Asia-LAC Business Digest — 12 Oct 2017

Up Front

China remains the next great hope for Latin American agribusiness. Over the past twenty years, feeding the world’s biggest country has driven agriculture exports of commodities such as grains, soy, and more recently proteins.

Agribusiness exports have evolved as the Chinese consumer market has evolved, with a rising Chinese middle class demanding better quality goods. Moving upmarket to meet that demand has allowed for more lucrative exports to arrive on the Chinese market, whether it’s Chilean wines (China sales up over 40% on the year), Peruvian avocados (sales up 73%), or Argentine beef (sales up 65%; but still only 11% of China’s imports, compared to Uruguay’s 30%). Exporters to new to the Chinese market, like farmers in Mexico’s Veracruz state, are lining up to join the opportunity.

Coordinated campaigns like Chile Week and the new Peruvian Super Foods campaign are both seen as touchstones for Latin American exporters of specialty products looking to expand their reach in China’s market. Peru in particular has seen exports to China up 120% over the past year, and food exports to South Korea have doubled since a bilateral FTA went into effect in 2011.

Ahead of hosting next month’s China-LAC Business summit, Uruguay has been pushing the potential for further agriculture exports, with the Vice-minister for agriculture, and animal husbandry talking about “regional synergy in agribusiness” at the summit.

But in order to really drive economic growth and development, countries in the region need to think beyond being breadbasket or fruit stand to Asia. Some efforts have been made to move up the value chain, with the Peruvian Ambassador to China discussing a “digital Belt and Road” to connect the two countries (although so far woefully vague on details). Or, as a article in Uruguay’s El Observador put it, China is “the opportunity to export more than just meat, soy, and wool.” The region should seize that opportunity, and look to business summits with China to talk about design and technology, and not just beef and blueberries.

Top Stories

¿Cuál es la visión de futuro que tiene Alibaba? — Perú Retail
Alibaba quiere ser el puente del e-Commerce mexicano con China — Expansión
Alibaba launches $15 billion overseas R&D drive — Reuters
Alibaba keeps Latin America guessing. Alibaba Vice President Brian Wong visited the ECSE e-commerce conference in Mexico city last week, pushing the opportunity for Mexican SMEs on the digital retail giant. Wong echoed the message that Alibaba has pushed elsewhere in North America in it’s Gateway events, without mentioning those by name. While Alibaba has not officially established itself in Mexico, ProMéxico announced that the company — along with eBay and UPS — will participate in the “México a un click” digital sales promotion program. Separately, Alibaba announced it’s $15b "DAMO Academy” research hub drive, with locations in China, Israel, the United States, Russia and Singapore — but not Latin America.

Sinopec pone en venta sus activos petroleros en Argentina — Clarín
La china Sinopec habría puesto en venta sus activos petroleros en Argentina — Infobae
Buyers eye Sinopec's Argentina oil assets in sale worth up to $1 billion — Reuters
China’s Sinopec has thrown in the towel. After seven years of trying to make a go of their $2.45b  purchase of Argentine assets from U.S.-based Occidental Petroleum Corp, the assets are being marketed to over a dozen buyers for a significant discount - $750m to $1b. The decline in global oil prices and labor headaches are said to be driving the discounted valuation.

Se puso en marcha en Jujuy la construcción del parque solar más grande de América Latina — Infobae
Se inauguró el parque solar más grande de América Latina — Clarín
Jemse breaks ground on 300 MW solar park in Argentina — PV Magazine
Un banco chino financia el parque solar más grande de América Latina — EnergyNews
Provincial company Jemse SE (Jujuy Energy and Mining State Society) has begun construction of the 300 MW Cauchari solar project in the northwest province. The project is one of two PV projects totaling 400 MW selected in round one of the RenovAr program for large-scale solar and renewable energies. The plant will sell power to wholesale electric market management company Compañía Administradora del Mercado Mayorista Eléctrico (CAMMESA) at a price of $60 per MWh under a 20-year PPA. Jemse owns an 80% stake in the project, while the remaining 20% is owned by Power China, Shanghai Electric and Talesun, which is building the plant. The project is being financially supported by Chinese state-owned bank Export-Import Bank of China and by a $210m bond that Jujuy issued in mid-September. 

Negocios con el mundo: el desafío de exportar con la etiqueta Made in Argentina — La Nación
El futuro próximo de Brasil y China concentra la atención — La Nación
La Nación held an event on how to improve the “Made in Argentina” for global sales, with looks at soy sales to China and tech sales to India. The last piece advocates for Argentina to look to Brazil’s experience for clues on how to successfully engage China.

Projetos bilionários em transmissão de energia no Brasil atraem indianos e chineses — Extra Online
Electricity transmission projects in Brazil are attracting Chinese and Indian companies. China’s State Grid is already there, building two transmission projects to bring Belo Monte hydro energy to the southeast. India’s Sterlite Power won two auctions in April. In the hustings for the next power line auction are two new Indian firms: Adani Transmission and Power Grid Corporation. And Shanghai Electric is negotiating for the Eletrosul lines from Eletrobras.

Facebook launches its first innovation school in Brazil — ZDNet
"Estação Hack” opened it’s doors in São Paulo last week, with the aim of supporting about 7,400 people leading projects with social impact potential per year. Submissions for the acceleration program can be made until October 29, with the first group of participants starting in January 2018.

China-LAC

Diplomáticos de Argentina, Brasil y Chile se reunieron con funcionarios chinos para potenciar la relación comercial — La Prensa
"Bloque ABC": Argentina, Brasil y Chile unen fuerzas para captar comercio e inversión china — Economía y Negocios
The representatives of Argentina, Brazil and Chile in Beijing have formed an “ABC Block” to convince Chinese companies to think of them as a group to do business in, rather than individual fragmented countries. At a meeting with companies such as the Chinese Development Bank and Sinosteel, the ABC Block said that their effort was complementary to those of Mercosur, which is expected to begin negotiating a free trade agreement with China next year.

JISCO starts US$1-b spend in Jamaica this week — Jamaica Observer
Gansu Province’s Jiuquan Irons & Steel Company Limited (JISCO) is launching a $1b investment program in the Alpart bauxite refinery in Jamaica. The program will include an upgrade of the energy plant, including a new 230MW LNG plant. JISCO has also committed to invest another $1.5b in an industrial park next to Alpart focused on: processing and manufacturing, with emphasis on exports; modern logistics; mechandise trade; research and development, focusing on technological innovations; professional services; and urban support. 

OPINION: Efecto China en América Latina — Al Momento
¿Adónde va China?, por Sergio Bitar — La Tercera
China keeps Latin America guessing. Opinion pieces looking at the role of China in Latin America. While the first see’s China’s influence in the region waxing, the second notes the constraints on China’s continued growth, and wonders how that will impact Latin America.

Enquanto China prepara lançamento de satélite sino-brasileiro, ciência nacional afunda — Brasil 247
Venezuela lanzó su tercer satélite con ayuda de China — El Comercio
Venezuela launched a satellite this week; Brazil will launch one in 2019. Both will need China’s help in launching them. This is particularly disappointing for Brazil, who in the 1990s had pretensions to a domestic space program that never got off the ground. 

