Latam-Asia trade fest at APEC

Up Front

The APEC Summit in Vietnam this weekend will be a turning point for Asia-Latin America relations, where they will deepen and - more importantly - begin to disconnect from the United States.

Last minute Canadian tantrums aside, the eleven remaining members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership are set to announce a revived version of the trade pact. As a result, bilateral trade between (East) Asia and Latin America will no longer be anchored by a US whose government is increasingly turning in on itself. The TPP has the potential to connect Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam in a free trade area operating under trade rules that will not be driven by the world’s two largest economies - the US and China. 

Chile, who kicked off the TPP 2.0 process by hosting a ministerial meeting in March and sees itself as an evangelist for the free trade agenda, isn’t stopping there. This weekend will also see the signing of what their Ambassador to China is calling a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) 2.0 between the two countries, bringing services into the discussion.

Mexico has also been looking for new partners on fear that the US will break up NAFTA, with producers in that country pushing for FTA with Korea and elsewhere. China has seen its opportunity and moved in, driving an agenda that may lead the two countries to negotiate a FTA.

Peru and Australia, not wanting to be left out of the action - and not wanting to wait for the TPP - are also signing an FTA this weekend.

While there are those in Washington questioning the benefits of free trade, the countries of the Pacific basin are wasting no time. But Argentine President Mauricio Macri tells the US it needs to get with the program

“I think at this time it wouldn’t be very intelligent of the US, that has been the principal partner of Latin America for so many years, to leave this role to China, to Japan, or other regions."

We’ll see if Washington listens.

Top Stories

Chinesa Cofco vende negócio de sementes na América Latina à Syngenta — Terra
China's COFCO sells Latam seeds business to Syngenta — Times of India
After a troubled three years, COFCO has sold its Nidera subsidiary to Syngenta. Financial terms were not disclosed but a Syngenta spokesman said it hoped to have regulatory approvals completed by the end of the year or early next year. Selling the business to Syngenta means it will remain under Chinese ownership following ChemChina's takeover this year of the Swiss crop chemical and seed group.

The geopolitics of Venezuela’s debt — FT
China's Dagong Places Venezuelas Credit Rating on Negative List — Latin American Herald Tribune
Venezuela faces epic default as China and Russia pull the plug — The Telegraph
How Long Can Venezuela Count on Russia and China? — WOLA
Venezuela will restructure its debt 2 — Bloggings by Boz  
The ongoing imbroglio of Venezuelan bond payments is driven in large part by China’s decision to stop throwing good money after bad at the Maduro administration. China has been willing to countenance the Maduro regime because it sits on 300 billion barrels of oil; but they also want to have a good relationship with whoever will be sitting on those barrels of oil in the future.

Chineses querem investir ainda mais no Brasil — R7
Trelew participará de la primera feria global de China para América Latina — Diario Jornada
Brazilian federal deputy Fausto Pinato heads to this weekend’s Zhuhai China-LAC International Expo looking for more Chinese investment in Brazil, and he thinks he’ll find it. The expo will also have participation from the Argentine city of Trelew. We expect lots of Welsh tea house paraphernalia.

Peter Gordon: China's Latin America ambitions highlight 'silver way’ strategy — Nikkei Asian Review
Academic Peter Gordon warns that Washington should brace for Beijing's Belt and Road in its own ‘backyard’:

Now no less a figure than Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said that Latin America is a "natural extension" of the maritime Silk Road, and that the BRI is a model for the way in which China-Latin America cooperation can be structured.

China-LAC

La embajada argentina en Pekín, supermercado por un día para Alibaba — EFE
Prueba piloto: Alibabá ya vende productos argentinos en China — Clarín
Alibaba ya vende productos argentinos en China — Cadena 3 Argentina
Ahead of Single’s Day (11/11), Alibaba and the Argentine embassy in Beijing set up an Argentine “supermarket” in the embassy, selling steak, wine, prawns, fresh fruit, olive oil, sweets and herbs.

Chineses criam fundo de US$ 3 bi para financiar projetos no Brasil — Paraná Cooperativo
The Chamber of Commerce for Brazil-China International Development (CCDIBC) has announced a $3b fund for Brazilian companies looking to do business with China. The fund is supposedly underwritten by the Chinese government and the Huayang Group, which is purported to be the owners of Xiamen International Bank.

