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China’s oil diplomacy: comparing Chinese economic statecraft in Angola and Brazil

Alves, Ana Cristina (2011) China’s oil diplomacy: comparing Chinese economic statecraft in Angola and Brazil. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis aims to investigate the reasons for the variation in China’s oil diplomacy performance in Africa and South America in the period 2000-2010. Lacking sound experience in pursuing oil security overseas and enjoying strong financial muscle, China’s oil diplomacy is largely rooted in the extension of soft loans for infrastructure to oil-rich countries in exchange for steady oil supply and favoured access to oil acreage. Taking Angola and Brazil as case studies this thesis argues that differences in the institutional structure of the oil industry in each country, determined different outcomes regarding Beijing’s oil security goals. This thesis has found that although this template fitted well with the more centralised institutional environment in Angola, it was highly unsuitable for the more liberal and regulated Brazil setting. Furthermore, the advent of the recent global economic crisis (2008-2009) caused China to adjust its approach to the institutional particulars of Brazil becoming more efficient in that country regarding its oil security goals. Building on foreign policy analysis tools and concepts, an empirical analysis of the interplay between Chinese infrastructure-for-oil loans (hereby regarded as positive economic statecraft) and the institutional structure it met in each country, is presented. Through the case studies, this thesis aims to uncover to what extent the institutional context constrained Chinese oil diplomacy efficiency in Brazil for most of the past decade, and how innovation has surfaced in the context of the global financial crisis. This analysis thus gives interesting insights not only into the dynamics of China’s oil diplomacy in Africa and South America, but also into Chinese economic statecraft in general and how constraints that surface at the implementation level feedback into foreign policy formulation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2011 Ana Cristina Alves
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Collections > Economists Online
Supervisor: Hughes, Christopher R. and Alden, Christopher

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