CCJ aprova acordo entre Brasil e China de cooperação entre administrações alfandegárias — Jornal do Brasil
The Commission on Constitution, Justice, and Citizenship approved a Decree Law allowing for closer coordination between China and Brazil on customs administration. The agreement will allow for improved commercial logistics between the two countries.

Aumenta la demanda por jengibre orgánico peruano — El Comercio
An interesting story about a product that Peru is competing with China in supplying. China is the world’s largest producer of ginger, but has had shortfalls in production over the past four years. Peruvian producers have stepped into the gap, and exports to the US and Mexico have increased 70%.

Necesaria comitiva mexicana para atraer inversión automotriz china — Uni Mexicali
Enrique Dussel Peters from UNAM’s China-Mexico Studies Center, argues that the Mexican government needs to take a more proactive approach in attracting Chinese investment in the auto industry.

China, The United States, and the Future of Latin America — U.S.-China Relations, Volume III
New book edited by David B H Denoon, with chapters from Dan Restrepo, Frank Mora, Christopher Sabatini, and Enrique Dussel, among other’s. From reading Denoon’s intro, we’ll be picking up a copy of this soon.

Partidos brasileiros conheceram de perto a realiza — Portal Vermelho
Last month a delegation of Brazilian parties of the left — the Worker’s Part (PT), Democratic Working Party (PDT), and the Communist Part (PCdoB) — all flew to China to meet with the International Department of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party to discuss the Chinese Dream.

Korea-LAC

En firme Acuerdo de Libre Comercio entre Colombia y Corea — Dinero
Colombia’s government notified South Korea that it has ratified the free trade agreement between the two countries, which should come into effect on November 4th.

El secretario de Planificación participará en Conferencia en Lima — Metro Ecuador
Peru is hosting a meeting of regional planning ministers, that will include a day of discussion comparing the planning and development experiences of Latin America with South Korea.

Japan-LAC

Argentina y Japón concluyen negociaciones de acuerdo bilateral en inversiones — W Radio
Argentina and Japan have concluded negotiating an investment protection treaty, which they say incorporate best practices from the OECD and UNCTAD. No date for signature has been revealed.

Buenas noticias para la japonesa Suzuki en México — Milenio
Suzuki cars are selling in Mexico - while overall auto sales are down 1%, the Japanese automaker’s Mexican sales are up 17%. However, unlike other automakers, Suzuki does not make any vehicles in Mexico, and imports them all from Hungary, Thailand, and Japan.

GCC-LAC

Dubai-Colombia non-oil trade hits $138m — Gulf Digital News
Colombia’s exports to Dubai are up 200% since 2012, driven by demand for flowers, fruits, coffee, and cocoa. This information was discussed at as a delegation from the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) visited Colombia last week.

India-LAC

Esta empresa quiere ‘robarle’ el mercado de acero en México a China… — El Financiero
A profile of India’s ArcelorMittal, with an interview with Victor Cairo, head of ArcelorMittal México, which has announced a $1b investment in a hot rolled steel plant at Lázaro Cárdenas, that will increase local steel production by 30%

¿India será la próxima China? — El Financiero
"Is India the next China?” asks El Financiero in a survey whose answer seems to be “probably not, but imagine if it was."

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Asia-LAC Business Digest — 5 Oct 2017

Up Front

Australian Trade Minister Steven Ciobo was spotted flying out of Mexico City this week, on the tails of talks to establish a Mexico-Australia Free Trade Agreement. Australia is part of larger effort on the part of the Mexican government to make "people recognize there is life after NAFTA,” and learn to cope with the Trump administration’s protectionist ways.

While not everyone is happy with surrendering to the charms for Free Trade Agreements, Latin American and Asian countries are losing no time in Making Trade Great Again as America looks inward. Whether it’s Guate-Korea, Chile-China, or Peru-everyone, announcements about trade deals have been flying fast and furious. The bigger moves are those being made by trading blocks: as we noted last week, Mercosur is looking to do trade deals with Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, and China; while the Pacific Alliance has been looking to Australian and New Zealand.

The big fish, of course, is a revived Trans-Pacific Partnership, which the 11 remaining countries are hoping to have ready for the 11 November APEC Summit in Vietnam.

Top Stories

Seven teams compete for $2.6bn Panama monorail — Global Construction Review
Seven bidders have prequalified for Panama’s Line 3 monorail project, and now move on to the tender stage, which is being let on a turnkey basis. The the 27 km, 14 station line is is expected to cost around $2.6bn, which is being financed by Japanese Bank for International Cooperation (JICA) over 20-years. The bidders are:

  • China Railway Group;
  • Oriental Metro: a consortium made up of China Harbour Engineering and the Beijing Urban Construction Group;
  • HP Joint Venture Consortium: made up of Hyundai Engineering & Construction and Posco of Korea;
  • ACPC Consortium: Acciona Construcción of Spain and the Power Construction Corporation of China;
  • The Line 3 Consortium: FCC of Spain and Carso Infrastructure of Mexico,
  • Astaldi, an Italian contractor based in Rome; and
  • Line 3 Monorail Consortium: Obrascon Huarte Lain of Spain, Andrade Gutierrez Engineering of Brazil and Mota-Engil of Portugal.

Latinoamérica fija la atención en el turismo chino como futuro motor de crecimiento — El Nuevo Herald
The Novam Portam team was at this event last week, which highlighted the opportunities for trade and tourism with China for Latin American countries. Eduardo Ferreyros, Peru’s Minster of Foreign Trade and Tourism, Miguel Braun, Argentina’s Minister of Commerce, and Felipe Jaramillo, president of ProColombia, all gave their perspective on the challenges and opportunities of China, which include dependency on raw materials, the fragmentation of Latin American markets, and the distance between the two regions.

Agora é bom momento para comprar ativos no Brasil por preços baixos, diz gigante da construção chinesa — Globo
China Communications Construction Co (CCCC) says it is shopping in Brazil. “Now is a good time for Chinese companies to accelerate their investment, and buy quality assets at a low price,” the company says to Brazil’s Globo. This follows on the meeting last week in Beinjing between CCCC South America Regional Company chief Chang Yunbo and Pará governor Simão Jatene, who is looking for a sponsor of a rail project in the state. In Brazil, where CCCC’s LAtam arm opened it’s São Paulo HQ in the first half of 2016, the company is 80% owner of Concremat, as well as port projects in Santa Caterina and Maranhão. 

El sueño de Perú de ser el rey del cobre y superar a Chile tropieza con el mismo Perú — Diario Financiero
Peru's Dream of Usurping Chile as Copper King Faces Roadblocks — Bloomberg
Peru's government says the country’s potential in copper is being restricted by too much bureaucracy. It’s a big stretch, as Peru produces 200,000 metric tones of copper a month, less than half Chile’s production. Peru Mines and Energy Minister Cayetana Aljovín says the country has a three-pronged plan:

  • Reduce regulations and the number of permits required to mine; 
  • Create a single government department where companies can request all required mining permits at once; and
  • Create a fund the government can use to invest in social programs in areas that may be affected by mining.

