Latin American and the Caribbean and the Asian Century: A comparative analysis of Japan’s and China’s engagement with their Latin-American partners from an International Economic Law perspective

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Iberoamerican Journal of Development Studies


The Asian Century will commence in 2020 when Asia will produce more than half of the global wealth. Latin America and the Caribbean do not seem adequately prepared to navigate in this new global reality. This article aims to contribute with a better understanding of the role played by Asia as promoter of economic development in Latin America and the Caribbean by conducting a comparative analysis of the approaches used by Japan and China to engage with the region. The study is conducted using an analytical framework borrowed from International Economic Law. The main argument develops in this paper is that Japan has used formal or hard law instruments to engage with the region. In contrast, China has employed an eclectic platform that combines hard law instruments as well as soft law mechanisms, that allow the Asian giant to interact with its Latin American and Caribbean partners in more direct ways and without the interference of other global powers.

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