All the action between Asia and Latin America is in China this week, where two events are defining relations - the state visit of Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela, and the Zhuhai China-Latin America and the Caribbean International Exposition.
The state visit is still ongoing — with Presidents Varela and Xi set to meet on Friday — so we will have more next week. But the opening of the Panamanian embassy in Beijing will be a “decade-long dream come true.” Panama is also looking to significantly increase Chinese investments, which were $250m last year. China is expected to agree to build a rail line between Panama’s capital and Chiriquí, on the border with Costa Rica (which is the other country that recognizes Beijing in Central America). The meetings in Beijing will be followed by a trip to Shanghai, where Varela will open a consulate.
But the trip is seen in bigger than commercial terms, with Panamanian observers noting that it comes at a moment when the global balance of power seems to be tilting away from an inward-looking US towards a surging China.
Another sign of that tilt was seen at the Zhuhai Exposition. It started off with a bang, with RMB3.2b ($482m) in projects signed, and the inauguration of the 244,000 square meter (2.6m SF), RMB2.5b ($378m) China-Latin America Economic & Trade Cooperation Park. Both sides of the conference recognized that e-commerce is going to be the biggest driver of the relationship going forward, being described as the “Digital Silk Road” between the two areas. Mexico sees the need for closer ties, with the National Confederation of Chambers of Commerce (Concanaco) pushing for e-commerce with China as an alternative to an ever-more tenuous NAFTA. Brazilian observers noted that political instability in their country is seen as an obstacle to investment (although as we discuss below, it hasn’t held everything back).
On the sidelines, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) met with Chinese counterparts in order to foster trade and investment with the region. And we were happy to see Welsh teahouses [and the Peninsula Valdés] get the attention they deserve, with MOUs to promote tourism and commercial exchange.
It was also announced that Zhuhai will host next year’s China-LAC Business Summit.
Caoa compra 50% da chinesa Chery e anuncia investimento de até US$ 2 bilhões no Brasil nos próximos 5 anos — Época Negócios
Licenciado de Hyundai se asocia al fabricante chino de autos Chery en Brasil — W Radio
Chery inks strategic cooperation with Brazil CAOA Group — Just Auto
Following last month’s rumors of Chery’s plans to sell half it’s Brazil operations, it has inked a 'deep strategic cooperation’ agreement with CAOA — assembler of Hyundai, and distributor of Ford, Subaru, and Hyundai in Brazil. The $60m deal gives CAOA 50% of the Chinese brand's Brazilian operations including the Jacareí plant. CAOA intends to invest $2b over the next five years to help Chery capture 5% of the Brazilian market.
Chineses investiram US$ 9,5 bilhões no Brasil em agosto e setembro — Diário Pernambuco
O voraz apetite chinês por investimentos no Brasil — Opinião & Notícia
Brazil’s vulnerability is a big opportunity for Chinese investors — FT
Several pieces about Chinese investment in Brazil, all noting that the investment is driven by the weakness of the Brazilian economy over the past several years. With $10.8b in investments so far this year, China has the potential to best it’s 2010 record of $12.5b. But it may not be the salvation Brazilians hope for. Per Reinaldo Guang Ruey Ma, China head at law firm Tozzini Freire:
“We joke that in the Brazilian popular imagination there are two ideas about China: ‘The Chinese have a lot of money and the Chinese will buy anything.’ The first is true. The second is not.”
Países del Asia-Pacífico sientan las bases de un TPP sin EE.UU. — El Comercio
After some last minute fireworks, the 11 members of the TPP agreed to move on without the US. The now-Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership has received agreement on central elements of the text from all the Trade Ministers, and is expected to move towards signature.
COFCO to nearly double soy sourcing in Brazil's Mato Grosso state — Reuters
COFCO plans to nearly double the volume of soybeans it sources in top Brazilian grains state of Mato Grosso during the next five years, according to Governor Pedro Taques, on his trip to China this week. According to a report by Mato Grosso’s official news agency, COFCO Vice-President Jingtao Chao told the entourage traveling with Taques that he plans to increase soybean sourcing in Mato Grosso to 7.2 million tonnes from 4 million tonnes currently.
China says Venezuela can 'appropriately' handle debt load — Reuters
As Venezuela begins what looks to be a protracted and difficult renegotiation with private-sector bondholders, China — unlike Russia — looks to keep its distance from the morass. Says Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang: "“We believe the Venezuelan government and people have the ability to appropriately handle their affairs, including the debt issue."
Dr. Rowley is headed to China — Daily Express
PM not off to China, yet — Newsday
In what has heads scratching around the Caribbean, the government of Trinidad and Tobago announced that Prime Minister Rowley was headed to China at the beginning of December to participate in a summit with 10 other leaders from around the world; five days later — after a visit from the Chinese Ambassador — the government said the trip was off.
El embajador argentino en China entregó langostinos argentinos en el Día de los Solteros — La Prensa
A nice little touch from last week’s Single’s Day story about the Argentine Embassy turning itself into a supermarket: Ambassador Diego Guelar selling live lobster to a family.