O Brasil corre o risco de ficar na poeira — Revista Amanhã
A write up of the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report launched last week that warns that Brazil may get left in the dust. Brazil ranks 80th, behind China (27th), Russia (38th), India (40th), and even - they note - Uruguay (76th).

Operações da GM na América do Sul e Ásia serão unificadas em 2018 — Motor 1
GM is retooling it’s operations in the Emerging Markets. Effective 1 January 2018, it is consolidating it’s Asia (ex-China) and Latin America subsidiaries as a single company, under current executive VP of GM Latam Larry Angle, based out of Detroit.

PortMiami cargo traffic increases over 18 percent since last year — South Florida Business Journal
PortMiami credits the $1.3bn spent on infrastructure improvement for an 18.5 YoY increase in cargo movement through the port. In addition to a deeper channel, new gantry cranes enable to port to service post-Panamax ships which can be up to 22 containers wide. The article also notes that Port Everglades is undergoing a similar infrastructure improvement program which will allow it to accommodate similar vessels. 

China-LAC

China's Strategic Play in Brazil — Americas Quarterly
It’s time for a new era of China-Latin America business relations — OECD Development Centre
Robert Muggah and Adriana Abdenur from the Instituto Igarapé have an article in the America’s Quarterly; Angel Melguizo, the OECD’s Chief Economist for Latin America writes on Medium. And the articles have the same theme: it’s an opportune time for China to be looking at Brazil, but it’s tricky.

China's State Grid eyes Brazil deals offering synergy with existing projects — NASDAQ
China State Grid is looking for new opportunities, according to Zhu Guangchao, director of international cooperation. "We are very interested in the areas of power transmission, distribution and renewable energy," he said during an event marking the beginning of construction of a power line linking the states of Pará and Rio de Janeiro.

Com US$ 8,5 bilhões em 2017, China aumenta participação em fusões e aquisições no Brasil — Portos e Navios
Chineses investirão US$ 20 bil no Brasil nos próximos 12 meses — Correio Braziliense
Soja, el hilo rojo que concentra las inversiones chinas en Brasil — Clarín
Dealogic says M&A for Brazil in the first three quarters of the year had a Chinese buyer in 12% percent of all deals, that totaled $8.5b. Chinese investments in Brazil are expected to total $20b over the next twelve months.

Brazil's mega hydro plan foreshadows China's growing impact on the Amazon — The Guardian
An article highlighting the difficulties facing Brazil’s Hydrovia project on the Tapajós river, and the environmental and indigenous impact it can have.

China Unicom chega ao país para lançar cabo submarino que liga Brasil a Camarões — TeleSíntese
China Unicom opened an office in Brazil this week, ahead of launching the SAIL submarine cable to connect with Cameroon. Huawei Marine will lay out the infrastructure for the cable, which is expected to begin operations in the second half of 2018.

O ambicioso projeto da Foxconn que não decolou no Brasil — Exame
A great profile of the failed effort by Foxconn to export it’s model to Brazil in 2012.

Brazil takes part in Interwine China 2017 for the first time — Macau Hub
Companies from Brazil exhibiting wines, spirits and artisanal beer will participate in InterWine China, which will take place from 12 to 14 November in Guangzhou, for the first time this year.

PPK espera reunirse con presidente de China en cumbre APEC 2017 — El Comercio
Peru, China leaders could meet on the sidelines of APEC Summit — Agencia Andina
PPK is looking to swing through China to visit Xi Jinping on his way to APEC’s Summit next month.

Empresas asiáticas interesadas en proyectos de infraestructura y minería de Perú — Agencia Andina
ProInversión presentó cartera de proyectos APP por US$ 17,000 millones en Corea del Sur — Portal del Turismo
Proinversion Concludes Asia Roadshow 2017 in Tokyo — MarketWatch
Readouts from Peru’s ProInversión East Asia roadshow last week note the $17b portfolio of infrastructure projects on offer and Peru’s active pursuit of PPPs.

Perú lanzará su primera tienda en plataforma Tmall de Alibaba en China — Peru Retail
Peru’s Association of Exporters (Adex) will launched a store on Alibaba’s Tmall by the end of the month. The thirty Peruvian companies participating in the store hope to sell $3-4m in goods through the e-commerce platform a year; a number we expect will grow.

Go direct to China's interior, ProChile trade commissioner tells exporters — Fresh Fruit Portal
Chile continues to play the Chinese fruit market game at the next level. ProChile’s Trade Commissioner in Shanghai, César Suárez, told exporters at Fruittrade in Santiago that they need to look beyond top-tier cities for growth in China:

“In truth for the first time this year in terms of commercial promotion we’ve taken a step of going from theory in books to strategy with concrete actions,” Suárez said of the second and third-tier city concept.

“It’s been developed both in Wuhan and Chengdu, very recently. Wuhan is like an Asian Chicago, a city with a favorable distribution – within 400km they have 400 million inhabitants.

“They [Wuhan fruit buyers] don’t want to have to go through Shanghai or Guangzhou – they want to deal directly with the producer.”

Vehículos eléctricos: de China a Chile — PULSO
Chile China Chamber of Commerce (Chicit) head Juan Esteban Musalem pens an op-ed arguing that the increasing presence of Chinese auto companies (like BAIC and BYD) in Chile will give the Chilean electric auto market a well-needed boost.

Shenzhen Kingship opens up Chilean cherry market — Fresh Plaza
Chilean Cherries strike again. This time they've found a partner in Shenzhen-based Kingship, an import-export company focused on "premium fruit, meat and seafood import and exports, catering for a new Chinese middle class.”

Valle del Cauca da "primer paso" para pelear por mercado de zapatos con China — W Radio
El Valle se prepara para competir con el calzado Chino en Colombia — Fashion News
Valle del Cauca - the region that is producer of 20% of Colombia’s shoes - is stepping up to the challenge of Chinese imports. They are looking to differentiate through the use of technology, design development, and the use and mix of new textiles.

Chinese investors eyeing Mexico's SEZs, say Mexican officials — Xinhua
Chinese investors are interestest in participating in the development of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) at Lazaro Cardenas-La Union on the west coast; Coatzacoalcos on the eastern Gulf of Mexico; and Puerto Chiapas, on Mexico's south Pacific coast. The projects were announced last week, along with $5.3bn in government funding, by President EPN. 

Korea-LAC

Corea del Sur quiere implementar Sistema de Transporte Público en Manizales — La FM
Manizales has a plan for a public transportation system; Chanyoung Ji, President of LG in Colombia, would like to help them build it.  

O que falta para a formalização do acesso da carne suína brasileira para a Coreia do Sul? — ND Online
Brazil needs to sign an agreement on sanitary certification with South Korea to be able to export pork to the country; the expectation is that that will be done by the end of the year, and pigs will fly between the two countries in early 2018.

