. Some scholar argued that regional power redistribution with the rise of China and Brazil in both East Asia and Latin America respectively will have influence on trans-regional cooperation between East Asia and Latin America. Some argued that the main channel should be bilateral rather than regional cooperation if you look at the losing influence of FEALAC in recent years.

Some scholars pointed out that there is asymmetry in Sino-Latin American relationship. One is that China is more efficient in terms of decision-making and action capacity that Latin America. The other is that though China has become an important trade partner for Latin America, there is still a big gap between Latin America’s emphasis on China and China’s actual importance.

However, most participants think that there are great potential for future Sino-Latin American relationship. Both sides are very friendly to the other. Both sides are developing countries and they need cooperate for getting more development support. With the development of modern technology, it is easier for both sides to know each other and build better conditions for cooperation. Both sides should enhance investment and culture exchange, and increase discussion on political issues at global level, which will be helpful for the development of the whole developing world.

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