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March 6, 2024

Is China Cornering the Green Energy Transition in Latin America?

By R. Evan Ellis

A key element of China’s economic advance over the past four decades has been the government’s promotion of its companies’ acquisition of capabilities and market share in sectors seen as strategically important to the country. In recent years, that emphasis has increasingly focused on digital technologies and green energy.

The advance of the People’s Republic of China- (PRC) based firms in telecommunications and other digital sectors has received significant coverage in the press and attention by U.S. policymakers. The equally important advance of PRC-based companies in green energy, however, has received less attention.

In the past decade, in Latin America and elsewhere, PRC-based companies have progressed considerably in sectors critical to the green energy transition, including hydroelectric, solar, wind energy, electric vehicles, electricity storage and transmission, as well as strategic minerals critical to those sectors such as lithium and rare earth elements.

In the last quarter of 2023, BYD surpassed Tesla for the first time in sales of electric vehicles globally.

The PRC has also increasingly included cooperation on green energy in its diplomacy with the region, such as in President Xi Jinping’s April 2023 meeting with Brazil’s Luis Ignacio da Silva.

The strengthening position in these sectors by China-based state-owned enterprises (SOEs) positions the PRC to reap both enormous profits and strategic leverage, as governments across the globe transition from fossil fuels to green energy.

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Background image from article at Dialago Americas (https://dialogo-americas.com/articles/is-china-cornering-the-green-energy-transition-in-latin-america/)