Korea to consult Colombia on airport management — Korea Times
Korea Airports Corp. (KAC) has signed a $1.6mn consulting agreement with Matecana International Airport (MIA) in Colombia. KAC will provide knowhow in various areas from security to risk management until 2022.

Samsung inauguró su fábrica de heladeras en Argentina — Diario Uno
Samsung opened a refrigerator manufacturing plant in Buenos Aires Province the will make 6 models of fridges and employ 300 people.

South Korea Agrees to Assist Latin America with ICT Development — Nearshore Americas
13 countries from Central and South America and the Caribbean, have signed an agreement with South Korea to share expertise and engineering know-how o bolster the region’s information and communication technology (ICT) development. The agreement was signed at the 3rd Korea-Latin America ICT Ministerial Forum held in Busan, South Korea. 

Japan-LAC

Presentan una visa especial para argentinos que quieran viajar y trabajar en Japón — La Nación
Argentine youths 18 to 30 years old now have access to to Japan’s Working Holiday visa program, allowing them to spend up to a year on a internship in Japan.

Banco do Brasil fecha agências no exterior, mantém Miami e Japão — Extra Online
Banco do Brasil, the country's second largest, is going to close all it’s overseas retail branches over the next couple of months, with the exception of branches in Miami and Japan.

Redrado: “Japón tiene a la Argentina y México en la mira para invertir” — El Cronista
The former head of Argentina’s Central Bank Martín Redrado says that Japan has Argentina and Mexico in its sights for investment:

"I am surprised - I see an interest from Japan in Argentina like I have never seen in my professional life. They are looking both at Argentine companies, as well as specific opportunities in productive complements such as infrastructure."

Fondo Perú-Japón suscribe convenio de donación con Municipalidad de Pampa Hermosa — Diario la Region
Northeast Peru will see five communities electrified thanks to support from the Peru-Japan General Fund.

Chile y Japón impulsan un proyecto para mejorar cartera crediticia del CAH — La Nación
Chile’s Institute of Agriculture Development (INDAP) and Japan’s JICA are cooperating on strengthening and improving the lending portfolio of Paraguay’s Agriculture Improvement Credit (CAH) entity.

Japón importará más carne en 2018 y habrá mayor competencia — El Observador
Uruguay is licking it’s chops at gaining access to the Japanese beef market. 

ZPE prospecta investimentos  de japoneses  — Diário do Nordeste
Japan’s Ambassador to Brazil, Akira Yamada, visited the Pecém Processing and Export Zone (ZPE) outside of Fortaleza last week. Representatives from JETRO and the Japanese Industry Chamber of Commerce in Brazil also attended.

GCC-LAC

Costa Rica announces plans to open a trade representative office in Dubai — Dubai Government Media Office
In yet another sign of the growing links between the GCC and LAC, H.E. Manuel González Sanz, Costa Rica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship, used a high-level visit from the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry to announce Costa Rica's plan to open a trade office in Dubai. The Dubai Chamber will host the Costa Rican trade office. 

Sharjah Chamber promotes trade, investment with Mexico — Gulf News
Francisca Elizabeth Mendez Escobar, Mexico’s Ambassador to the UAE, continues to forge commercial links. This week the Ambassador attended a meeting hosted by The Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) to discuss ways to improve economic and investment relations between the two countries. 

Dubai Exports assists Brazilians in technology summit — ANBA
Dubai Exports will assist Brazilian firms that are unable to attend the Future Manufacturing and Trade Summit, on November 6 and 7 at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers in Dubai, by providing contact information or arranging meetings with interested participants.

India-LAC

ArcelorMittal plans $1 billion Mexico investment by 2020: chairman — Reuters
India's ArcelorMittal, the worlds largest steelmaker, is better on NAFTA. The company will invest $1bn in Mexico over the next three years to increase production for the North American market. The investments will come in Mexico's SEZs, which have also drawn interest from Chinese investors. 

ASEAN & Oceania-LAC

Singapore companies have doubled their presence in Latin America and Caribbean in last 2 years: Iswaran — The Straights Times
Singapore investments in Latin America, the Caribbean still growing — The Business Times
IE Singapore hosted their semi-annual Asia Latin America Business Forum in Singapore last week. Participants were addressed by a number of high-level figures including, Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr S Iswaran. Mr S Iswaran, noted that there are "200 Singapore companies with 400 points of presence across Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), double the number from 2015”. 

Keppel delivers fifth FPSO project for MODEC in Brazil — Energy Business Review
Singapore-based Keppel Offshore & Marine has delivered the Cidade de Campos dos Goytacazes MV29 to Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel to Singapore’s MODEC Offshore Production Systems. It will be deployed at the Tartaruga Verde and Tartaruga Mestiça Fields in Brazil’s Campos Basin.

Karoon Gas gains block in Brazil’s latest bid round — Penn Energy
Australia's Karoon Gas has successfully bid for a 171 sq-km offshore block in Brazil's Santos basin. The award is part of Brazil's 14th bid round.

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Asia-LAC Business Digest — 28 Sep 2017

Up Front

Expanding consumer appetite and uncertainty created by US policy, is creating opportunity in Latin America’s auto market, and companies from across Asia are taking advantage.

This year’s Foreign Direct Investment in Latin America and the Caribbean briefing paper from ECLAC, published this week, highlights what they call the "technological revolution in the global automotive industry.” 

ECLAC believes that auto manufacturers "will concentrate much of their global production in a small number of new modular platforms, increasingly focused on areas of specialization and passing increasing areas of responsibility to their suppliers.” And that Latin America can benefit from this revolution.

The report highlights the success story of the Mexican auto industry, but sees the potential for trouble on the horizon:

The outlooks for Mexico’s motor vehicle industry will depend on at least two independent sets of factors. On the one hand is the transformation driven by the technology revolution under way in the global automotive industry, changes in the concept of mobility and consumptions patterns, and regulatory pressure in the fields of safety, the environment and energy efficiency. On the other hand is the uncertainty triggered by the announcements of the new Administration in the United States.

China’s connection with Mexico is relatively new but strengthening quickly. Earlier this month we mentioned that BAIC was considering building another assembly plant in Mexico. From Korea, KIA is now on track to build 300,000 cars a year in Nuevo León.

And it’s not just Mexico. Chile, while a smaller market, has also attracted interest from Korean (although they have struggled recently), Japanese, and Chinese automakers (like BAIC), with the bus-makers like BYD expanding in the market, as well.

We’ve also noted that Argentina has been a growing market for Chinese car companies, with over a dozen of them currently there or exploring the market. This week, Greely stole Lifan’s thunder by announcing two SUVs for the market. Lifan has been making noise that it wants to bring electric vehicles to the market, but that the company “depends on the government” to make it a success.

Amongst all this activity, Brazil has remained a quiet. For the past five years, Brazil has capped car imports from Mexico following a well-publicized spat between the two countries when Brazil tried to shield it’s struggling domestic industry from the more efficient Mexican producers.

