China’s Changing Consumer Demographics and the opportunity for Latam

Up Front

阅读更多关于此新闻的文章,请点击链接: 中国不断变化的消费人群对拉美有着怎样的影响

China’s demand for bulk hard and soft commodities have had an undeniable impact on Latin America. From Brazilian iron ore to Chilean copper to Argentinian soy, China’s sustained growth, rapid urbanization, and large population have created a near omnipresent demand for these resources; China is reshaping global agriculture. Alejandra Marinovic, international economist at Chile’s Adolfo Ibáñez University notes that this is a result of China’s success:

“A sustainable rate of growth in China, oriented to internal consumption and local investment, strengthens and stabilizes the demand for commodities like copper. However, it opens up other areas, such as - for example - the export of food."

Marinovic points to an aspect of the Chinese market that many overlook. The current impact – and the larger opportunity – of China’s ever growing middle class is the most important market for smaller and specialty producers from the Latin America. From organic food, to fine wine to high-end consumer goods, China’s rapidly evolving consumer demographics are forcing Latin American producers to rethink supply lines to cater to increasing demand from the world’s second largest economy.

McKinsey estimates that by 2022, 75% of China’s urban households will be middle class. That is an estimated 270 million households or 550 million consumers within the income range of $9,000 to $34,000 per year. Of those, 167 million household or approximately 400 million individuals will be what the McKinsey calls “new mainstream” consumers with disposable incomes between $16,000 and $34,000. Boston Consulting Group anticipates these will provide an increased demand for “healthy and organic food, apparel made from natural products(such as cotton and linen), energy-saving electronics, and natural skin care products.”

The U.S. and European markets cannot be ignored. But the opportunity provided by an increasingly affluent and discerning middle class in China means Latin American producers of everything from liquor to fresh fruits and vegetables, to high-end beef need to recognize China for what it has the potential to be: their primary export market. A major limitation has been the distance and the cost associated with shipping fresh produce from Latin America to China, but as technological advancements increase, produce is moving from being flown to being shipped, significantly cutting transportation costs. This week, the Dundy Star arrived in Shanghai from Chile, carrying a 4,000-tonne shipment of blueberries, cherries, nectarines, grapes and plums and making headlines: 智利鲜果“包船”来沪 全国首艘混装水果冷藏船入境

But while many are tempted by the potential of China’s market, even behemoths like Amazon have been stumped by the challenge. China’s size and complexity requires a sophisticated strategy to effectively break into the market. While the temptation exists to rely on online platforms such as Alibaba or JD, such as passive approach does not guarantee success in an increasingly crowded and competitive marketplace. While export promotion agencies – such as ProChile and their successful Chile Week – play an integral part, their bandwidth can be limited, and priorities can change according to change in administration or political shifts.

Chile has been successful because the public and private sector has taken a proactive approach to engaging distribution channels and consumers. And the results are clear across a range of products. And Chilean fresh fruit exporters are not resting on their laurels, looking at consumer markets in Japan, Korea, and even India as growth markets.

But other specialty segments and other countries in Latin America are not keeping up, and missing out on the potential of the Chinese middle class. The need to get on board before that ship – like the Dundy Star – has sailed.

Top Stories

Chile anuncia que tres firmas invertirán US$ 754 millones en industria vinculada al litio — Economía y Negocios
Valor agregado y divisas ofrecen tres empresas por el litio chileno — Publimetro Chile
SDI, Posco land Chile lithium bid — JoongAng Daily
Chile says companies to invest $754 million in lithium industry — Reuters
It’s Chile’s Molymet and China’s Sichuan Fulin Industrial Group, a South Korean joint venture between Samsung SDI Co Ltd and POSCO. Chile’s Economic Development Agency (CORFO) finally came out with it’s announced winners for creating value-added industries on the lithium supply chain in exchange for guaranteed lithium supply. The groups are expected to invest $754m, and are expected to be ready to produce 58,000 tonnes of high-end cathode a year in two years. We haven’t seen comment from Elon Musk.

传杉杉股份等中企竞购SQM股权 中国锂电产业涉足海外 — Caijing
Chile insta intervención en oferta de Tianqui por cuota de SQM — Teletrece
Chile pide a autoridad antimonopolio bloquear ofertas chinas por participación en minera SQM — Swissinfo
Corfo pide a la Fiscalía Nacional Económica bloquear ofertas chinas por participación en SQM — Economía y Negocios
Chile files complaint to block sale of SQM shares to Chinese companies — Reuters
EXPLAINER-Chile attempts to block China from prize lithium asset — Reuters
But it’s not just smooth sailing for Chinese companies in the Chilean lithium markets. Also on Friday, CORFO filed a complaint with antitrust regulator FNE to block a late-2017 “non-binding” offer by Tianqi Lithium for Nutrien Ltd’s - formerly Potash Corp of Saskatchewan - 32% stake in SQM. The offer was more than 20% over market value. Tianqi already owns a 2% stake in SQM, and Nutrien has to unload its stake thanks to post-merger regulatory requirements. The FNE process is expected to take at least six months.

Both lithium moves by the Chile authorities took place 48 hours before Sebastián Piñera was sworn in as the new president. It’s not yet clear whether the new administration will change tack on these issues. 

商务部:中国不会主动发起贸易战 中美经济对话将继续 — Caijing
Temen acereros nacionales una invasión de acero chino — El Diario de Coahuila
Mexico slaps tariffs on Chinese steel pipe for 'unfair' pricing — Reuters
Soja: Negociação mais direta do Brasil com a China pode ganhar força frente… — Notícias Agrícolas
What’s Behind the Great Trade Skirmish — Bloomberg
Is the trade war getting hot? Mexico has imposed anti-dumping tariffs on Chinese imported steel pipes due to “unfair” trade practices, the same day US President Donald Trump announced plans for tariffs on US steel and aluminum imports. The Mexican duties replace provisional duties imposed last year. Zhong Shan, China’s Minister of Commerce pushes back, saying: "China does not want to fight a trade war and will not initiate a trade war." Looking for a silver lining, Roberto Dumas Damas, an economist at Insper (the old Ibmec), thinks that Brazilian soy exporters can benefit from the fracas by becoming a preferred source for China. And our friend Shannon O’Neil of CFR talks to Bloomberg on the question of a trade war: the short answer is not yet, but it isn't looking good.

Latin America needs an infrastructure upgrade — The Economist
Will China’s Belt and Road Initiative outdo the Marshall Plan? — The Economist
The Economist with a pair of articles from last week and this week on Latin America’s need for infrastructure, and whether China can fulfill that need. The Free Exchange column compares the impact the Belt & Road Initiative can have to that of the US’ post-WWII Marshall Plan. The latter’s impact was significant beyond its dollar value due to the encouragement of capital markets; the free market advocate magazine says "The BRI will have no comparable influence."

Look Out: TPP About to Bring Next Big Trade Wave — Latin Trade
Moody's: TPP-11 impulsará comercio y reformas aún sin EE.UU. — El Comercio
Ministro vietnamita se reúne con pares de Japón, México y Chile al margen de firma del CPTPP — Vietnam Plus
El PIB de países latinoamericanos crecerá por lo menos 1% más con TPP — W Radio
TPP11 — Excelsior
Lección comercial para Uruguay — El Observador
David Parker, ministro de Comercio de Nueva Zelandia: “Chile puede estar orgulloso del rol que jugó en el acuerdo” — La Tercera
TPP-11: ¿Salida de EE.UU. del acuerdo favorece al Perú? — El Comercio
Del TPP11 al CPTPP — El Sol de México
TPP11: Un perdedor que puede ganar — El Heraldo de México
México debe prepararse para incorporación de EEUU al CPTPP — Swissinfo
México celebra acuerdo TPP11 que crea “la zona comercial más grande del mundo” — Diario Digital Nuestro Pais
CPTPP ya perfila su ampliación — El Economista
Chile: Trans-Pacific Agreement will open the Japanese market — Fresh Plaza
A round-up of news on last week’s launch of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Chile comes in for a deserved victory lap, Uruguay looks on in envy, and winners and losers from the deal are assessed. As we mentioned, other countries are looking at joining the brand-new TPP, including Colombia, Costa Rica, South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, and Taiwan. We’ll take the under on the latter two, or the US under the current administration.

Diez países más se suman a la agroexportación de productos peruanos este año — Gestión
Exportaciones ubican a Perú como primer país en América Latina en crecimiento económico — People Daily
Cítricos peruanos ingresarán a mercados de República Dominicana y Japón — Perú
Peru is continuing its push for new markets. This year the government expects to begin exporting berries and citrus to India; quinoa to China; mandarin oranges to Japan; avocados and citrus to Vietman; and avocados to Korea, Thailand and the Philippines. The National Agrarian Health Service (SENASA) says to expect the Japan deal as soon as May.


Down but not out: Chinese Development Finance in LAC, 2017  — The Dialogue
Our friend at the Inter-American Dialogue have the most recent update to their China-Latin America Finance Database. There was a steep decline in policy lending to Latin America to $9b over eight loans from $21.2b over nine loans last year. The headline figures are below - note that almost all the lending to Brazil was in the energy sector - but the report is worth reading in full.

Dialogue China-LAC Fin DB 2018.png

Bank of China obtiene permiso final para operar en Chile — La Tercera
Segundo banco chino recibe permiso definitivo para operar en Chile — Diario Financiero
Bank of China authorized to operate in Chile -regulator — Reuters
Chile’s SBIF banking regulator has given Bank of China the go-ahead to begin operations, joining China Construction Bank which has been there since mid-2016.

膜拜单车进入智利首都圣地亚哥,正式落地南美洲 — Tencent
Fresh off its launch in Mexico City, Mobike is out in Santiago. 

In Chile, a Billionaire Takes the Reins From a Socialist, Again — NYT
A piece on the presidential transition this past weekend in China from Michelle Bachelet to Sebastián Piñera (déja vù). As the article notes, both want to see even deeper ties with China, Chile’s top trading partner, and have pushed against US warnings about China. Says Piñera:

”The relationship with China has been a good relationship, and it is expanding beyond commercial matters, to investment and cooperation in science and technology, environmental issues and several other fronts… China has been gaining ground in Latin America in part because China has been pursuing it and partly because the United States is stepping back.”

China launches mega aid agency in big shift from recipient to donor — SCMP
Supposedly, China is setting up a new aid organization, the International Development Cooperation Agency. It will report to the State Council and according to SCMP "consolidate roles that had been between divided between the ministries of commerce and foreign affairs.” Details are sparse, so we’ll see...

