How quickly are China’s economic and diplomatic relationships in Latin America growing? And does China’s growing regional profile have negative implications for the US? In this edition of Wilson Center NOW we asked two Wilson expert analysts, Benjamin Creutzfeldt and Jorge Heine, to put China’s presence in Latin American in perspective.


Benjamin Creutzfeldt is a China scholar of German and British extraction, Creutzfeldt graduated with a BA in Chinese Studies from Durham University in England and earned his MA from SOAS, University of London, whereupon he joined Christie’s as an auctioneer and specialist for Chinese porcelain and works of art. He has studied and worked extensively in China over the past two decades, and has co-founded and managed multiple start-up companies. For over eight years, he was a university lecturer for China and East Asian Studies in Bogota, Colombia. He received his PhD in political studies in 2015 for research on China’s foreign policy towards Latin America, under the supervision of Qin Yaqing (China Foreign Affairs University) and Matt Ferchen (Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy). Prior to his appointment as a Wilson Fellow, he was Resident Postdoctoral Fellow for China-Latin America-U.S. Affairs at the Foreign Policy Institute, Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies.

Jorge Heine is a Public Policy Fellow with the Wilson Center’s Latin American Program. From 2014 to 2017 he was the Ambassador of Chile to China. During his tenure in China, Chile became the first country to sign an enhanced version of a free trade agreement with China; a bilateral treaty to avoid double taxation was negotiated and ratified; Chile joined the Asian Investment and Infrastructure Bank (AIIB); and Chile became the world´s largest exporter of fruit to China, and China the #1 market for Chilean wine. Heine was previously the CIGI Professor of Global Governance at the Balsillie School of International Affairs (2007-2017) and a Professor of Political Science at Wilfrid Laurier University. He was also a non-resident Wilson Center Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC (2013-2015). From 2006 to 2009, he served as Vice President of the International Political Science Association, whose XXI World Congress of Political Science, the largest ever, was held in his native Santiago in July 2009, with 2,450 participants from 75 countries. Given the success of the Santiago Congress, IPSA changed the frequency of World Congresses from three-year to two-year cycles. Heine was previously Ambassador of Chile to India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka (2003-2007).


John Milewski is the executive producer and managing editor of Wilson Center NOW and also serves as director of Wilson Center ON DEMAND digital programming.