So it was news this week when Toyota announced it was investing R$1b ($316m) in into a new Brazilian production line for the Yaris, citing growing demand. Does this augur future interest from other automakers?

Top Stories

Países del TPP avanzan en la renegociación para sellar el acuerdo — Televisa News
Trump dio "gran oportunidad" a China en Latinoamérica al salir de TPP, según Piñera — Télam
The other 11 countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership are looking to have a draft ready for the APEC Summit in Vietnam in November. Sebastián Piñera, ex-president and again candidate in Chile, highlights that Trump’s abandonment of TPP gives a “great opportunity” to China.

China interesada en ampliar comercio y cooperación con América Latina y el Caribe, informa cancillería dominicana — Acento
RD y China dan primeros pasos para profundizar sus relaciones — Listin Diario
As we suspected two weeks ago, People’s Republic of China Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with his counterpart from the Dominican Republic Miguel Vargas Maldonado on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in NYC last week, as part of Maldonado’s meeting with his counterparts from Guyana, Ecuador and El Salvador. China’s position is characterized as “wanting to deepen commercial relations and cooperation with the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.” Taiwan, beware.

Argentina lanza una licitación ferroviaria por 2.000 millones de dólares — El Economista América
Argentina opens bidding to buy $2 bln of railcars for Buenos Aires — Reuters
Argentina has launched an RFP for 1500 electric trains to improve the Buenos Aires area transit system.  The $2b project will double the fleet of trains in Buenos Aires, and has attracted interest from companies such as Germany’s Siemens, Canada’s Bombardier, China's CRRC, and Marubeni and Mitsubishi from Japan. The RFP is open through November 14 and will require at least 20% of train components to be manufactured in Argentina.

Dan tendencias de IED en América Latina y el Caribe — Méxicoxport
China será maior investidor em projetos desenvolvidos no Brasil — O Globo
Write ups of ECLAC’s Foreign Direct Investment in Latin America and the Caribbean 2017 briefing paper. FDI inflows to the region continue their decline (by 7.9% to US$ 167b in 2016), driven by the fall in commodity prices and sluggish economic growth in the region. Brazil received almost half of all FDI, which according to Itamaraty amounted to $46.8b in investments (of $103.6b announced) over the past five years.

Mercosur could seek trade deals with CanadaAustraliaNew Zealand — Reuters
Mercosur Makes Moves to Go Global — Stratfor
Mercosur is moving forward with global trade alliances, looking at the EU, Pacific Alliance, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia. Per Stratfor, the latter could be trouble:

Mercosur has maintained a unified front in trade negotiations with its regional neighbors and Europe, but gaining a consensus in trade negotiations with China and South Korea has been more difficult. If the bloc can reach an agreement, Uruguay and Paraguay could significantly increase their agricultural exports to those countries. Argentina has also expressed some optimism with the two negotiations even though there is reluctance from Buenos Aires' domestic industries to give greater market access to China and South Korea's highly competitive industrial sectors.

Meanwhile, according Uruguayan diplomatic sources, Brazil was the only country that opposed a trade agreement with South Korea and China.

Latin America’s Delicate Dance With China — US News
Latin America Response to China — Two Weeks Notice
A good English language piece about how Latin America is picking and choosing in it’s relationship with China and avoiding too much entanglement. This comes up in local content restrictions and local hiring regulations, but also explains why a China-led alternative to the TPP isn’t gaining more ground in the region.

China-LAC

Os chineses estão interessados na Oi — Exame
Oi confirma negociações com China Telecom — Notícias ao Minuto Brasil
Oi Telecom says it is in negotiations with China Telecom for the latter to take an equity stake. Finance Director Ricardo Malavazi says they’ve signed an NDA, but “negotiations are preliminary." China Mobile is also purported to be interested in the beleaguered Brazilian company. Oi was due to present its creditors committee with a new restructuring program this week, with a creditor vote on October 9th. Oi is expected to propose raising at least R$8b ($2.5b) in new capital.

Richa recebe grupo chinês que adquiriu terminal de contêineres — Agência de Notícias do Paraná
Expectativa é grande em Paranaguá por atração de investimento após chegada de chineses — Gazeta do Povo
Having bought 90% of the Paranaguá Container Terminal, China Merchants Ports vice president Vicenti Lu and development director Natalie Wan met with Paraná Governor Beto Richa (PSDB), and Paranaguá Mayor Marcelo Roque (PV). At the meeting with Gov Richa, Lu explained the Paranaguá is only the first step for China Merchants Port in Latin America, as part of it’s strategy to be a global leader in transport, finance, and real estate. Lu expects to invest further in Paranaguá: “the principle of the group is to invest in the ports, the industrial parks, and the cities where it is operating.”

Argentina y China estrechan lazos por la minería — MDZ Online
El gobierno chino propuso "intensificar la cooperación y la inversión" minera con la Argentina — Télam
China mostró interés por las inversiones en cobre, ante una delegación argentina — TélamAround the China Mining Fair in Tianjin, Argentine Sub-secretary for Mining Development Mario Capello met his Chinese counterpart Cao Weixing, and the two pushed for “intensifying cooperation and investment” in Argentine mining. Good news for Argentina’s plan to raise $15b in investment in 30 mining projects.

Perú: La principal fuente de cobre para China tras superar a Chile — El Comercio
Perú busca atraer inversiones mineras en China Mining 2017 — Andina
Also news from the China Mining Fair is the strong showing by Peru. The country overtakes Chile as China’s largest source of copper this year, thanks to an increase in production at the Las Bambas mine, operated by China’s MMG. Viceminster of Mines Ricardo Labó went to the China Mining Fair with the goal of gaining more.

Gov't finalises Alpart deal with JISCO — Jamaica Observer
Jiuquan Iron & Steel Company (JISCO) signed a deal to operate and build-out the Alpart alumina works at Nain, St Elizabeth in Jamaica. According to Transport and Mining Minister Lester 'Mike’ Henry, the agreements formally unlocks the inflow of at least an additional US$1 billion in investment and the creation of another 800 direct and high-paying jobs.

Chinese make tough decision on Monymusk — Jamaica Gleaner
However it is not all sweetness between Jamaica and China. After further negotiations, Pan Caribbean Sugar Company (PCSC) has said that its decision to operate the Monymusk Sugar Factory for the 2017-2018 crop year was made to prevent a socio-economic crisis for communities along the sugar belt but that it is unsure how it will prevent further hemorrhaging at the Clarendon facility:

"Our board of directors took into consideration the Government's concern over the potential disaster if operation is suspended at Monymusk,” PCSC spokesperson Sun Y’ Dan  told The Gleaner in a telephone interview recently. "Of course, China is trying to help, but while getting the quota to import refined sugar for the domestic market will mean an additional source of income, we are still going to have losses.

"So this is not a business decision because we will continue to sustain losses even though it will not be as much as before."

Government to sign MOU with China — Jamaica Gleaner
Agriculture Ministry paves way to enter Chinese fisheries market — Jamaica Observer
The Jamaican Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries signed an MOU with China’s AQSIQ on Friday paving the way for lobster exports.