Las nuevas centrales nucleares argentinas made in China — Infobae
A read-out on the two new nuclear power plants (in addition to the three existing one) that Argentina is building over the next five years with China, thanks President Mauricio Macri’s agreement last May. Nucleoelétrica Argentina (NA-SA) is building them with help of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and its subsidiary China Zhongyuan Engineering Corporation (CZEC). ICBC will providing 85% of the $14b in funding. While Argentina’s fourth nuclear plant — Atucha III — will be built like it’s sisters on the CANDU-6 design from Canada’s AECL, the fifth plant will be a pressurized water reactor based on the model of Hualong I.

Work resumes on UWI's South Campus — Trinidad Express
40 per cent drop in Cave Hill students — Trinidad and Tobago Newsday
Changes at the University of the West Indies (UWI). First, work has resumed on its South Campus, which is expected to be completed this year by local construction companies. This follows the termination of an agreement with China Jiangsu International — which won the contract in 2013 — sometime over the past year. $350m has been paid to China Jiangsu International, with UWI says it is taking legal steps to recover. Also this week vice chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles said UWI will establish a Chinese campus in conjunction with Jiangsu University. He also spoke of a “Japan Initiative” by UWI. 

Minerva Foods exportará carne bovina hacia Israel, China y Chile a finales de este año — La República
José Amaral, country manager for Minerva Foods in Colombia, is bullish (sorry) that his company will export beef to China as well as Israel and Chile this year, despite an outbreak of hoof and mouth disease last year.

Panamá y Chile son dos ejes estratégicos para China — Forbes México
Francisco Cruz, Chile’s Ambassador to Panama, sees the two countries as two strategic axes for China. He says: 

[Chile and Panama] are like-minded countries, with high commercial flows and a privileged bilateral relationship, that can be protagonists in the bringing together [and] proximity… with Asia and its economies across the Pacific.

TLC con China pondrá a prueba a Panamá — La Prensa
Panama Wont Set Deadline for Trade Deal with China — Latin American Herald Tribune
Primer embajador panameño considera "un nuevo amigo" a China, en la que no ve una "amenaza" — Xinhua
A pesar de desconfianza entre EEUU y China, embajador panameño llama a esa nación asiática de esta manera — La Jornada
China and Panama continue their moves to get closer together. Panamanian trade and industry minister Augusto Arosemena is hedging on when exactly a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries will be readied, but says feasibility studies have been completed and negotiations should begin by July, in line with previous guidance. Benchmarking a timetable, LATH notes that “the negotiations leading to Panama’s trade accords with the United States and Canada required roughly one year and two years, respectively." 

Ecuador prevé impulsar alianza estratégica con China — El Comercio
Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Carlos Larrea hosted MOFA’s new director general for Latin America and the Caribbean Zhao Ben Tang. Ecuador wants to sign a new Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) with China, as well as get help on building a refinery at Manabí.

Crecieron importaciones en Uruguay desde China, Brasil y Argentina — El Cronista
Uruguay XXI says the country is buying more abroad, with imports in the first two months of this year up 15%, to $1.2b. Phones (iPhones?), autos, autoparts, and medicines drove the increase. China remained the largest source, providing $264m worth of goods, 6% above last year.

A República Popular da China não gostou desta viagem de Bolsonaro — Exame
Who would? Although in this case, China’s “indignation” at Jair Bolsonaro is not because of anything he said, but because he traveled to Taiwan, which they see as a violation of the “One China” Policy. 

China importó 412 mil toneladas de acero de América Latina durante enero — Mundo Marítimo
Latin American steel imports in January from China shrink by 39pct YoY — Alacero
Importaciones chinas de cobre caen en febrero — EL Comercio
Is the China juggernaut slowing down? China’s copper imports have dropped a third month in a row, with February figures showing a 20% decrease. China’s steel exports to Latin America in January were also down, but may increase if the US follows though on it’s threatened steel tariffs.

Nidco denies Galleons Passage crew quit — Trinidad and Tobago Newsday
The star-crossed Galleons Passage continues to struggle in its trip across the Pacific to Trinidad and Tobago. The National Infrastructure Development Company (Nidco) had to issue a denial of rumours that the crew had abandoned ship in Shanghai due to safety concerns. Former Transport Minister Devant Maharaj says the initial crew didn’t think the vessel was seaworthy for the Japan-Hawaii leg. According to, the vessel is currently in Yokohama - we’ll keep tracking, and hoping it makes it safe.

尹中卿:中国应加强外资引进 不能过早地产业空心化 — Sina
Artigo: As relações entre Brasil e China — Estadão
China plantea su nuevo mapa de ruta — El Peruano
Las dos sesiones de China llevarán nuevas oportunidades a América Latina — Xinhua
Deputy Director of the Financial and Economic Committee of the 12th National People’s Congress Yin Zhongqing; Li Jinzhang, Chinese Ambassador to Brazil; Jia Guide, Chinese Ambassador to Peru; and Minister Councilor Lin Ji at the Chinese Embassy in Mexico see the “Two Sessions” as providing new opportunities for Latin America.

S&P Global Platts: "China será muy cuidadosa con EEUU por la dependencia de su petróleo” — El Economista
Mark Schwartz, director of planning at S&P Global Platts, says that while China would strongly benefit from importing American oil and gas, it will move with caution not to depend on the US. China, the world’s biggest importer of oil, is forecasted to continue increasing demand up to 12 million barrels daily sometime in the next decade.


Nissan LEAF, el auto eléctrico más vendido del mundo, llegará a la Argentina — Infobae
Valls, chairman de Nissan: "En Argentina se van a producir 400.000 pickups” — El Cronista
Para Nissan, la Argentina "aún no es competitiva” — La Nación
Nissan LEAF: el auto 100% eléctrico llegará pronto al Perú — Depor
Nissan is pushing hybrids in Latin America. The LEAF is being launched in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Uruguay, and Puerto Rico. However, in an interview at the LEAF launch, José Luis Valls, president of Nissan for Latin America, notes that while they’re selling in Argentina, they’re not being produced in Argentina. “Argentina isn’t competitive” for autos, he says. But Argentina will keep producing pickups, and Nissan plans to build 400,000 there within two years.

El Toyota FJ Cruiser regresó a Colombia: Características, versiones y precios — Carro Colombiano
Further in Japanese auto corner: the hybrid Toyota FJ Cruiser has returned to being sold in Colombia.

Un japonés presidirá Mazda en Colombia — Portfolio
Finally in Japanese auto corner: Nobuyuki Sato is coming from the Mazda home office to run operations in Colombia. He’s replacing Fabio Sánchez Forero, who ran the brand there for a dozen years.

El embajador de Japón afirmó que para los empresarios de su país "la Argentina aún no resulta confiable” — Infobae
Echoing the concerns from Nissan above, Japanese Ambassador to Argentina Nortieru Fukushima says “Japanese businesses have a great interest in investing, but they are waiting for bigger adjustments in the changes that are afoot.” But he is hopeful the current government will get Argentina to a good place.

Mensaje del Representante Residente — Japan International Cooperation Agency
JICA opens it’s 99th office in Havana, Cuba.


Shinhan Bank opens first branch in Mexico — Korea JoongAng Daily
Korea’s Shinhan Bank, known for its corporate financing, just opened its first bank in Latin America. Having chosen Mexico for its expansion into the continent, Wi Sung-ho, CEO of Shinh, said the branch “will offer a base for a broader regional network.”

S. Korean delegation calls for stepped-up cooperation with Chile — Yonhap
The South Korean delegation to Piñera’s inauguration sees the potential for bilateral cooperation on economic issues.


Embraer in talks with several Indian airlines on E-175 jet orders: executive — Reuters
Cesar Pereira, Embraer’s Vice President for sales and marketing in the Asia Pacific, works the crowd at the Wings India airshow, where he talked with Interglobe Aviation Ltd’s IndiGo unit, SpiceJet Ltd, national carrier Air India, Jet Airways Ltd and Vistara about buying E-175 jets. India is the only BRICs country without a significant regional jet fleet, so the opportunities are there.


UAE's Mubadala said to seek financing for Brazil gas pipeline bid — Arabian Business
Brazilian Petrobras will be holding several auctions soon, including Transportadora Associada de Gas, a 2800-mile network that spans ten Brazilian states. Sources say Goldman Sachs is planning to finance UAE’s Mubadala Development and EIG Global Energy Partners ahead of a bid for the network.

Emirates adds Mexico City to its network — Airline Hub Buzz
Emirates volará la ruta Barcelona-México — La Vanguardia
Emirates will begin offering service form Dubai to Mexico City via Barcelona, with full traffic rights between the latter two. The route is rumored to be daily, but its unclear when it will launch.

Brazil team discusses food export issues in UAE — Trade Arabia
Brazilian delegation visits UAE to enhance agribusiness trade relations — Zawya
Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Supply (MAPA) led a delegation to the UAE last week.

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"TPP light" takes off, with China (and the US) on the sidelines

Up Front

阅读更多关于此新闻的文章,请点击链接: “TPP之光”开始了,中国(和美国美国)在旁观望

This afternoon in Santiago, Chile, eleven countries signed the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)  — a free trade agreement (FTA) opening increased trade in a market of 498 million people, with a combined GDP of over $10 trillion. It will go into effect 60 days after six countries ratify the deal, and is expected to do so early next year.

Left for dead by the Trump administration that pulled out of it a year ago, the TPP was brought back to life during a marathon year of negotiation by the remaining countries — Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The revised deal suspends 20 clauses — on biologics, digital copyright, and 11 of which focused on intellectual property — that were insisted on by the US. It has innovative clauses addressing State-Owned Enterprises, SMEs, corruption, as well as issues like biodiversity and climate change.

The TPP is a triumph of diplomacy in undiplomatic times, and a fitting capstone to Chilean President Michele Bachelet’s second term, which is up on Saturday. As Chilean chief negotiator Felipe Lopeandía put it, TPP "returns confidence to the efficiency of regionalism and domestic initiatives in important agreements.”

While the TPP is a heartening sign of the power of working together in an era of increasing go-it-alone politics, it is no panacea. Countries like Malaysia (65%) are only slowly eliminating tariffs and have up to 20 years to do so. And there is still a slim chance that the fractious politics around TPP in Japan (which is protective of its domestic agriculture market) could stymie ratification there. There are several countries that do not want to ratify first, and want Japan to take the lead — failure in Tokyo could bring the whole process to a halt.

