The disruptions of the coronavirus pandemic have taken a toll on China’s flagship foreign infrastructure and investment program, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Its nature, pace, and scope are all likely subject to change in Latin America in the near- and long-term. Many Chinese-backed projects framed as part of BRI have hit the brakes across the region, as the Covid-19 crisis affecting industries, supply chains, and the movement of people and goods. Many countries have been in lockdown for months, with only essential activities authorized.
There have been fewer new Chinese infrastructure projects in Latin America this year, and no new countries have formally signed a BRI agreement. The ones that already signed are raising concerns over debt repayments to China as their economies face significant difficulties.