We just put to bed a podcast on China’s recent deals to secure access to needed raw materials. Prompted by the NYTimes article on Iraqi sentiment toward a recent oil deal, we looked at other recent deals and diplomatic activity and explored possible trends and implications.
At the end of our discussion we find ourselves focused on emerging deals in West Africa and South America as we ponder these talking points:
1) A new wave of multilingual world-savvy diplomats are taking up posts at key Chinese missions. These individuals may present a much less insular face and can be an effective the tip of the spear for China’s moves to engender positive public response to future resource extraction deals.
2) These deals certainly have paperwork behind them, but we also feel that it is to China’s advantage that many developing countries in Africa are open to broadly defined deals that will evolve over the years they take to execute. China will have to manage emerging public pressure from local populations that are seeking improvements in their social and physical infrastructure in exchange for access to resources.
3) The value of these deals are huge, but the media often fails to mention the profit sharing, and extraction costs when citing them. The long term financial value of some deals aren’t especially clear, but they do represent great diplomatic and national security coups.
Have a listen and tell us what you think.