In the context of Asia's growing economic relationship with Latin America, the 900-pound gorilla in the room is China. The TPP with the US was an 800 million person, $30 trillion behemoth that had been described (from the political left and right) as being "a mark of America’s strategic commitment to the region in the face of a rising China.” Leaders like Australia’s Malcolm Turnbull have gone to lengths to distance the TPP from implying any stance by the member countries against China, but China’s growing role cannot be denied.

Is this “TPP light" still an economic threat to China? It shouldn’t be. But with China feeling its oats on the global stage but facing an economic transition at home, TPP could be perceived as such.

Large swaths of Latin America are embracing free trade, and an FTA with China is the brass ring many are reaching for. Having made greater inroads than expected into Latin America and other regions, China is encouraging the idea. But how will it react to a launched TPP while negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) — China’s FTA counter-balance to TPP — has dragged on, and excludes any countries in the Americas. Reconciling China — or sadly the US, these days — with free trade might be harder than expected.

But the TPP is a success, and there is no bigger indication than its popularity. Colombia — wanting to join its Pacific Alliance colleagues — has been knocking at the door for a while now. And South Korea announced today that it is going to evaluate this year whether to join the revived TPP. So while the US may have spurned it, TPP remains the club to join.

Top Stories

拉丁美洲成科技巨头新战场 新一轮投资圈地运动开始 — Lieyunwang
Global tech firms and investors are reshaping Latin America’s startup environment  — Tech Crunch
Chinese Investors Bet on Latin America for Next Tech Gold Rush — Bloomberg
Chinese Startups See Latin America as a Land of Opportunity — Fortune
Startups chinas miran hacia América Latina — El Tiempo
Startup and tech investment are rapidly sprouting in Latin America, attracting some of Silicon Valley and Asia’s biggest investors to the region. Chinese investment in Latin American jumped to $1 billion since the start of 2017 — driven by the Didi acquisition of 99 — from $30 million in 2015. has almost doubled since 2013, adding 25 new investors this past year alone, and venture capital investment reached $1b at the start of 2017. Companies like Tian Ge Interactive Holdings Ltd., China Mobile, Ofo and Mobike are leading the charge.

La Positiva Seguros acordó la venta de 51% de sus acciones a Fidelidade — Gestión
La Positiva vende el 51% de sus acciones a aseguradora portuguesa Fidelidade — La Republica
Portuguese insurance company Fidelidade is set to buy 51% of Peru’s La Positiva. Plot twist: Fidelidade’s largest owner is Chinese investment firm Fosun, which is making its third major acquisition in Latin America in two years.

GIC in 5.5b Mexican peso JV to develop and operate rental apartment buildings in Mexico — The Straits Times
Singaporean wealth fund GIC and CCLA, a real estate partnership between the CIM and Compass groups, have entered a $387.8m joint venture to develop and operate for-rent homes in Mexico City. ”CCLA believes that the growth of the middle-class and the cultural shift in favour of city-living is rapidly transforming the residential demand in urban centres," said Manuel Balbontin, founding partner of Compass Group.

Trump pone aranceles al acero y aluminio (medida contra China que golpea la Argentina) — Ámbito
Ataque fiscal de Trump contra China põe em risco mais de R$ 8 bi em exportações brasileiras — BBC
Brazil threatens 'action' to protect interests after Trump tariff move — CNBC
Mexico to retaliate if US slaps tariff on its steel — source — Financial Times
Golpe a la industria argentina: Donald Trump anunció que impondrá aranceles al acero — Clarin
China grumbles at Trump’s tariff move, but Europe takes aim at Harleys and bourbon — Washington Post
Acero Argentino concerned about steel tariffs — AMM
Mexico, Brazil and Argentina express concerns about US tariff on steel — Platts
Guerra comercial de Donald Trump tendría impacto en el Perú — La República
El cobro de tarifas al acero de otros países afectarán a México — Expansion
China ganará con las tarifas al acero: Guajardo — El Economista
Ya la pagarás, ya la pagarás — Excelsior
US President Donald Trump takes aim at China and hits… Brazil. At the other end of the charm spectrum, President Trump announced a plan to impose a 25% tax on imported steel and a 10% tax on imported aluminum. While aimed at China, both Brazil and Mexico are bigger exporters of steel products to the US, and have said they will have to retaliate; Argentina and Peru are also bracing for impact. Mexican Secretary of the Economy, Ildefonso Guajardo, points that the tariffs won’t impact Chinese exports of steel:

“If (the Americans) exclude us, the only thing that’ll happen is we’ll buy more Chinese steel, the opposite of what President Trump wants."

王毅引古文谈中国和拉美合作:志合者,不以山海为远 — Huanqiu
Ministro de Exteriores dice cooperación entre China y América Latina y Caribe no se dirige contra nadie — Xinhua
China-LAC cooperation does not target anyone: FM — Xinhua
China pledges wider market access, especially for financial sector — Reuters
On the other end of the diplomatic spectrum, Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi is on a charm offensive, playing up China’s moves to open its market. In an editorial he writes: “We will get more in line with international economic and trade rules, significantly widen market access, open the services sector, especially the financial sector, wider, and create a more appealing investment environment.” On the sidelines of the “two sessions” annual session of the National People's Congress, he was even more bullish on China-LAC relations, noting that: “nothing, not even mountains and oceans, can separate people with shared goals and vision."("志合者,不以山海为远”) But he gives us the quote of the week with his comment that:

"China will not move anyone's ‘cheese.’"


中国石油收购巴西TT Work公司30%股权 —
China's CNPC says to buy 30-pct stake in Brazilian fuel distributor — Zawya
China's CNPC has agreed to buy a 30% stake in TT Work , Brazil’s fourth largest oil products distributor. No financial details were disclosed.

China Mobike busca revolucionar transporte vía bicicletas y alista expansión — Diario Financiero
China’s Mobike launches in Santiago, Chile, for its second dockless bicycle sharing program in Latin America. To get everyone comfortable, it will provide free rides for residents of  La Reina and Las Condes to try out the bikes.

逾百中国企业参展巴拿马国际奥义博览会 巴总统“捧场” — China News
Chinese presenters crushed it at the 36th Panama International Trade Fair.

Caribbean must dynamically engage with China — Jamaica Observer
JAMPRO’s Nicholas Sutherland writes that Caribbean countries need to encourage Chinese investment in the region, not to risk losing opportunities to larger and resource-richer neighboring countries.

中国需求旺盛 古巴雪茄畅销 — Deutsche Welle
A Chinese language summary of last week’s news about China driving the sale of Cuban cigars.

La china Shineray lanzó sus autos de trabajo en la Argentina: todos los detalles — TN
There are now eight Chinese auto brands in the Argentine market. Shineray has launched its line of work vehicles and trucks. The vehicles are being imported by Ralitor, who already imports vehicles from BAIC, DFM, Foton, and JMC.

La marca china JAC Motors llega a la Argentina de la mano de la familia Macri — TN Autos
JAC Motors llega a a la Argentina — CORSA
JAC Motors, otra marca china importada por Grupo Socma, desembarcó en la Argentina —AutosiPro
Soon there will be nine! China’s JAC Motors will be arriving in Argentina later this year, bringing in six models, through Astrak S.A., a company managed by the family of President Mauricio Macri.

Dos automóviles nuevos llegarán a Colombia por cuenta de la industria china — HSB Noticias
And it’s not just Argentina. Auto distributor Inchape has partnered with China’s BAIC to deliver two new models to Colombia, spearheading the Chinese firm’s entry to the country.

With debts complicating sale, China Fishery bankruptcy trustee seeks USD 624 million compromise — Seafood Source
The China Fisheries saga continues. Following postponement of China Fishery’s Peruvian assets purchase due to intercompany claims from a subsidiary, the company’s court-appointed trustee William J. Brandt is now “seeking to consolidate a web of debts into one claim valued at $624m.” The netting process has been approved by the court, and the sale should ensue.  

APL suma tres nuevos servicios entre Asia y Latinoamérica — Mundo Marítimo
APL, one of the world’s leading ocean carriers, is starting three new service routes (Cóndor Express, Falcón Express, and Caracara Express) between Asia and Latin America, specifically with Mexico, Central America, and the continent’s west coast.

China no necesita acuerdos para agigantar su huella comercial en América del Norte — El País
China is really NAFTA’s fourth signatory, says Enrique Dussel Peters, already the US’ main trading partners, and coming in second with Mexico and Canada. For every $10 of Mexico’s surplus with the US, $5 go to China — the reality is that, despite this, all 3 countries would still benefit with more regulated bilateral commercial agreements with the Asian tiger.

Empresas de Chile, Rusia y China interesadas en subasta petrolera de Ecuador — El Economista Americas
Energy companies from Chile, Russia, and China are among the interested party in the next bidding rounds for land in Ecuador, said Carlos Perez, Ecuadorian Minister of Hydrocarbons. Out of 40 firms,  stands out Chile’s GeoPark and Chinese CCDC Petroleum and Hilong Group.

EEUU busca reforzar lazos con Latinoamérica ante acercamiento chino — HispanTV
Speaking at Florida International University (FIU), Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the UN, said the USA will seek to put emphasis on its relations with the region in the face of China’s growth. 

Agricultores do Brasil podem tirar vantagens de tensão entre China e EUA — Extra Globo
Tensão entre EUA e China pode beneficiar venda de grãos do Brasil — Exame
Disputa comercial China x EUA pode ampliar espaço e preços para soja do Brasil — Noticias Agrícolas
Brazil should jump into the ring and take advantage of China-US tension, says Carlos Fávaro, vice-governor of the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso. Due to Brazil’s potency as a foodstuff exporter, it should take action in establishing bilateral commercial relations with other countries; talks with Mexico are already underway. Under the limelight is Brazil’s soybeans exports, which already count for half of China’s soybeans imports, as they may gain comparative advantage if China and the US enter a trade war.

Así quiere China dominar el mundo — El Pais
É assim que a China quer dominar o mundo — El Pais
Spain’s El País features a long-read on Xi Jinping and China’s renewed, powerful role in the international system, in particular as it seeks to fill the vacuum left by the US without portraying itself as having imperialist objectives.

Argentina exporta más de 160 mil toneladas de productos orgánicos — Infobae
Organic production is soaring in Argentina, solidifying its comparative advantage, reaching 160k tons in 2017.