Colombia en la recta final para enviar aguacates a China — HSB Noticias
Autoridad sanitaria de China verificará las condiciones de producción de aguacate hass — La Republica
Colombian avocado is at China's gates — Fresh Plaza
Chinese guacamole may be about to get a Colombian spin. Colombian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Aurelio Iragorri has announced that "China’s sanitary authority” (presumably AQSIQ) will be visiting Colombia next month to confirm that Colombian avocados will be suitable for export to China.

''El TLCAN no es un asesino de empleos, el problema está en China y también lo sufre México'' — Economia Hoy
Our friend Shannon O’Neil talks about the third round of NAFTA renegotiations, and puts them in context. As she says, for the US: “NAFTA isn’t a job-killer, the problem is in China, and Mexico suffers it as well.”

Panama to strengthen economic ties with China, president says — NASDAQ
Chinese companies could replace Brazil’s Odebrecht in financing Panama's Chan 2 hydroelectric plant. The new diplomatic partners are also working to bring direct flights from China to Panama

Chinese investors go big in Latin American energy — LatinFinance
Our friend Margaret Myers at the Inter-American Dialogue outlines some of the recent energy deals by Chinese companies in the region, including China Three Gorges and State Grid. As she notes: "Brazil is a top destination for these companies, but it is also a showcase. It is part of a broader Chinese plan for infrastructure investment and diversification in the region."

Negocios con el Mundo — La Nación
China-Argentina ties have room to grow, say experts — China Daily
La Nación hosted an event focusing on connecting Argentina with the world. There was a heavy China spin to the event, with the head of ICBC in Argentina speaking. Experts believe that Argentine exports to China could be four times larger, and that strengthening Mercosur is Argentina’s best strategy for opening to Asia.

Brazil watchdog OKs Odebrecht's Rio airport stake sale to China's HNA — Reuters
HNA gets the high sign to close their deal to buy a controlling stake of Rio’s Galeão International Airport from Odebrecht.

Governo arrecada R$ 12,1 bi em leilão de quatro hidrelétricas — Veja
Conheça a empresa chinesa que comprou uma hidrelétrica da Cemig — Veja
The Brazilian government auctioned off four hydroelectric dams owned by CEMIG, the Mines Gerais Electric Company, for R$12.1b ($3.8) or 10% above the expected. The largest of the the four, São Simão, was sold to China’s State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC) for R$7.2b ($2.25b); with France’s Engie winning two auctions and Italy’s Enel winning the fourth.

El Alto: Abundan vendedores chinos, cubanos y venezolanos — Erbol Digital
El Alto, Incan crossroads town and second largest city in Bolivia, is seeing an upswing in foreign merchants, including Chinese sellers, per Adrián Huanca, the Director of Markets of the Mayor’s office. Unfortunately, many of these sellers are there illegally and do not pay taxes. 

China busca fortalecer cooperación bilateral con Colombia — HSB Noticias
Chen Lei, Minister of Water Resource of China, visited Colombia to encourage collaboration on managing flooding and silting.

PDVSA y CNPC incorporarán 800 pozos para incrementar en 200 mvd la producción petrolera — PDVSA
Unclear if China will put any new money into this plan to reactivate 300 wells in the Faja del Orinoco and the rehabilitation of 500 wells in Anzoátegui state.

Fein se reunió con una delegación de Shangai para fortalecer el vínculo con la ciudad china — La Capital
Mayor Monica Fein of Argentina’s third largest city, Rosario, sat down with a delegation from Shanghai headed by Yao Hai, Director General of the Shanghai Office of Cooperation and Exchange.

Justiça federal proíbe compra e uso de Leuginase da China em toda a rede SUS — G1
The Brazilian judiciary has blocked the import of Leuginase from China. The medicine, used to treat children’s leukemia, has been criticized for impurities and lack of effectiveness.

Ação da ABPA na China gera negócios e reforça aproximação com autoridades chinesas — Comex do Brasil
The Brazilian Animal Protein Association (ABPA) pushed their goods at the China International Food, Meat and Aquatic Products Exhibition (FMA 2017) in Guangzhou.

Korea-LAC

Suman 53, los bancos autorizados en México — El Economista
Mexico authorizes operations of South Korea's KEB Hana Bank — Reuters
Mexico’s Finance Ministry and banking regulator CNBV announced on Friday that South Korea’s biggest lender, KEB Hana Bank, has been granted a license to operate in Mexico. Unlike many other moves by Asian and global banks into Mexico and Latin America in recent years, this is a de novo banking license, rather than an acquisition of a local bank. The new bank will mainly focus on corporate finance and international trade between South Korea and Mexico.

TLC con Corea del Sur  se mantiene en la agenda — elPeriodico
Guatemala and Korea continue to work towards a Free Trade Agreement; Nin Kim, chargé d’affaires at the Korean Embassy expects the agreement to be signed in the second half of next year.

Bolivia's Longest Bridge Built by Bolivian and South Korean Hands — Be Korea-savvy
Bolivia’s longest bridge was officially open to the public this week. The Puente Banegas cost just under $50 million, is 1,440 meters long and stands atop the Grande River. Hyundai Development Company and various South Korean construction firms took part in the building of the bridge.

Perú: ProInversión realizará "roadshows" en Pekín, Seúl y Tokio — América Economía
ProInversión presenta proyectos APP por US$ 17 mil millones en Corea del Sur — El Comercio
Peru’s ProInversion has relaunched its roadshows in the fourth quarter. After one in Mexico, a roadshow this week will visit Beijing, Seoul, and Tokyo - the first one in two years.

Corea del Sur aumenta su 'apetito' por productos naturales del Perú — Gestión
South Korea increased it’s imports of natural products from Peru by 2333%, led by sacha inchi.

Japan-LAC

El príncipe de Japón inicia una extensa visita a Chile — Cooperativa
Príncipes japoneses visitan Chile y se reúnen con Bachelet — 20 Minutos
Japan’s Prince Akishino and his wife Princess Kiko visited Chile on the 120th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. They met with President Bachelet.

India-LAC

ARGENTINA: Country Wants To Consolidate And Diversify Exports To India — Markets Insider
On the sidelines of UNGA, Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie met with his Indian counterpart, Sushma Swaraj. At the meeting, both foreign ministers agreed that the Indian ties with Argentina and the Mercosur are "well below its potential,” and that both governments have an interest in increasing trade. Currently, India is Argentina's sixth largest export destination.

GCC & Oceania-LAC

UAE Ambassador to Mexico meets Governor of Nuevo Leon State — Emirates News Agency
Ahmed Hatem Al Menhali, UAE Ambassador to Mexico, traveled to Monterrey to meet with independent  Nuevo León Governor Jaime Rodriguez "El Bronco” Calderon. Per the UAE Embassy: "During the meeting, the two sides discussed ways to strengthen and expand opportunities of cooperation between the UAE and the state of Nuevo Leon, which is the leading state in the Republic of Mexico in the field of industrial economy and logistics."

