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China's big move into Latin America

Brazil's largest trading partner is no longer the US – it's China. Beijing is investing billions of dollars and filling a vacuum left by the United States.

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All but invisible in Latin America a decade ago, China now is building cars in Uruguay, donating a soccer stadium to Costa Rica, and lending $10 billion to Brazil's biggest oil company.

It's supplanted the United States to become the biggest trading partner with Brazil, South America's biggest economy.

China has moved aggressively to fill a vacuum left by the United States in recent years, as the US focused on wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the global economic crisis sapped its economy.

"China is rising while the US is declining in Latin America," Riordan Roett, a professor of international relations at Johns Hopkins University, said by telephone while São Paulo. "China is all over this region. They are following a state-driven policy to expand their peaceful presence."

Mandarin spoken here

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