El litio bajo fuego cruzado: Quiénes son los cuatro jugadores globales que se disputarán el liderazgo del mercado — Economía y Negocios
Chile, China, Argentina, or Australia: Who is going to surface as the world’s “white gold” winner? Maybe no one. Following on our discussion last month, Morgan Stanley predicts the price of lithium will fall 45% by 2021 due to expected oversupply created by chilean SQM and Albemarle — neither have said they will be halting their projects, and Albemarle’s president, Luke Kisam, has defended his figures saying lithium demand is expect to almost quadruple by 2025. As of now, Chile is strategic about it, Argentina has ongoing projects, China is its largest importer and Australia its largest producer.

Relaciones económicas entre China y América Latina — El Nuevo Diario
A nice graphic overview of China-Latam relations.

relacines econ entre china y la.jpg

Setor de frango do Brasil se defende contra denúncia na China — Exame
Exportadoras de frango brasileiras se defendem em investigação de dumping na China — Globo
Brazilian chicken firms fight China's dumping claim — Reuters
Following on investigation from last year into whether Brazil was selling some broiler chickens to China at below market prices, the Brazilian Animal Protein Association (ABPA) made its formal case this week. Brazil exports $761m in chickens a year to China.

Kingship invests in Chile — Fruitnet
Chinese importer Kingship signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Valle Central and Agrícola el Peñasco, in which the Shenzhen-based company will make a “sizable investment,”  including the purchase state-of-the-art Unitec packing lines.

2017 China Fresh Fruit Import and Export Statistics Released — Produce Report
Read all about it. Latin America exporters were the source of a quarter of China’s fresh fruit consumption last year. Chile lost the top spot it had taken from Thailand — imports of Chilean fruit to China fell to $1b (18% of total) from $1.18b (24% of total) in 2016.

China fruit imports.png

El Parlamento panameño ratifica tres convenios entre Panamá y China — El Economista América
Panama ratifies deals inked with China — BNamericas
Panama's congress has ratified three agreements that President Varela closed on his state visit last year. The agreements allow for the establishment of a flight to China, allowing Air China to begin its flights via Houston, expected later this month; easier sea transportation for Panamanian-flagged ships in Chinese ports; and for the building of a Chinese Embassy.

Presidente de Costa Rica ve en acuerdos Panamá-China oportunidad para Centroamérica — Xinhua
Panama’s healthy relationship with China is an opportunity for Central America, said Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis at Expocomer in Panama: “whether it is in the diplomatic and commercial, or just commercial, this can be an opportunity for further integration and mutual benefit”.

Histórico acuerdo entre China y la Argentina para resguardar la propiedad intelectual y evitar la piratería industrial — Infobae
China and Argentina have inked an intellectual property agreement, intended to protect patents and ensure the quality of traded goods: “it establishes the need for patent protection as a key element to foment technological innovation and increase economic development,” says Argentine ambassador Diego Guelar.

Imbert slams PP for $1.4B claim — TT Newsday
Trinidad’s finance minister Colm Imbert slammed the previous (opposition) government for cancelling the Altruint aluminum complex project deal with China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC), who is now suing the country for $201m.

Argentina: Administración Federal de Ingresos Públicos inició el mes con nuevos cambios —  Segundo Enfoque
Argentina’s Administración Federal de Ingresos Públicos (AFIP), responsible for setting duty on imports and exports, has a new executive director: Leandro Cuccioli, who knows China, having work there for BP on wind power ventures.

Empresas chinas como opción para el sistema eléctrico — El Nuevo Dia
In an op-ed, Cecilia Joy Pérez points out Puerto Rico government’s failure to consider any Chinese companies in their task to rehabilitate the island with electricity. She praises Chinese companies for being adaptable to complex environments and their commitment to renewable energy, and, while not perfect, should definitely be included as part of rigorous evaluation to bring light back to Puerto Rico.

Especialistas chinos recorren áreas naturales en Perú para replicar en su país modelo de protección — La República
Specialists from China’s State Forestry Ministry (SFA) visited ongoing projects by Peru’s National Service for State Protected Natural Areas (SERNANP), in charge of managing over 70 natural reserves, to gather information on Peru’s conservation strategies.

“El sector empresarial no tiene iniciativa", la queja del embajador en China — El Intrasigente
An interview with Argentine ambassador in China, Diego Guelar, in which he worries about the country’s deficit with China due to a lack of more diverse products to sell, as China exports higher valued technological products while Argentina centers on raw materials. He also laments fruitless efforts to show China Argentina’s comparative advantage over different products.

Conoce los costos y rendimientos de los vehículos 100% eléctricos en el Perú — Andina
Electric vehicles, motorbikes, and bicycles, are well into the Peruvian market — all coming from China: “They are practical, don’t contaminate, and don’t need much upkeep,” said Alembert Ávalos, commercial director of importer Ecoride.

Perú se consolida como segundo proveedor mundial de
Exportación de paltas generó 580 millones de dólares — El Economista America
Peru’s agricultural export increased 3%, generating $580m, and  became the 2nd biggest exporter of avocado in the world, surely benefitting from this avo-toast craze. China, Chile, US, Holland, Spain, and the UK are its biggest importers.  

China y Brasil, principal destino de los envíos de granos en 2017 — Telam
Estados Unidos y China dominan el mercado agroexportador argentino — La Politica Online
China is importing 87% of Argentina’s soybean exports.

¿Por qué Colombia no fabrica sus propios celulares? — Espectador
Julián Orozco, product manager for Colombian cellular company Kalley, argues the need for increased tech manufacturing activity in Latin America as to allow regional companies to compete with cheaper labour In China — those tech investors seem to be in luck.

Xiaomi prepara otro evento en México, ¿más smartphones chinos en camino? — Xataka
Chinese electronics company Xiaomi keeps Mexico in the dark after inviting its tech industry to a mysterious press event on March 13, rumored to be for another product release, following the introduction of the Redmi Norte 5A Prime in late January.

Customs delay snags ferry journey in China — T&T Guardian
We spoke too soon on this one, as the wayward Galleon's Passage ferry has incurred customs delays on its way to Hong Kong to eventually arrive in Trinidad and Tobago.

ESPECIAL: El apetito chino beneficia a sectores exportadores de América Latina — Xinhua
Feature: Chinese appetite benefits Latin American export-related sectors — Xinhua
Trade access crucial ahead of challenging year for Australia — Global Meat News
China’s growing middle class and globalized appetite is fueling Latin America’s agroindustry, having created 1.3m new jobs in 2017. With so many countries and so many different products one may wonder the extent of this growth, but as Daniel Castiglioni, CEO of Uruguay’s Casti Beef, points out: “the market is big enough for everyone.”

Afianzan promoción comercial entre NL y provincia china — El Economista
The Mexican State of Nuevo Léon will open an office of representation in Hangzhou, China, to encourage bilateral relations and especially promote the Hofusan Industrial Park in Salinas Victoria.

Managing Sludge Mountains: What Beijing Can Learn From Brazil — New Security Beat
Researchers at the China Environment Forum posit that Brazil’s sludge-to-energy plants may serve as a blueprint for rapidly expanding cities, such as Beijing, on how to set up sustainable and effective water treatment projects. China’s water-stressed environment would particularly benefit from such projects and now may be a good time to start due to current regulatory and financial momentum.

Arremetida china en América Latina: ¿en qué países y sectores está invirtiendo más? — El Observador
El Observador’s long-read on China-LAC relations highlights Brazil, Peru, and Argentina have received the most Chinese FDI from 2001-2016, and the region’s power to become China’s main source of raw materials, an increasingly scarce group of commodities.


Japón dona apoyo para reconstrucción de escuela en Chiapas — Yucatan
Japan’s government has just donated $78k for the reconstruction of a federal primary school in Miraflores, Mexico, as part of their agreement following the earthquake in September 2017.

Los superalimentos latinoamericanos invaden Tokio — Ultima Hora
“Superalimentos" latino-americanos invadem feira alimentar no Japão — Agencia Brasil
Latin American superfoods showed at Tokyo's gastronomic fair Foodex 2018. Popular exports include chia, quinoa, and a ‘super coffee’ from Peru; chia and sesame from Argentina; and of course, Brazil’s trendy amazonian fruit, açaí.

Japón excluye al agro nacional — Portafolio
Portafolio’s columnist laments Japan’s exclusion of high-interest agricultural, meat, and fish products from its bilateral trade agreement with Colombia, and hopes for renegotiation before ratification.


Shinhan Bank opens first branch in Mexico — Korea JoongAng Daily
Shinhan Bank opened its first branch in Mexico on Wednesday, following approval from Banxico in December. Shinhan is the first Korean bank to operate in Mexico. It plans to begin by focusing on offering financial services to Korean residents and companies, and then expand into corporate and retail services for Mexican clients by 2022.

Exportadores preocupados ya que Guatemala no se sumó al TLC con Corea del Sur — El Economista
The Guatemalan Exporters Association (AGEXPORT) laments having left “in our neighbors’ hands the opportunities” gained from the South Korea-Central America FTA — which Guatemala opted out of — but the association has expressed there is still time to join if the government moves fast enough.

Presentan ventajas de ZEE Lázaro Cárdenas — El Economista
The recently formed Special Economic Zone of Lázaro Cárdenas - La Unión (ZEE) in Mexico, encompassing the country’s most important port, is taking the show on the road. Michoacán Secretary of the Economy Jesús Melgoza Velásquez met with Kim Sang-Il, the new Korean Ambassador in Mexico, about the advantages of investing in the ZEE.

Ecuador shrimp farms eye growth, South Korean market in 2018 — Undercurrent News
Ecuador’s shrimp is now the nation’s most exported commodity after oil, and it’s looking to go further — after getting into the Brazilian market last year, Ecuador now seeks to increase direct exports to China and achieve an FTA with South Korea. While there’s an expected 9% growth for 2018, executive president of Ecuador’s National Aquaculture Chamber, José Antonio Camposano points those figures might be exceeded.

Northeast Asia arbitrage for Colombian coal reopens: sources — Hellenic Shipping News
Platts data show delivery of Colombian thermal coal to Northeast Asia is now even more favourable than to its usual, closer, Atlantic Basin markets, which has experienced sharp declines. Amongst the Asian countries with most demand for the Colombian commodity are South Korea and Japan, but China has increased its imports.


India blocked WTO ministerial declaration agreement in December: US — India Times
Despite Argentina’s diplomatic efforts, the World Trade Organization (WTO) 11th Ministerial Conference in Argentina on December 2017 failed to sign a declaration reaffirming the principles and objectives of the WTO.