New players step into Brazil vacuum created by Petrobras scandal — FT
In the FT’s “Brazil: the Road Ahead” package last week, a status check on the Santos/Dubai Ports deal:

Odebrecht says it is negotiating to sell two-thirds of the Embraport container terminal in Santos to DPW Brazil, the Brazilian subsidiary of Dubai-based port conglomerate DP World (DPW already owns the remaining third). In May, CADE, Brazil’s antitrust authority, approved the sale. “For DPW Brazil, acquiring control of Embraport is in line with its strategy to expand its investments in the country,” CADE said in its ruling.

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Asia-LAC Business Digest — 22 Sep 2017

Up Front

"Is China ready to reshape global agriculture?” is a question being asked across the hemisphere, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service to framers and ranchers in the Southern cone. And it’s a question of not just what China is buying, but how. E-commerce intermediation between Latin American agriculture exporters is real, and it’s here.

Traditionally the China-Latin America agricultural relationship is thought of as simply selling more beef and soybeans to the world’s largest population. Certainly moves like the creation of COFCO International out of Nidera and Noble Agri are steps in that direction. But the role of those producers is up in the air, with conflicting messages coming from COFCO. Zhao Shuanglian, chairman of COFCO Corporation, says the “highly-performing” South American grain, oilseed and sugar portfolio would play “a major role” in COFCO International’s expansion. But COFCO International’s Brazilian activities have undergone a reorganization driven by an accounting hole found in Nidera’s Latin American operations. The group is considering selling Nidera’s Latin American seed business.

Away from the bulk commodities, the demand for higher quality and speciality products from China’s growing middle class is creating opportunities for producers who are acting fast.

Chile has been at the forefront of this. Pears are next on their list, while there is a push to diversify to other countries like Korea and Japan.

Other countries are beginning to recognize the opportunity. Peru and China inked their prawn deal last week; Peru is now expected to export $200m in prawns to China annually. And Peruvian companies booked $138m in deals at Asia Fruit Logistica at the beginning of the month. And even Argentine berry producers — long held back by export tarriffs —  made a push last week at the annual International Blueberry Organization summit in Yunnan.

To catch up to these leaders in specialty exports, new players are embracing new platforms. 

As Wu Guoping of the Institute of Latin American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences says: “E-commerce is key to facilitating the sale of products to China.” 

Following Jack Ma’s trips to Buenos Aires and Mexico, Alibaba is the one making the strongest push. This week the Argentine International Commerce and Investment Agency (AAICI) and the Ministry of Wines and Agriculture launched the "Official Argentine Wine Flagship Store” on Alibaba’s TMall. Just in time for Single’s Day (Nov 11), any wines already for sale in China will be available; new wines will become available the weekend of Chinese New Year (Feb 18).

The power of the TMall market was demonstrated with Mexico, where ProMéxico pushed a program to sell avocados. After the September 11 launch of the Alibaba-ProMéxico collaboration, TMall Fresh ran a special avocado sale, selling half a million avocados in just two days.

While Alibaba is the largest provider, they aren’t the only game in town — JD.com had more revenue than Alibaba last year, and it's Fruit Day is also ramping up imports. There’s plenty of opportunity for savvy exporters.

Top Stories

Panamá: canciller chino se reúne con Varela — 20minutos
Exportadores panameños pactan $38 millones en ventas con China — Panamá América
Belt&Road Initiative new focus for China-Latin America cooperation: FM — ECNS
China busca expandir su influencia en América Latina a través de Panamá — Tele Trece
China y Panamá firman acuerdo para afianzar nueva alianza diplomática — Publimetro México
Interview: Panama can be strategic point to bring Belt-Road Initiative to Latin America — Xinhua
New Chinese embassy a sign of stronger ties between China and Panama — CGTN
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to Panama went off like you’d hope - visits to Casco Viejo and a tour of the Panama Canal. And it went off like the Chinese hoped - with lots of talk of the Belt & Road Initiative and trade deals. The two sides agreed to create a Commission on Economic Cooperation and another on Air Transport and Services; as well as deals on $38m in Panamanian exports of coffee, wood, scrap, and seafoods. They also prepped the groundwork for President Varela’s visit to China in November.

China y Costa Rica firman acuerdo para proyectos por $15 millones no reembolsables — Teletica
Costa Rica president, Chinese foreign minister meet on ties — Xinhua
Chinese FM talks up trade on Central America visit — ABS-CBN News
Gobierno no revela detalles de donación china de $15 millones — Diario Extra
Not content with one stop, Minister Wang stopped by Costa Rica beforehand to celebrate the ten years of diplomatic relations between those two countries. They agreed to Chinese sponsorship of $15m in capacity development, equipment manufacturing, and sustainable development projects. However, left unclear was the status of the expansion of Route 32 by China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), a project local press notes has been beset with delays.

China State, interesada en entrar en OHL — Intereconomia
China, el 'salvavidas' de las cuentas de las constructoras españolas — Estrategias de Inversión
OHL says that China State Construction and Engineering Company (CSCEC) is looking to buy a controlling stake of the indebted Spanish construction firm. Per a filing with the Spanish regulatory authorities, CSCEC would buy 51% of the firm with a big presence in Latin America (it’s main markets include Mexico, Peru, Chile, and Colombia). Estrategias de Inversión says, Chinese firms with money looking for an international footprint are “lifesavers” for Spanish construction firms that have wallowed in debt since the collapse of the Spanish real estate market.

China-LAC

Brazil’s utility companies put out the welcome mat for China — FT
An overview on how Chinese companies looking at Brazil are now looking less at agriculture and more at industry. BU’s Kevin Gallagher sums it up:

“The boom is over with respect to commodities, but there is now a shift toward infrastructure, banking and some manufacturing… China has been really quick in setting up the $20bn infrastructure fund because it wants to get going [on investments]. Brazil is, of course, very hot to trot because the cost of capital is expensive for it right now. Brazil has major infrastructure gaps that won’t be filled by private capital or even development banks, so those funds are sorely needed.”

Brasil será centro dos negócios da China Mobile na América Latina — TeleSíntese
China Mobile has opened a new office in São Paulo, which will be the telecoms giant’s headquarters for Latin America. While China Mobile has yet to secure a license to operate in the country, it is looking to ink roaming deals with local operators, as well as establish a data center to offer services to corporate clients.

Abrirán en EXPO CLAP nuevos puentes para relación comercial México-China — El Universal
Graco viajará a China para fortalecer lazos comerciales —  Milenio
Empresarios de China llegaron a buscar comercio en Ecuador — El Universo
Gearing up for the China-Latin America & Caribbean Expo in Zhuhai, China, in mid-November, CCPIT and the government of Zhuhai did a roadshow in Mexico City and Quito this week. Governor of Morelos Graco Ramírez has said (previous to the terrible earthquake) he will attend and visit Sichuan Province afterwards.

