China's Growing AppetitesIssue: Summer 2004
There is a major new issue looming in global geopolitics which has so far attracted little attention from either policymakers or pundits. It is the emergence of China as the world's largest consumer and importer of many industrial raw materials. After several years of robust growth, China has displaced the United States as the dominant market and price setter for copper, iron ore, aluminum, platinum and other commodities. This development has occurred so quickly that governments have not yet had time to ponder its implications. But just as the need for commodities has driven the foreign policy of Britain and the United States on many occasions since the mid-19th century, so now will China's need for commodities force it to develop a new strategy for foreign policy and security policy.