ASEAN & Oceania-LAC   

Australia: Sweeping changes set for asparagus, pomegranate imports — Fresh Fruit Portal
TPP integration won’t be without its hitches. Australian authorities are cracking down on asparagus from Mexico and Peru after consistently finding pest amongst the produce; all that means is Australia may enforce mandatory treatment for these goods before they leave their home countries.

Growing trade and investment with Brazil —
Australia’s trade minister, Steven Ciobo, will visit Brazil, its most important Latin American partner, for the first time in four years in order to promote furthering bilateral relations.

Global firm expands Latin American offering — Australasian Lawyer
DLA Piper Global Law Firm, Australian Bazzi Lawyers, and Chile’s Noguera, Larraín & Dulanto, have announced a merger resulting in a 60-lawyer firm in Chile known as DLA Piper BAD NLD.

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Latam is sheltered from Chinese company asset sales

Up Front

This article is available in Chinese: 中国公司接下来是否会售拉美资产

Last week's news about insurance company An Bang — and recent headlines about HNA, Dalian Wanda, and Fosun — show that the Chinese government is increasing it’s oversight of activity by Chinese firms overseas. The block-buster news has shown Chinese firms calling off purchase of or selling off assets such as tech companies, the Golden Globes, and even Atlético Madrid. In the most extreme case — such as that of the famed Waldorf-Astoria hotel in midtown Manhattan — ending up with assets ultimately, if indirectly, under government ownership. Officially these moves have been spurred by overhanging debt and liquidity concerns at these companies.

This flurry of activity has people scratching their heads and asking: after over a decade of purchases in by Chinese firms in the region, is Latin America next? Is the foreign direct investment (FDI) pipeline going to dry up?

While there are regular reminders that policymakers in Beijing are not afraid of bold moves, we see three reasons why the impact of this shift in policy on Latin America will be less than one might think:

  • First, many of the big Chinese firms in Latin America are State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs). As a result, definitionally they are going to act more in line with the policy goals of the Chinese government. Of the companies that are seeing the biggest impact from Chinese government influence — An Bang, HNA, or Fosun and others investing in Silicon Valley — all are private sector actors that Beijing may feel it has less control over.
  • Second, Beijing is OK with outbound FDI as long as companies “stay in their lane.” The recent trend has been focused around "business that is not related to the core business of the Chinese investor.” An Bang’s forays into Hollywood and La Liga have been far afield from the company’s core insurance business. Traditional Chinese investment focus in Latin America has been in sectors that are core to the buyer’s business — think Minmetals getting into Peruvian copper, State Grid buying generation and transmission assets in Brazil and Chile, Fosun’s purchase of Brazilian asset managers, or even Didi’s acquisition of fellow ridehsare app 99.
  • Finally, Beijing wants to push investment that is in line with Belt & Road. This week’s approval of China Merchant’s Port (CMPort) acquisition of the Paranaguá Container Terminal is a sign of things to come. As Latin America continues to be in the shadow of the Belt and Road Initiative, FDI by Chinese companies into logistics and transportation infrastructure is not going to be reigned in by Beijing. HNA may be looking to sell $16b in real estate and hotel assets, but last year’s stake in Rio’s Galeão Airport is likely to be untouched. Likewise, Chinese company activity in railways and rolling stock from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Panama will continue.

While China may love spending money on the flash that Latin America has to offer, we think Chinese FDI into the region will continue to focus on core competencies, to Latam’s benefit.

Top Stories

首次涉足拉美 招商局9亿美元控股巴西第二大港 — 财新网 (Caixin)
Parceria com empresa chinesa para controle de porto é firmada no Congresso — Senado Noticias
PARANAGUÁ: Parceria com empresa chinesa para controle de porto é firmada no Congresso — Parana Cooperativo
Empresa chinesa adquire por R$ 3,2 bilhões controle de 90% do terminal de contêineres do Porto de Paranaguá — Noticias Agricolas
China Merchants Port (CMPort) has gotten Brazilian approval for taking a 90% stake of the Paranaguá Container Terminal port in Southern Brazil, the nation’s second largest. Brazilian Senator Wellington Fagundes is quoted as saying he thinks\ the $990m acquisition will benefit both countries, as well as the rest of the continent.

滴滴公布新一轮架构调整及人事任命 — JRJ
Didi Chuxing is beefing up its presence in Latin America, following the acquisition of 99 in Brazil and the planned launch of operations in Mexico. Tony Qiu, former general manger and strategic senior director will be the new leader of international business unit.

China’s Fosun confirms US$52m purchase of Brazilian asset manager — International Investment
Chinas’s Fosun has closed its acquisition of Brazilian financial services company Guide Investimentos for $52m. Following last week’s acquisition of French fashion house Lanvin, should we expect more from Fosun in the future?  Says an analyst: “Fosun is regaining pace – it seems like a signal that political pressure is easing for the company.”

CVM manda State Grid desembolsar R$ 1 bi a mais pela CPFL Renováveis — Valor
State Grid of China’s offer to acquire Brazil’s CPFL Renovaveis judged too low — PV Magazine
CPFL Energias Renováveis informa renúncia de diretor presidente Gustavo Sousa — Reuters
Someone screwed up, to the tune of a billion reais. Last year China’s State Grid offered to buy a majority stake in CPFL Energia, Brazil’s biggest private electric company, along with its (publicly listed) renewables subsidiary CPFL Renováveis.  This week the Brazilian Securities & Exchange Commission (CVM) demanded the public offer for CPFL Renováveis shares by tripled to R$16.69 ($5.13), adding an almost R$1b ($307.1m) to the acquisition cost. In the wake of the ruling, CPFL Renováveis head Gustavo Sousa said he was retiring to “pursue new professional opportunities;" State Grid’s Brazilian subsidiary is expected to challenge the ruling.

Argentina fires on Chinese vessel 'fishing illegally' — Fox News
Guardacostas argentinos abren fuego contra barco chino — Publimetro
Argentina dispara a barco chino que pescaba ilegalmente — El Nuevo Herald
Video: Argentina dispara al casco del barco chino que pescaba ilegalmente — iProfessional
The Argentinian coast guard claims it opened fire on a Chinese vessel illegally fishing in its waters last Thursday, followed by a fruitless 8-hour chase. No one was injured in the process. Following last year’s catch-and-release of a Chinese fishing boat in Ecuadorian waters, this won’t be the last time such an incident happens.

Deuda de Bolivia con China crece, es mayor a 7 mil millones de dólares — Eju
Is Bolivia the next Ecuador? Chinese ambassador to Bolivia, Liang Yu, has said Chinese investment is planned to surpass $7b, mostly in infrastructure and industrial plants for sugar, potassium, and lithium. Bolivian bilateral debt with China has octupled to half a billion dollars over the past decade.

Mnuchin: Trump rejoining the TPP is 'on the table' —The Hill
Continuing with their apparent 2018 goal of policy confusion, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said rejoining the TPP is “on the table,” following President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the deal a week into office last year. However, former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez is pessimistic: "I can’t see this happening when Trump admin is about to announce the first step in a global trade battle."


投资32亿美元!中国新能源企业对拉美新能源市场态度积极 —
A profile of the potential of China's Trina Solar company and their interest in the Chilean solar energy space. You Hongming, vice president of Trina Solar company says that “maybe some of us have prejudice about Latin America and think it is relatively backward or developing. But matter of fact, many infrastructure and business idea of Latin America’s legal and policy system are perfect.” Alvaro García-Maltrás, head of Latin America’s reginal markets for Trina Solar upstream market says: “The growth in photovoltaic (PV) projects over the past five years was largely driven by open and competitive bidding in the region while the PV price continues to decrease.”

董秀成:一带一路投资风险非常大 — Sina
An interesting pushback on the Belt & Road hype. Energy economist Dong Xiucheng (董秀成), Director of the Oil and Gas Industry Development Research Center at China's University of Petroleum) questions the hosannahs sung for the Belt and Road Initiative — he thinks the project contains big risks for China. “I believe it is very risky, high starting point, wide range, deep impact on everything and everyone.” He thinks the expansion of Belt & Road to a global - not regional - project waters down it’s meaning. Per Dong, he sees the following risks:

  1. Geopolitical risk
  2. Country national policy and state institutions risk
  3. Commercial risk
  4. Ethnic and cultural contradictions/conflict
  5. Enterprise capability risk

Addressing those risks, he suggest the following to China:

  1. Focus on risk assessment
  2. Top-level design with communication coordination, including domestic and international coordination
  3. Deal with all kinds of competitive cooperation including international conflict
  4. Energy diplomacy
  5. Establish a multilateral mechanism for evasion and get private enterprises involved
  6. Strengthen military forces

Panamá abre las puertas de América Latina a China — Dirigentes Digital
Interview: Panama aspires to be gateway to LatAm for Chinese tourism — Xinhua
Panamá puede potenciar turismo chino hacia América Latina, afirma ministro — Panama On
Panama is eager to become China’s point man in Latin America. This week the country will be featured at the International Tourism Fair in Guangzhou, hoping to familiarize the Chinese with the small country. Next month Air China will start biweekly flights to Panama City.

青岛走进巴拿马开展合作交流引当地关注 —
A write up of last months’ agreements between Qingdao and Panama. Rumor has it a second delegation will be headed to Panama in April.

Mobike llega a CDMX para frenar la polémica contra las bicicletas compartidas — Hipertextual
Mobike, the Chinese bike-sharing company, launched in the Mexico City neighborhood of Miguel Hidalgo. After only a week, the local government has already requested more bikes.

Turning tides: Chinese cash flows into Latin America — Axios
Axios' cheat sheet on Chinese investment in Latin America covers familiar ground (if you read this), but has a couple of nuggets, like: China’s global investment reached $217b in 2016, catching up to the US’ $311b.

China's Huawei set to lead global charge to 5G networks — Reuters
China’s Huawei is set to become the world’s largest 5G network and already has 25 memorandums of understanding with countries around the world to trial their equipment. What’s missing? Latin America.

出海记|中国企业走出去新闻2月排行:吉利、招商局、福田上榜 — 参考消息 (Cankaoxiaoxi)
Media company Cankaoxiaoxi reviewed the coverage of 42 Chinese companies “going out” to Latin America in 15 publications such as (Reuters, the Wall Street Journal, AFP) and ranked them according to factors such as size of the company, impact of the incident comprehensive assessment, overall performance and so on. Their top ten Chinese firms in the region are: Geely, China Merchants Group, Foton, UnionPat, OPPO, YINGLI, BY-HEALTH, BYD, ZTE, and Interestingly, they suggest Chinese SMEs looking to goto Latin America should talk to their big brothers for lessons learned.