Argentina busca en China US$ 15.000 millones de inversión — Telam
San Juan ofrecerá cinco proyectos de cobre en la gran feria minera china — Diario de Cuyo
This weekend at the China Mining fair in Tianjin, ten Argentine copper mining projects will be marketed, looking for a total of $15b in investment. Of those, five are from the province of San Juan, and their 10.6b tons represent 71% of the country’s copper reserves.

La solicitud de bonos para el proyecto fotovoltaico más grande de Argentina rebasó 3,4 veces la cantidad de títulos ofrecidos — PV Magazine Latin America
Jujuy issued $210m in five-year green bonds last week. The 8.625% (or 8 and 5/8th, for those of us who remember those days) coupon bonds were 3.4x oversubscribed. The proceeds will go to fund the 300 MW Cauchari solar plant that is being co-financed by the Export-Import Bank of China. Upon completion of the project, 80% of the solar plant with be owned by state energy company JEMSE, with the balance owned by Power China, Shanghai Electric and Talesun.

Peru signs Amazon Hydrovia contract — IJGlobal
MTC suscribe contrato de concesión de hidrovía en frontera con Brasil — El Comercio
Peru’s Ministry of Transport and Communications signed a deal with the Amazon Hydrovia consortium (a 50-50 agreement between Sinohydro and the Peruvian Construcción y Administración S.A.) to provide dredging service for rivers in northeast Peru along the border with Brazil, providing improved navigation for the Loreto region’s 1.1 million people.

Chengdú, la ciudad de la China profunda por la que apuesta Chile — La Tercera
A profile of Sichuan’s capital Chengdu — which has benefited as a logistics hub for food from Latin America — through the eyes of a delegation of Chileans companies around Chile Week.

Saúde: governador articula com gigante chinesa implantação de empresa no Ceará — O Estado
The governor of the northeast Brazilian state of Ceará Camilo Santana signed an MOU this week with China’s Medical Health Company (Meheco) to build a factory for high complexity imaging machines (X-rays, CT scanners, and ultrasounds) in the state’s Pecém Port and Industrial Complex. The governor also courted the China Development Bank for investments.

Llegan a México autobuses chinos para Querétaro — El Financiero
The city of Querétaro took delivery this week of the first 57 Higer buses to help upgrade public transport in the city. Banca Mifel financed the deal for undisclosed terms, and will give the city 222 new buses.

Em busca de investimentos, Mogi quer intercâmbio com a China — O Diário
The Mayor of Mogi das Cruzes, east of São Paulo, has been on a roadshow of sorts. Last month he was in Dallas and Washington, DC. This past week he was in Shanghai, extolling the virtues of the city and looking for investments.

China infrastructure projects in T&T employed 12,700 over last decade — Trinidad Express
Highlighting some of the benefits of China’s role in Trinidad and Tobago, this article notes the two studies out earlier this month by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). They found that China infrastructure projects in T&T employed 12,700 over the last decade, T&T has the highest connectivity with China in the region, and China-Caribbean relations are forecast to intensify with Guyana oil discoveries.

Bidding opens for China Fishery Group’s Peruvian subsidiaries — Seafood Source
Four of China Fishery Group’s assets are up for sale.

Indústria aeroespacial chinesa busca parceiros na América Latina — Diário Comércio Indústria & Serviços
China Great Wall is looking for partners in Latin America for a global satellite data collections project. 

Trump’s Rhetoric and the Sino-Latin American Relationship — Charged Affairs
Por incertidumbre con TLCAN, México debe abrir mercados comerciales en China y UE: académicos — Diario de Xalapa
Everyone says Mexico should look to China (and the European Union) in the era of Trump.

Colombia y China preparan acuerdos a nivel futbolístico — RCN Radio
Sadly, Carlos Valderrama is not being traded to China. But the Colombian Football Federation is discussing allowing Chinese investment in Colombian soccer teams.

Korea-LAC

Pymes tendrán apoyo tecnológico de Corea — El Peruano
Peru and Korea have agreed to set up a Peru-Korea Technical Exchange Center (PKTEC) in Peru, that will allow for technology transfer from Korean firms to Peruvian SMEs.

Mexico, Korea bolster commerce, security ties — Korea Herald
Aeromexico began a new direct flight connecting Mexico City and Seoul in July.

Vientos de cambio — La Nación Colombia
An op-ed highlighting how the Korea-Colombia free trade agreement that kicked in last year nay start with small things, but can grow into big things for Colombia’s exports, like coffee.

Japan-LAC

Grenergy vende a la japonesa Eurus dos proyectos solares en Chile — Cuatro
Gigante japonés de energías renovables entra al mercado chileno con dos proyectos solares — El Mostrador
Japan’s Eurus Energy America Corporation — a JV between Toyota Tsusho Corporation and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) — has bought two Chilean solar power projects totaling 21MW from Grenergy.

Japan's Mizuho quietly withdrew from Chilean hydro project — NASDAQ
Amid concerns over the project's financial viability, Japan’s Mizuho Bank quietly withdrew from the Alto Maipo hydroelectric project in Chile earlier this year, writing off about $20m that had been disbursed. The decision underscored cost overruns surrounding AES Gener’s $2.5 b project near Santiago. Mizuho's loan to Alto Maipo - a project opposed by many environmentalists and politicians - was never publicly revealed as it formed part of a larger $200 million loan package from the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB).

Cuáles son los tractores japoneses que llegan a Argentina, de la mano de una firma cordobesa — Agrovoz
Japanese tractor company Kubota will begin selling into the Argentine market via Mojón Uno in October.

GCC-LAC

UAE, Mexico: Sharing excellent relations — Khaleej Times
Events marking Mexico's Independence Day provided an opportunity to reflect on the strength of the bilateral relationship the country now shares with UAE. While diplomatic relations date back to 1975, the opening of a Mexican Consulate in Dubai in 2008, followed by the UAE Embassy in Mexico City in 2010, and ultimate the Mexican Emabssy in Abu Dhabi in 2012 have helped the connection flourish. Mexico's Ambassador to the UAE Francisca Escobar notes that:

"bilateral trade has increased an astounding 473 per cent over the span of ten years, from $90 million in 2006 to $519 million in 2016. According to Mexico's Ministry of Economy, the UAE is Mexico's principal trading partner in the Arab World, and the UAE's second most significant trading partner in Latin America, behind only Brazil. "

Arabs have bought 2.7 million shoe pairs from Brazil — Agência de Notícias Brasil-Árabe
Middle Eastern countries continue to be a major destination for footware produced by the Brazilian Footwear Industry Association (ABICALÇADOS). The article states that 60% of the Arab market has bought from Brazil, with the United Arab Emirates represented the largest buyer with 930,000 pairs, followed by Saudi Arabia with 738,800 pairs. 

Brazilian Investors eyeing $32bn GCC projects — Gulf Digital News
A report by Dubai-based market research firm BNC Network points to continued interest by Brazilian firms in the UAE; in particular opportunities in the construction sector. 801 urban construction projects with a combined value of $32b are currently being tendered across the region. That number is expected to rise to $66b by 2019 as large projects such as Expo2020 Dubai and economic diversification policies push more opportunities into the pipeline. 

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