China’s economic, diplomatic, and security relations with Caribbean countries are growing under Chinese President Xi Jinping, who appears to have elevated the region on Beijing’s foreign policy agenda. Economic opportunities and diplomatic concerns – namely competition with Taiwan for diplomatic recognition – drive Beijing’s involvement in the region. There are many opportunities for the United States to benefit from China’s economic engagement in the Caribbean. However, among Caribbean countries, the narrative that the United States has neglected the region while China has embraced it is pervasive. While this message is misleading (current U.S. trade and diplomatic ties with the region are more robust than those of China), its persistence could limit the effectiveness of U.S. policy in the Caribbean.
The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission was created by the United States Congress in October 2000 with the legislative mandate to monitor, investigate, and submit to Congress an annual report on the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic relationship between the United States and the People’s Republic of China, and to provide recommendations, where appropriate, to Congress for legislative and administrative action.