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Researchers from the Center participate in the 6th International the LAC-China Network Seminar

Last Tuesday, May 30, our researchers Nifta Lau and Leolino Dourado presented their paper “El Problema de Legitimidad Enfrentado por Empresas Chinas en el Sector de Infraestructura: Lecciones Desde América Latina”  at the Sixth International Seminar on Latin America and the Caribbean and China: Conditions and Challenges in the 21st century (LAC-China Network).

Nifta and Leolino analyzed resistance to projects with Chinese involvement due to environmental, social, and labor risks, among other factors. To this end, they pondered the steps that can be taken to implement adequate external legitimacy. Their presentation focused on two case studies: the Caucharí I, II, III Solar Park project in Argentina and the São Luís Port in Brazil.

Nifta presented on the Caucharí Solar Park project in Argentina, centering on the main points of debate and agreement between the company in charge of the project (which drew on Chinese contractor companies) and the communities.

The most important aspect in this case was the relationship that the companies and the local government sustained with the community through the provision of certain benefits in accordance with the law. The project therefore constitutes a good example of how companies with Chinese involvement can increase their legitimacy, boosting long-term project sustainability.

For his part, Leolino discussed the São Luís Port project to illustrate how the absence of good relations with the local community can lead to the failure of an infrastructure initiative. Initially the São Luís project was supported by the central governments of Brazil and China. Yet despite the project’s potential it faced strong opposition from the local community. The main problem was a land dispute between the Cajuerio community and the companies behind the project, which led to protests and rejection of Chinese investment in the region.

Returning to the question of why some infrastructure projects with Chinese participation face resistance, the researchers conclusion that the relationship with the communities is decisive to the success or failure of a project.

Learn more about their presentations in the following video.

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