Mexico looks to boost trade with China as NAFTA talks falter — China Dialogue
Are we to expect a burgeoning love affair between Mexico and China? As NAFTA talks falter, Qiu Xiaoqi, Chinese ambassador to Mexico, says relations are ripe for a trade agreement. But Enrique Dussel Peters, of the Centre for China-Mexico Studies (UNAM), says China represents only 1% of Mexico’s exports and an FTA would also spark environmental and social challenges.

墨西哥物流市场:等待真正的创新 — 36 Kr
Following their announced partnership earlier this year, Magma Partners and Kr Space are doing some deep sectoral dives. Firs up: the Mexican logistics market. They note that even though FedEx, UPS, DHL, etc., have invested millions of dollars in Mexico, logistics in Mexico has not seen substantial innovation and progress in the past 20 years — as anyone who has followed a Pemex tanker truck up a windy two lane road will tell you. While they see an opportunity for Chinese logistics firms to go into the market — unless infrastructure is improved, bottlenecks will remain.

Argentina apunta al turismo chino… a través de México — Forbes
José Gustavo Santos, Argentinian Tourism Minister, made his way to Mexico City to launch a deal with Mexico to target Chinese tourists. Argentina receives about 62k tourists from China, but lacks a direct flight. By joining forces with Mexico, it hopes to increase that number to 150k.

Los vinos de Australia y Chile conquistan China, quinto consumidor mundial — Marco Trade News
China is the fifth largest wine consumer in the world, and Chile and Australia are taking over its imports. China just became Chile’s most important wine importer and Australian imports have increased by 63%, but China is also investing int he industry — Changyu Pioneer Wine recently purchased a majority share in Australia’s Kilikanoon winery and last year bought three vineyards from Chile’s Bethia group.  Salud!

Galleons Passage to leave China next Tuesday —loopTT
Galleon's Passage leaves China, headed for T&T — loopTT
Trinidad & Tobabgo’s long-awaited ferry — Galleon’s Passage — finally left China on Tuesday, Feb 26, following delays and Chinese New Year celebrations. Let’s hope nothing happens on it’s month-long voyage to Port-of-Spain.

Agri-Food Trade Grows Between Mexico and China — Prensa Latina
Mexican agricultural exports to China increased 54%, reaching $321m in 2017.

Dole and Camposol Bring “Peruvian Flame Mangoes” to Market in China —Fresh Plaza
Peruvian Camposol and Dole have teamed up to offer Chinese consumers ‘Peruvian Flame Mangoes’ right in time for the Spring Festival.

Investigan un presunto "dumping" con prendas traídas de China, Brasil y Perú — La Voz
The Argentinian Secretary of Commerce has begun an investigation on supposed denim dumping by Brazil, Peru, and China.

Brasil e Alemanha se unem para fazer frente à China no mercado de terras raras — Terra
Brazil is working with Germany in order to develop it's rare-earth elements reserves, which is second only to China (who controls 90% of the market). The REGINA (Rare Earth Global Industry and New Application) project unites seven research institutions from each nation, creating potential for a shift in rare earth elements dependency for many countries, including Germany.

Comercio entre el Perú y China superó los US$ 20,000 millones. — El Peruano
China has been Peru’s main economic partner since 2014, and commercial activity surpassed $20b in 2017. Hao Qinmei at the Chinese embassy in Peru says the Belt and Road Initiative will only improve their bilateral relations.

China intensifica la compra de campos y Argentina es una de las preferidas — Cronista
China’s drier lands and dietary transformation are pushing more purchases of arable land in Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia; since 2012, about 9 million hectares of land have been bought.

Brazil grabs bigger share of China soybean imports from U.S. in January - customs — Reuters
Brazil’s soybean exports to China peaked in 2017 and seem to expand as it surpassed US imports in January, up 720% from one year ago.

China y el reino de los cielos — Clarin
Loris Zanatta tackles misperceptions about China’s involvement in Latin America in an op-ed. Arguing that it isn’t "just business," Zanatta claims that China continues to espouse the values it defies through the promotion of neoliberalism.

Rusia y China revisan relaciones con Latinoamérica y el Caribe — Radio La Primerisima
Chinese Foreign Ministry director general of the Department of Latin America and the Caribbean, Zhao Bentang, will hosting his Russian counterpart, Aleksander Shchetinin, in Beijing to discuss matters of interests and development in the region — maybe Rex Tillerson’s remarks will be used as an ice breaker?

Cuban cigar sales hit record as China demand surges — Reuters
Sales for Cuban cigars, from Habanos S.A., jumped 33% in 2017 on Chinese demand, leading to a 12% increase in the company’s revenue.

Empresa mexicana de chatbots se expande en China — Expansion
Mexican Chatbot company Yalo Chat, one of Facebook’s main partners, will be opening an office in Shanghai.

La civilización de China y la de América Latina se complementan a la perfección (Foro de Autoridad) — Spanish People Daily
You can add “One Canvas” to “One Belt, One Road”, as cultural exchange continues to increase between China and Latin America, through exhibitions, foreign literature, and higher demand for language courses.

Does China Understand Latin America Better than the U.S.? — China-US Focus
Our friend Margaret Myers at the Inter-American Dialogue says Latin America does not need lectures from the US on how to handle China. The US should focus on strengthening its ties to the continent by pursuing mutually beneficial demand driven policy.

Gov’t to Spend $12 Billion on Road Infrastructure Works — Jamaica Information Service
The Jamaican House of Representatives has approved $12b in funds for the Major Infrastructure for Development Programme (MIDP), which is being implemented by the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation with funding support from China EXIM.

AL y China estrechan lazos comerciales —El Nuevo Diario
ECLAC recently released study on the region and China showing Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean have a trade deficit, while Brazil, Chile, and Peru have surpluses — the rest of South America is close to equilibrium. This is due to the different resources the nations are able to export. 88% of Chinese investment in the region is on energy and mining, and the remaining 12% on agriculture, the financial sector, and others.

Pymes de Florencio Varela se unen para exportar a China. — El Cronista
Buenos Aires-based SMEs focused on petrochemicals, foodstuff, and leather manufacturers have begun exporting to Cantón, China, following agreements reached during the Zhuhai Summit last year.


Panamá y Corea del Sur eliminarán aranceles a la exportación — La Estrella
El 95% de los bienes sin gravámenes, gracias a TLC Centroamérica-Corea del Sur — El Nuevo Diario
Corea del Sur y Centroamérica firman Tratado de Libre Comercio — El Economista
Ventas a Corea del Sur podrían subir $44 mill con el TLC — La Prensa Gráfica
Plenty of continuous coverage on the recently signed South Korea-Central America Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which eliminates taxes for over 95% of traded goods between the 6 nations. El Salvador expects exports to South Korea to reach $44m.

Chile launches its fresh fruit export offer in South Korea — Fresh Plaza
How do you say “Chile Week” in Korean? The Association of Chilean Fruit Exporters (ASOEX) will be carrying out a campaign in Korea’s E-mart supermarket to highlight Chile’s diverse offerings, including table grapes, cranberries, and cherries. Korea is Chile’s third major fruit importer in Asia.


Bachelet destaca en Japón el valor del TPP en su último viaje como presidenta — El Diario
Presidenta Bachelet y emperador Akihito destacan la relación entre Chile y Japón — La Tercera
Bachelet regresa a Chile tras última gire presidencial —SIPSE
Japón y Chile cooperarán para acelerar la aplicación del TPP11 — La Vanguardia
During President Bachelet’s last trip abroad in Tokyo, she singled out TPP as an “engine to overcome protectionism” and, together with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, boasted Argentina’s successful relationship with Japan. China may be leading in foreign investment, but Japan is making large diplomatic strides as well. Bachelet will be handing her government to Sebastián Piñera on March 11, three days after the TPP is expected to be signed in Santiago. Foreign Ministers Toshimitsu Motegi and Heraldo Muñoz have agreed they will do their best to get TPP off the ground as soon as possible, emphasizing Chile and Japan as the moving forces behind the deal.

Representante do Ministério das Relações Exteriores do Japão visita Brasil e Peru — Portal Mie
Japón dona ambulancias y vehículos a los bomberos — El Peruano
Iwao Horii, Japanese Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, will be making trips to Brazil and Peru. In São Paulo, he will visit the recently inaugurated $100m Japan House, paid for by Tokyo, and offer Lima and Madre de Dios region in southeast Peru $119m in fire engines and ambulances.

Argentina – Japón: Faurie destacó el crecimiento del número de empresas japonesas en nuestro país — Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto República Argentina
In the celebrations of the 120 years of diplomatic relations between Argentina and Japan, Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie remarked that in the past two years there has been a 100% increase in the presence of Japanese firms in his country.

Ecuador presentará en México y Japón su oferta culinaria — El Telégrafo
Ecuador will be promoting its culinary prowess next month at the Feria Internacional Expo Antad 2018 in Guadalajara, Mexico, and at Foodex Japan.

Chile firma Memorándum de Entendimiento en Deporte y Actividad Física con Japón — Cooperativa
Also around Bachelet’s trip, Chilean Sports Minister Pablo Squella and Daichi Suzuki, head of the Japan Sports Agency, signed a MoU on the promotion of sport and physical activity.

Compañías japonesas proyectan inversiones millonarias en minería y petróleo — Marco Trade News
Argentina's Horacio Reyser, Economic Relations Secretary, affirmed Japanese investment potential could reach $20b in 10 years. Now it’s up to Argentina to become more cost competitive.


Bunge's coveted Argentina plants lure ADM takeover approach — Reuters
About 60 percent of Argentine soyoil went to India and Bangladesh last year. ADM is looking to buy 22 soy-crushing plants that feed that trade from Bunge for $16b.

India to double state purchases of oilseeds, pulses to help farmers — The Star
However, the Indian government may be looking to stop that flow of oil. India imports most of it’s vegetable oils from Brazil and Argentina, along with Malaysia and Indonesia. Over the next five years, the state is going to buy 190 billion rupees (US$2.9 billion) worth of those oils from local farmers to try to stymie those imports.