Empresas de productos del mar participan en feria China Fisheries & Seafood 2017 —PortalPortuario
Twenty Chilean companies went to the China Fisheries & Seafood Expo this week in Qingdao.

Para Guelar, exportar a China "es una oportunidad que Argentina no debe perder” — Télam
Argentina Ambassador in China Diego Ramiro Guelar calls China “an opportunity that Argentina cannot miss"

China estudia formalizar un TLC con Colombia — RCN Radio
China’s Ambassador to Colombia Li Nianping says his country is doing a pre-feasibility study to evaluate an FTA between the two countries. And, yes, China loves avocados.

China ties open opportunities, Panama vice president says — Nikkei Asian Review
Panamanian Vice President and Foreign Minister Isabel de Saint Malo de Alvarado says that Panama's establishment in June of formal diplomatic relations with China will help expand opportunities in tourism and trade for the Central American country.

Chilean avocados to grow in volume and scope with China campaign — Fresh Fruit Portal
Last year Chile accounted for around 80% of avocados in the Chinese market. These interviews with two major Chinese avocado importers and the head of Chile’s avocado industry shed light on the state of play heading into the winter high season.

Chinese oil giants win Brazil offshore auction — ECNS
Consortiums comprising China's three major oil giants, China National Petroleum Corp, China Petroleum & Chemical Corp and China National Offshore Oil Corp, won three blocks in Brazil's deepwater oil auction. The three blocks include Peroba - with an estimated 5.3b barrels of oil - Alto de Cabo Frio West, and Sapinhoa with 350m barrels of oil, all in the Santos basin.

Time for a new Sino-Peru multidisciplinary matrix — Global Times
Juan Carlos Capuñay, Peru’s Ambassador to China, talks up his country’s potential to his hosts, talking about the China-pushed Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) and wanting to share in efforts to project the Belt and Road Initiative in Latin America through a Digital Silk Road.

China Telecom may spend up to $6 bln to control Brazil's Oi — Reuters
China ve en la brasileña Oi su ingreso a las telecom de América Latina — El Economista
“Sources” claim that China Telecom is willing to splash out $6b to control Oi after it comes out of bankruptcy. China Telecom has long been looking for an asset to allow it to enter Latin America. Today’s creditors assembly may determine whether China Telecom is allowed to move forward.

An interview with Peru’s Minister of Commerce and Tourism — CGTN America
An interview with Eduardo Ferreyros talks about his country’s FTA with China (which he literally signed in 2009), and the goals of the current government in Peru.

Chile salmon sales JV encounters ‘tough competition’ in China — Undercurrent News
Chile’s Multiexport will up output amid fast China growth — Undercurrent News
New World Currents (NWC), a sales joint venture between several Chilean salmon farmers, saw its sales growth slow in 2017 with competition in the market growing. Two other Chilean players with a presence in the Chinese market (Multiexport and Los Fiordos) have now offered fresh salmon, and Norway and China agreed to normalize their diplomatic relationship earlier this year, which will bring more competitors in. Multiexport — for it’s part — has doubled sales in China over the past year, boosted by access to the sales network of its Japanese shareholder Mitsui (which owns just under a quarter of the firm).

Crivella tenta negociar dívida do Rio na China — Jornal do Brasil
Em busca de recursos para o Rio — O Globo
Rio de Janeiro mayor Marcelo Crivella, looking for funds for projects for his cash-strapped city, has gone to the Chinese Development Bank to refinance the city’s debt with the Brazilian federal government. He defends "going and talking directly with Chinese authorities” by saying he is looking for investments in a public-private partnership sponsored by the World Bank to modernize the 430,000 light posts in the city, as well as the Operação Urbana Consorciada (OUC) to unite the Barra da Tijuca and Vargens neighborhoods with the rest of the city.

“Chineses estão sedentos por investimentos no agronegócio brasileiro”, diz João Doria — Infomoney
In other Brazilian mayoral news, São Paulo’s João Doria is pushing Brazilian ag companies to look to China for new markets.

Atfa y un proyecto entre Argentina y China — Sin Mordaza
The Argentina Soccer Coaches Association (ATFA) is working to help develop Chinese coaches and players.