PPK y Xi Jinping buscan afianzar relaciones entre Perú y China — El Comercio
PPK wheeling and dealing: Peru’s President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski met with China’s Xi Jinping on the sidelines of APEC. Both sides agreed to work towards deepening and improving relations between the two countries, but nothing concrete was unveiled.
China y Chile firman acuerdo de actualización del TLC de 2005 — América Economía
Also at APEC, Chile and China signed their “FTA 2.0” agreement, modernizing the Free Trade Agreement the two sides signed in 2005.
China quiere iniciar conversaciones y un estudio para posible TLC con Colombia — Blu Radio
Chinese Ambassador Li Nianping says his country is ready to begin looking at a Free Trade Agreement with Colombia, driven by China’s demand for agricultural products.
China dispuesta a avanzar en el TLC a pesar del rechazo de Brasil — El Observador
Uruguay does what it does best - finessing it’s position despite it’s two large neighbors. Uruguay and China are beginning to discuss a Free Trade Agreement, despite Brazil turning one down. The ball is now in Montevideo’s court to get out from under Mercosur to move it forward.
Brasil y Argentina se unen para aumentar el flujo de turistas en China — W Radio
Embratur and Argentina’s Ministry of Tourism are teaming up to promote both countries in selected Chinese cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou.
Totoaba, 10 veces más cara que el caviar en el mercado negro chino — Televisa
Putting August’s agreement between the Mexico, China, and the US on totoaba/drum fish in perspective, a report that the fish is worth ten times it’s weight in caviar on the Chinese black market.
Chile se convierte en principal proveedor de aguacate para China — Xinhua
Chile’s commercial attaché in Beijing Andreas Pierotic is pleased to announce that his country has displaced Mexico as the king of avocado exports to China.
Shrimp industry needs to invest USD 1 billion to increase productivity — Fish Information & Services
Langostinos: Perú gana mercado potencial de $ 500 mlls. en China — Diario Correo
The Peruvian shrimp industry should invest close to USD 1 billion to change its production matrix in order to increase its productivity, said the president of the fishing and aquaculture committee of the Association of Exporters (ADEX), Henry Quiroz. This investment is in anticipation of an increase in demand following the expected April start of exports to China. That increased demand could total $500m annually.
Em seu último dia de viagem à China, Crivella faz saldo positivo — Jornal do Brasil
Rio de Janeiro Mayor Marcelo Crivella made a deal on the last day of his trip to China - Feilo Sylvania has agreed to look into a PPP to replace Rio’s 450,000 streetlights with LED lights and install security cameras and wifi.
Agroquímicos: qué cambia para la industria local con los mayores controles ambientales en China — La Nación
Chinese efforts to improve local environmental conditions can impact agrochemical exporters like those in Argentina, according to Red Surcos’ Sebastián Calvo. Both the tightening of environmental standards and the closing of Chinese companies that can’t meet them will weigh on demand for certain fungicides and insecticides.
Inicia gira de trabajo de Silvano Aureoles en China; se reúne con el embajador de México — El Despertar
Michoacán Governor Silvano Aureoles Conejo is in China this week, pushing the Lázaro Cárdenas Special Economic Zone and other opportunities for investment in the state.
Los vinos argentinos de cuatro provincias ya se venden en la tienda on line de Alibaba — iProfesional
Wines of Argentina has been busy on Alibaba’s platforms, getting wines from four provinces — Mendoza, San Juan, Salta and La Rioja — on the company’s websites. Unsurprisingly, it’s mostly Malbec.
Huawei quiere unir China y Chile con un cable submarino de fibra óptica: ¿Qué tan factible es el plan? — Fayer Wayer
A brief analysis of the last week’s proposal by Huawei to lay fiber optic cable between Chile and China. Unclear how much more it is than merely a PR push.
Relación México-China, en “el mejor momento” — El Universal
Mexico’s Ambassador to China, José Luis Bernal Rodríguez, says that bilateral relations are in their “best moment,” but doesn’t tip his hand on an FTA timetable.
Argentina aprueba el préstamo chino para la financiación del mayor parque solar de América Latina — PV Magazine
Following Jujuy’s $210m issuance in September, China EXIM has extended $332m in credit to finance 85% of the 300 MW Cachauri solar park. Work on the park began in October.
Uruguay seeking to boost air connections to China — ECNS
"Hopefully, in the context of the 30th anniversary of the start of relations between the two countries, which will be celebrated in 2018, Uruguay and China will sign an agreement (to open flights),” says deputy tourism minister, Benjamin Liberoff.
Latin America is fragmented – countries must improve China relations bilaterally — China Dialogue
Latin America "must articulate a strategy for partnering with China, experts said at the second international conference organised by the China-Latin America: Multidisciplinary Focuses network (REDCAEM) in Santiago, Chile, last week."
Latin America's Two Trade Blocs Get a Little Closer — Stratfor
Are Mercosur and the Pacific Alliance getting cosy? They’re taking small steps on the path to convergence, according to Stratfor, as the US’s lukewarm attitude on NAFTA and the revival of the TPP have reoriented interests in both blocks toward the Pacific.