ASEAN & Oceania-LAC

Perth stopover on world-first flight linking South America and Asia to boost WA tourism — The West Australian
Norwegian Air Argentina — the newly established local brand of Norwegian Air —  is looking at a route connecting South America and Asia, with Perth, Australia as a stopover.  Approval for the Buenos Aires-Perth route has been received, and now the airline is looking for rights to fly on to Singapore. Argentinian ambassador to Australia, Hugo Gobbi, said this route “would be a real game changer for both Argentina and Australia,” and in a more macro scale, all three continents.


How Dubai is building bridges and partnerships in Latin America — Arabian Business
Dubai can fill gaps in Latin America economies — Al Ghurair — Gulf News
The Second Global Business Forum on Latin America was hosted in Dubai this week. Majid Saif Al Ghurair, Dubai Chamber chairman, said they plan to open new offices in the continent and they are “well aware of what the growth opportunities in Latin America can offer.”

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Lithium Powering pan-Asian Interest in Latam

Up Front

This article is available in Chinese: 锂看上去对横跨亚洲的公司有益.

You know when China, Japan, South Korea, and Elon Musk are chasing the same dream, it has to be big.

Over 50% of the world’s lithium is in the so-called "Lithium Triangle" of Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile. As the Economist pointed out last year, each country is taking a very different approach to the development of the resource.

Argentina, making up for lost time under more protectionist governments, is working to overcome other hinderances. Provinces, not the central government, control minerals (per Article 124 of the Constitution), although the Macri administration last year negotiated an agreement with provinces putting a 3% ceiling on royalties. Lithium from northwest Argentina is exported over the Andes via Chile. As a result, the Argentine lithium market is surging, with local players such as Lithium Americas selling a 19.9% stake last January to China’s Ganfeng Lithium, in which Ganfeng will take 70% of production from the Cauchari-Olaroz brine deposit joint-venture with Chile’s Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile (SQM).

Bolivia is the sleeping giant of the triumvirate, with reserves as big as Argentina’s, but production a lot lower. A 2010 law establishing state control of lithium brine extraction. As a result, Bolivia has moved slowly in lithium's “white gold” rush. The country made it’s first shipment of lithium to China in August of 2016 — a whopping 25 tons. Last month Evo Morales said he wants Bolivia to be the 'Saudi Arabia of lithium' and "set the price for all the world.” But with the Chinese pushing "more coordination” between the two countries — and underwriting the budding Bolivian Space Agency —  Bolivia runs the risk of being the next Ecuador, with China controlling the production of a vital resource, all in the name of “national sovereignty."

Chile ostensibly is the leader of the pack with the most developed infrastructure around the resource, but it actually has the smallest reserves of the three. The two current extractors, SQM and Albemarle are both publicly listed and recently had their licenses extended beyond the next decade. China’s Tianqi Lithium bought 2% of SQM in 2016, and rumors have swirled about different suitors looking for another stake — from Long Island's Renaissance Technologies to China's Ningbo Shanshan and Sinochem (although Sinochem turned around in 24 hours and denied pursuing a $4b stake) to others (every discussion of lithium has to have the obligatory Elon Musk and Tesla reference, and Chile has that, too). True to form, Chile's market-friendly approach is positioning the country to move up the value chain. Chinese auto companies such as BYD have talked to Chilean lithium producers about potential deals to secure supplies of the key battery material. And BAIC Group has even pursued building an assembly plant in Chile so as to take advantage of the lithium.

While the Chinese have expressed interest, like they do for all raw materials, when you’re talking about lithium in Latam, you’re not just talking about China. There are very few spaces where other Asian countries can compete with China in Latin America. But in lithium they do.

In Argentina, Sales de Jujuy is a joint venture between Australia's Orocobre Limited, Japanese trading company Toyota Tsusho Corporation (TTC) and JEMSE (the Mining Company of the Argentina provincial government of Jujuy).  And last year BCP Innovation, a subsidiary of Thailand’s Bangchak Petroleum took a 16.4% stake in Lithium Americas, who had also been long-courted by Korea’s POSCO.

In Chile, the ongoing speculation in who will take a stake in SQM circles around not just Chinese names, but also the likes of Australia’s Rio Tinto, who worked with Canada’s Wealth Minerals and Chinese private equity firm GSR Capital to look at stake in SQM.

And the biggest lithium project of them all, Chile’s Development of Added Value Projects of Lithium request for proposals (RFP), shows how other Asia firms are competing with Chinese companies. Through an agreement with Albemarle, the winner of the RFP will get guaranteed the lowest price for long-term contracts for an initial 6700 tons scaling up to 16,000 tons through 2044. Needless to say, this piqued the interest of a lot of producers. Of the seven that made the short list, China's Fulin Group, Jiangmen KanHoo Industry, and Gansu DET will be competing with South Korea's Samsung SDI — to say nothing of local champion Molymet.

With the results of the RFP due any day now, China’s dominance in acquiring raw materials in Latin America may be challenged.  As the Winter Olympics wind down, Korea’s biggest win maybe not in gold, but lithium.

Top Stories

S. Korea and Five Central American Countries Signed Free Trade Agreement — Business Korea
Comitiva hondureña viaja a Corea del Sur para firmar TLC — La Prensa
Central American nations to sign trade deal with South Korea — Yahoo News
Firma del TLC entre Corea y Nicaragua — Forbes
Preparando el nuevo escenario comercial entre Corea-Centroamérica — El Heraldo
Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras, Costa Rica, and El Salvador signed the Korea-Central America Free Trade Agreement in Seoul this week. After ratification by the respective countries, the FTA is expected to kick in by June. South Korea also has FTAs with Peru and Chile, and is looking to sign one soon with Colombia.

Consolidando los lazos con Japón… y sus vecinos — La Prensa Austral
Carne de cerdo, frutas y vinos: los sectores más beneficiados por el “nuevo" TPP sin EE.UU. — Economía y Negocios
Michelle Bachelet viaja a Japón con el TPP como tema principal de su agend — Notimerica
Guajardo: Con el TPP-11 y TLCAN, México tendrá lo mejor de dos mundos — Televisa News
Mnuchin says Washington studying possible return to TPP through renegotiation — Japan Times
Publican versión final del TPP, reglas impulsadas por EEUU quedan en suspenso — Swissinfo
Trans-Pacific Partnership fever - can you feel it? President Michelle Bachelet's final trip is to Japan this weekend, to finish details ahead of next month's signing. Mexican Secretary of the Economy Ildefonso Guajardo is optimistic that the deal will be a complement to his country’s position in NAFTA. Even the US is having second thoughts, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin saying the Trump administration is considering rejoining the TPP if they are able to secure better terms. With the clauses the US wanted still in the TPP — albeit suspended — the US might be able to get back into the club, but not under “better terms.” It might not even get some of those clauses reinstated.

La petrolera china Sinopec decidió quedarse en Argentina y ahora sale a buscar un socio — Bae Negocios
Fracasó el intento de Galuccio para quedarse con la petrolera china Sinopec — Diario Uno
Should the stay or should they go? Once rumored to be leaving, Chinese refinery Sinopec has decided to stay in Argentina and is looking for partners, of which local champion YPF and Pluspetrol are candidates. Sinopec’s decision was driven by Beijing’s incredulity at the $450m offer by Vista — headed by former YPF boss Miguel Galuccio — for assets Sinopec bought for $2.6b in 2010. A source close to Sinopec says:

“The Chinese government requests that such a loss be justified. Since no one can explain such a difference, and also since the price of a barrel of crude oil is rising steadily, there’s no longer any reason to leave."

Japan’s Mitsui wants more of Chile's Collahuasi copper mine, but none of Los Pelambres — Mining
Japonesa Mitsui reestructura inversiones en Chile para elevar producción de cobre — La Tercera
Japonesa Mitsui aumenta participación en mina de cobre Collahuasi en Chile — SwissInfo
Mitsui furthers mining portfolio with deals in Chile — Mining-Technology
Shuffling the cards? Mitsui is restructuring its copper investments in Chile by attaining minority interests in several different mines, or as they call it, “strategic asset recycling”. It will sell its 1.25% stake in Los Pelambres, but increase its stake to 11.03% in Collahuasi.

Visto eletrônico aumenta entrada de turistas no Brasil, confirma Embratur — IstoÉ
The Brazilian Tourist Board (Embratur) is chuffed about their new electronic visas for the US, Canada, Australia, and Japan. According to Vinicius Lummertz, Embratur’s president, the next step is to open Brazil to the Chinese market; discussions are supposedly already underway.


中国 对拉美直接投资超2000亿美元 跨境电商、共享创新合作业态多元化 — 21世纪经济报道 (21 Jing Ji)
In a report entitled “China’s FDI into Latin America Exceeds $200billion; E-commerce, Shared Economy, and Diversification” (中国 对拉美直接投资超2000亿美元 跨境电商、共享创新合作业态多元化) Alibaba's Cross Border E-commerce Research Center lays out it’s analysis of the potential for e-commerce in Latin America. They note that Brazil is the largest e-commerce market in Latin America — almost half of the total. Alibaba and Brazil’s postal service company Correios established a partnership in 2014, and AliExpress is sought after in Brazil. Last year Alibaba signed e-commerce agreements with Argentina and Mexico; it says it’s B2B business in the two countries already have millions of registered users. The Wan Fu Shan Industrial Park is the first large-scale industrial park developed by China in Mexico; it’s China's second largest overseas industrial park.

New ferry still docked in China — Guardian
New ferry delayed in China* — Daily Express
Chinese New Year delays Tobago ferry — Guardian
Trinidad and Tobago still has a lot to learn about China — delivery of the long-awaited new ferry to connect the two islands has been held up by Lunar New Year celebrations.

Automotriz china BAIC prepara inversión millonaria para construir fábrica en México — Xinhua
Chinese automaker BAIC to open first plant in Mexico — Xinhua
BAIC is moving forward with it’s plans to build a plant in Mexico. According to country director Jimena Saenz, BAIC plans to invest close to $1b in its first plant in Mexico. Saenz sees the opportunity beyond the uncertainty: “The commitment of BAIC with Mexico is long term, we’re looking much more to the future than to whatever happens” with NAFTA.

Arriban al puerto de Buenos Aires 20 nuevas locomotoras chinas — Xinhua
The twenty locomotives built by CRRC Ziyang for Buenos Aires’ suburban San Martín line have arrived in Buenos Aires. In total CRRC is building 107 locomotives, 3500 wagons, tools and materials.

