Dependent development in South America: China and the soybean nexus

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Publication details

JournalJournal of Agrarian Change
DateAccepted/In press - 16 Jun 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 13 Aug 2019
Number of pages28
Early online date13/08/19
Original languageEnglish


This article examines the expansion of the soybean complex in South America and the role of Chinese firms in expanding their presence in different sectors of the oilseed complex. The growth in trade relations between the two parties has been built on the export of primary commodities from South America and the import of Chinese manufactures – a trade pattern that reproduces core-periphery dynamics identified by dependency theory scholars. Of particular importance in this bilateral trade is soybean, a crop that has been consolidated as the main export for several South American countries, fuelled by growing demand from China. This article explores China’s role in the global political economy as a key agri-business player and the implications for new relations of dependency by studying the strategies deployed by Chinese firms to increase their influence in the governance of the soybean nexus.

Bibliographical note

Maria Eugenia Giraudo is Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Interdisciplinary Global Development Centre (IGDC), Department of Politics, University of York.

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    Research areas

  • China, Latin America, dependency, commodities, trade, agribusiness, sino-latinoamerican relations

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