Viceministro de Granos de China visita Argentina — Agritotal
The Chinese quest for agriculture and food continues, with Viceminister for State Grain Administration Lu Jingbo visiting Argentina.

China rejeita 26 frigoríficos do Brasil — Dinheiro Rural
China libera 22 frigoríficos para exportação e dois estão em MT; plantas podem gerar U$ 1 bi ao ano — Olhar Direto
China approved 22 meat refrigeration companies to export from Brazil, but rejected 26 others, saying their products did not match those on the bilateral export protocol. Another 36 were asked for further information.

“Este es el megaproyecto de fibra submarina de capitales chinos más grande y austral del mundo” — La Prensa Austral
Huawei Marine is teaming up with Chile’s Comunicación y Telefonía Rural (CTR) to pay fiber optic cable along almost 3,000 kms of southern islands in the Andean country. Huawei is also looking to lay fiber optic cable from Chile to China, with a pre-feasibility study suggesting that a route via Australia and New Zealand making sense.

China Fishery: Fijan precio mínimo para venta de activos en US$ 1,200 millones — Gestión
The trustee in the China Fishery Group case has set a minimum value for the assets to be sold: $1.2b. Interested parties have until December 8 to make a submission.

China: un desafío para América latina — Clarín
Former President of Chile Ricardo Lagos takes the long view on the challenge China shows to Latin America.

China’s new relations with Panama and Costa Rica are another step towards a Beijing Consensus in Central America — LSE Latin America and Caribbean
Sophie Wintgens from the Université Libre de Bruxelles writes that:

China’s strategy towards Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) fulfils four main interests:

1. securing energy, mining, and agricultural resources abroad to maintain domestic economic growth

2. getting political and economic support in regional and international forums

3. encouraging nations to recognise China instead of Taiwan

4. opening new markets for Chinese goods

And that Panama’s recognition of China is part of that strategy.

Korea-LAC

Korea's high-tech products a benchmark for Costa Rica — Korea Times
Alexander Mora, Costa Rica’s foreign trade minister, extols the benefits of the recently signed Central America-Korea FTA for both sides:

"Costa Rican exports of fruit, medical devices, vegetables, pork meat, beef, plants, flowers and electronic products may register the largest increases, while Korean exports of cars, electronic devices, machinery and equipment, textiles and footwear, plastic manufactures and metal products would be the ones with the largest expected increases.”

Panamá y Corea comparten conocimientos en gestión de la inmigración — KBS
Korea is trying to learn from Panama’s experience in getting (rich) retirees to move there.

Japan-LAC

Brasil volta a ter autorização para exportar lácteos ao Japão — Valor
Lácteos: Ministério diz que Brasil teve aprovação do Japão para exportar — Dinheiro Rural
Brazil has received approval to export dairy products to Japan from areas free of hoof-and-mouth disease. Japan is the world’s seventh largest importer of dairy products.

Empresa busca nikkei en Perú para trabajar en Japón — Business Monkey News
Yutaka, a Japanese company is looking for nikkei (members of the Japanese diaspora) from Peru to come to Japan to work in construction, services, and production.

India-LAC

Oberoi to Expand to Latin America, Caribbean — Caribbean Journal
India’s Oberoi Group has signed a deal with Mexico-based Grupo GDI to develop Oberoi hotels and resorts in the US, Canada, Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean. GDI said it would be investing around $100 million in the first two properties, with more to be announced in 2018.

FIEO signs MoU to explore LAC, Caribbean export opportunities — SME Times
Indian exporters' body Federation of Indian Export Organization (FIEO) has signed MoUs with Cuba Chamber of Commerce; Guyana’s Georgetown Chamber of Commerce; and Barbados Chamber of Commerce.

Trinidad & Tobago and Sri Lanka sign counter terrorism deal — Sri Lanka
The Attorney General of Trinidad & Tobago signed memoranda of understanding (MOU) with the Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) of Cuba and Sri Lanka to exchange information to track financiers of terrorism.

GCC-LAC

Brazil rejects Saudi Arabia's overtures on oil output cuts — Zawya
Brazil has rejected an informal effort by Saudi Arabia to coax Latin America's top oil producer into joining OPEC-led production cuts aimed at boosting prices that have been hit by oversupply.

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