Bici compartida , la industria que genera 1,700 MDD en China llega a México — Expansion
Mobike, desde China llega a Ciudad de México otra plataforma de bicicleta compartida — Xataka
Chinese deckles bikeshare companies Mobike and VBike are in Mexico. Mobike is launching a 200 bike pilot program, while VBike says it’s rolling out 5,000 in the delegación Benito Juárez. But VBike thinks it’ll only need 50,000 bikes for the whole country, so someone’s math seems off.

China tiene mucho que festejar (también en su comercio con México) — Forbes
México debe negociar con Asia: Torres Corzo — El Sol de San Luis
China es el gran ganador del TLCAN, asegura académico de la UNAM — La Jornada
Ni China ni EU son opción, México debe cambiar por dentro y ya no esclavizar su mano de obra: Simón Levy-Dabbah — La Vanguardia
China también es importante — Reporte Indigo
Mexican ambition is soaring. Enrique Dussel Peters, coordinator for the center of Sino-Mexican studies at the Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), reprimands Mexico for its lack of Mexican professionals dedicated to China, both in the private and public sector, wasting investment opportunities. Co-founder of Agendasia, Simón Levy, also points out Mexico needs a solid business model in order to excel as an industrial nation — just like China did. Senator Teófilo Torres Corzo, President of the Asian-Pacific Commission, has also remarked the need for Mexico to establish short-term investment strategies with Asia, which have invigorated the national economy in the recent past.

Chile releases cherry promotional video for Chinese New Year — Fresh Fruit Portal
It’s all about the cherries! The Chilean Cherry Committee release a video ahead of CNY to celebrate the occasion and remind consumers about cherry readiness in China.

A China sabe muito sobre o Brasil e o Brasil sabe muito pouco sobre a China — El Pais
#longread on China’s increasing presence in the West from FGV’s Oliver Stuenkel, in which he echoes our point by emphasizing that Brazil needs a China strategy, because China has a Brazil strategy.

América Latina: la última frontera de la rivalidad entre China y Estados Unidos — El Observador
Pese a Trump, el comercio de México con Rusia y China creció; advierten que EU va a tomar ‘venganza' — Vanguardia
EEUU se alarma por lazos de Rusia, Irán y China con Latinoamérica — HispanTV
China-Latin American ties prove US criticism wrong — Global Times
The weekly chin-strokes on what China (and Russia, and even Iran...) means for the US in Latin America. The most sober assessment is from Adm. Kurt Tidd, of United States Southern Command (Miami’s own Southcom) in his presentation of Southcom’s annual Posture Statement to Congress. China, of course, says everything is fine.

Las empresas peruanas apuntanal mercado de lujo en China — El Peruano
Chinese consumers are increasingly seeking luxury goods, and Peru thinks it can meet that need with Alpaca and Vicuña made products.

Argentina logró un acuerdo histórico para exportar carne a China — El Liberal
Fuerte crítica a los exportadores del embajador argentino en China — Clarin
El boom del “bife argentino", motorizado por China: las exportaciones de carne fueron las más altas en ocho años — iProfesional
Se duplicó la exportación de carne vacuna a China — La Voz
The Argentine beef industry is struggling with the opportunity presented by China. On the one hand, exports to China doubled in 2017. On the other, the Argentine Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Meats and Products (Ciccra) is complaining that their members are having to bend over backwards to meet China's phytosanitary requirements, requirements Ciccra says that Argentina had previously rejected. Argentine Ambassador in Beijing Diego Guelar is having none of it, and that his countrymen need to get with the program: “We need to profoundly review our export policy. Especially in the meatpacking sector.”

Peleas políticas, demoras y mucho malestar: entretelones de la puja entre China y Argentina por una central nuclear — Infobae
It’s not all joy between China and Argentina in nuclear power, either. A proposed $7b nuclear power plant has been blocked by local Río Negro province governor Alberto Weretilneck. The project may get moved to the existing Atucha plant at Zárate, Buenos Aires Province.

China supera EUA no ranking dos maiores compradores da região — Gazeta de Taubaté
Brazil’s Paraiba valley has traditionally exported it’s dairy products to the US. However last month China became the region’s biggest export market, consuming $108m in products.

Colombia quiere seducir a los turistas chinos — Expreso
The amount of Chinese tourists in Colombia increased almost four-fold between 2012 and 2017, and Colombia is seeking to attract more. Will it race Peru to attracting one million Chinese tourists a year?

Chile fortaleza relaciono con China en investigación antártica — Radio Polar
Chile firma convenio con China para investigación en la Antártica — Il Pinguino
China certainly isn’t picky about its reach. Chile and the Asian tiger have signed a memorandum of understanding making official the joint scientific investigation in the Arctic ocean.

Exportadores chilenos de frutas buscan abrirse mercado en China con peras y nectarinas — Spanish.China
We already know the Chinese love their Chilean cherries, but Ronald Brown, president of Chilean Association of Fruit Exports (ASOEX), says they’re looking to push nectarines and pears to the Chinese market. China currently imports 12.5 tons of Chilean nectarines.

Bridge for Chesterfield to arrive in Jamaica by end of March — Jamaica Observer
Seven bridges are being fabricated in China for delivery to Jamaica by the end of March, for a cost of $2m.

Cobre lideró exportaciones del Perú con US$13.773M en 2017 — America Economia
Perú licitará proyecto de cobre Michiquillay, el más importante de última década — SwissInfo
Copper led the way as Peru’s largest export in 2017, reaching over $13b, with China, Japan, Korea, and India as some of its top export markets. Peru hopes to auction its Michiquillay deposit next week, worth $50B in projects.

Más países siguen la nueva ‘Ruta’ de China — La Razón
More than 80 countries  and organizations have joined the Belt and Road Initiative, which, according to Liang Yu, Chinese Ambassador to Colombia, has contributed to 30% of global economic growth in the last 5 years.

Indecopi impone derechos antidumping a cierres importados desde China — RPP
Peru is enforcing antidumping measures on Chinese imported zippers.

Nicaragua’s stalled US$50b canal ‘going ahead’ as funds evaporate — SCMP
We’ve found a new euphemism for “completely stopped and not going to happen."


Argentina avanza en nuevos acuerdos comerciales con Japón — Marco Trade News
AGROINDUSTRIA: Argentina y Japón avanzan en el fortalecimiento de la relación bilateral — Marco Trade News
Argentina and Japan are in the home stretch to signing a Bilateral Investment Treaty. Noriteru Fukushima, Japanese ambassador to Argentina, says Japan recognizes Argentina’s growth and would be interested in increasing its investments tenfold, reaching $1b.

Miniso prosigue la expansión en Latinoamérica con su desembarco de este año en Colombia — Fashion Network
Japanese fashion house Miniso has confirmed its first expansion into Colombia, its second Latin America country after Mexico, which already has 20 stores.

Crecen comunidad y empresas de Japón en Guanajuato, México — Prensa Latina
In response to the presence of companies like Mazda, Honda, Toyota and Nissan, Irapuato, Guanajuato, is getting its own Japanese school. The $3M investment will come directly from Tokyo.

ARGENTINA: Japan Wants To Invest In Energy And Mining Sector, Says Secretary — Interactive Investor
El fortalecimiento de la relación estratégica CAF – Japón promueve el desarrollo y la productividad de América Latina — CAF
Novedades del sector real y financiero — Infobae
Empresarios japoneses buscan incrementar sus inversiones en el país — La Nación
Japón busca desembarcar fuerte en la Argentina y envía una misión de 50 empresarios clave — Clarín
Japón enfoca su interés inversor en minería e hidrocarburos — Téla
Japón impulsa más inversiones en Argentina en energía y minería — El Economista America
Comitiva japonesa busca oportunidades de inversión energética en Argentina — El Diario Madryn
A delegation of Japanese companies led by JETRO and JICA focus on energy and mining in Buenos Aires. Horacio Reyser, Argentina’s Secretary of International Economic Relations, has said Japan’s investments in these sectors may reach up to $20b in 10 years (having already invested $1.6b in the past two years). 

Japón y Turquía están entre los TLC que el Gobierno tiene pendientes por firmar — La Republica
Japón no termina de convencer a Colombia para dar luz verde al TCL — Finanzas Pedro Luis Olivares
As Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos’ term comes to an end, several free trade agreements negotiations have yet to be ratified, including deals with Japan, Turkey, and countries form the Pacific Alliance. Let’s see if the next presidency will be able to lock down these key markets.

Japón se acerca a América Latina — El Telégrafo
#longread on Japan’s rapid and substantial involvement in Latin America since Shinzo Abe’s tour of the continent in 2014.


Empresarios de Guatemala piden al Gobierno acelerar TLC con Corea del Sur — El Economista
Empresarios de Guatemala piden al Gobierno adhesión al TCL con Corea del Sur — La Vanguardia
Afraid to be left behind by their neighbors, business in Guatemala is begging the government to sign an FTA with South Korea. Guatemala is now the only Central American nation left to do so.  Guatemala has yet to close 15 chapters, including cement, plastics, paper goods, and metals. Jorge Briz, president of Guatemala’s Chamber of Commerce (CCG), says it would be a “grave mistake” to let this TLC slip away.

Rosario estrecha vínculos con Corea del Sur — Notife
Mayor Mónica Fein of Rosario — birthplace of Che and Messi — received South Korean Ambassador Lim Ki Mo.

Perú: envíos no tradicionales a Corea del Sur sumaron US$ 196 millones — Peru
Cocoa, chestnuts, sacha indi, and fresh shrimp are among Peru’s non traditional exports to South Korea, which reached $196m in 2017.

Brasil tenta retomar exportações de carne bovina para a Coreia do Sul — Época
There’s a slight chance Brazil may get to export beef to South Korea again, reaching $2b a year. Slight.


Lithium Can Bridge The Gap Between India And Bolivia: Sergio Arispe, Bolivia’s Ambassador To India — Business World
In an interview, Bolivia’s Ambassador to India Sergio Arispe is picking up what we’re putting down, and sees the opportunity for Bolivia to reach out to India using lithium.


New Dubai Chamber report identifies fintech and renewable energy as key to boosting productivity and investment in Latin America — Arabian Business
Ahead of next week’s summit, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry has commissioned a report: “Latin America’s Emerging Sectors: A Closer Look at Fintech and Renewable Energy.” It would be awesome if they’d actually release the report, but here we are.

ASEAN & Oceania-LAC

Western hand in China’s grand plan could build trust, UK minister says — The Sydney Morning Herald
As the west cautions China’s advances, could the solution be to join them? That’s what Mark Field, British Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific, has said. Geopolitical concerns can be assuaged by bringing British and Australian expertise to the table — if you cant’ beat them, join them.  

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