New markets lift Peru’s blues exports — Fruit Net
Slight delays but similar volumes for Chilean blueberries in 2017-18 — Fresh Fruit Portal
Frutacloud’s first charter fight carrying Chilean cherries lands in China — Fresh Fruit Portal
Chile braced for cherry lift-off in China — America Fruit
Ahead of the Southern Hemisphere growing season, both Chile and Peru are looking to China to drive strong demand for their specialty berry and fruit production.
Ties with Dominican Republic stabilized: MOFA — Focus Taiwan
After the rumors that mainland China was looking to capture bilateral diplomatic relations with the Dominican Republic from Taiwan, Taipei says that diplomatic relations have been “stabilized" following a series of two-way high level official visits over the past month.
China's Jisco set to ship first Jamaican alumina cargo — NASDAQ
China's state-owned Jiuquan Iron & Steel Group (Jisco) will ship the first cargo of alumina from its Alpart refinery in Jamaica to China next week.
KPX Transfers Korea’s Knowledge of Operating Power to Latin America — Business Korea
The Korea Power Exchange (KPX) hosted the World Bank's "Green Growth Knowledge Exchange Project” on November 2 for electric industry experts from seven countries of Latin America, including the ministers of energy of El Salvador and Panama, and others from Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Mexico.
México exportará más a Rusia, Sudamérica y Corea del Sur si TLCAN llega a su fin — SDP Noticias
In the event of a collapse of NAFTA, the president of Mexico’s National Agriculture Council feels that the ongoing negotiations of a Free Trade Agreement with South Korea — expected be finalized in the coming months — will be one of the tools the industry will use to diversify exports.
Corea, un mercado potencial para México: Embajador — El Comentario
Bruno Figueroa Fischer, Mexican Ambassador to South Korea, took advantage of the fifth International Academic Day on Korea at the University of Colima to extol the virtues of the Asian country as an export market for Mexican firms.
Kuczynski: eliminación de la doble tributación con Japón permitirá atraer inversiones — Andina
PPK wheeling and dealing, con’t: Also at APEC, PPK sat down with Abe and agreed on a double-taxation treaty with Japan, which is expected to drive investment to Peru.
México y Japón deben ampliar más su relación comercial: Peña Nieto — El Sol del Centro
President Enrique Peña Nieto met with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and said that Mexico needs to deepen it’s relations with Japan, in case the US decides to overturn the NAFTA applecart.
Comisiones del Senado aprueban nuevo acuerdo aduanero con Japón — Televisa
The Mexican Senate has moved forward on a customs agreement with Japan, with the Commissions on Foreign Relations and on Asia-Pacific Relations both voting unanimously on the measure. The agreement now goes to a floor vote, where it is expected to pass.
Venezuela's PDVSA to tap oil customers to pay $449 million to ONGC — Reuters
ONGC to deepen cooperation with Venezuela despite US and EU sanctions — National Herald
The Venezuelan crisis is being felt everywhere. India’s top oil producer Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has an investment in a Venezuelan energy project and has so far received only $88m of a $534m dividend payment. PDVSA has not made payments to ONGC for six months and has previously turned to Russia’s state-owned Gazprombank and Indian refiner Reliance Industries for help to make payments. Now PDVSA will use existing crude oil customers or new Indian state buyers as intermediaries to settle the $449m owed.
Cabinet approves 'JID' b/w India & Colombia — United News of India
India’s cabinet approved a Joint Interpretative Declaration (JID) between India and Colombia on the existing Investment Promotion Agreement signed in 2009, clarifying many terms of the agreement.
Colombian president chases more investment from UAE firms — Arabian Business
President Juan Manuel Santos was in Dubai this week, pushing on investment from UAE businesses on tourism, agri-business and renewable energy. Santos and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai, presided over agreements between the two countries on double taxation and investments.
Dubai Airshow: Made in the UAE — Arabian Aerospace
Gulf firm Calidus is to unveil its new B-250 light attack aircraft and advanced armed trainer. The B-250 is claimed to be “the first military fighter ever developed in the UAE”, but has been co-developed with Brazil’s Novaer, and is understood to have been designed by that company’s Hungarian-born chief designer, Joseph Kovács, who had previously led the design of the Embraer T-27 Tucano.
UAE Ambassador hosts dinner for Mexican officials — MENA FM
Ahmed Hatem Al Menhali, UAE Ambassador to Mexico, hosted Antonio Echevarria Garcia, Governor of the State of Nayarit.
Brazil exports cattle and technology to the UAE — Brazil-Arab News Agency
The United Arab Emirates are importing a herd of 210 head of cattle from Brazil. São Paulo's Agro Betel is also coordinating the setting up of a bovine genetics lab in the emirate of Fujairah.
ASEAN & Oceania-LAC
El Perú y Australia firmarán tratado de libre comercio — El Peruano
PPK wheeling and dealing, further con’t: as expected, PPK and Aussie PM Malcolm Turnbull inked a free trade agreement on the sidelines of the APEC summit. Bilateral trade has nowhere to go but up - last year it was $363m; 70% of Peru’s exports were metallic ores.