Latin America lucky on Singles' Day?

Up Front

Export agency Apex-Brasil has announced the "Programa E-xport Brasil”, a portfolio of services that will allow Brazilian firms to explore exporting via e-commerce. The services are designed to mirror traditional services offered by Apex-Brasil, such as capacity-building, market intelligence, strategic partnerships, and trade missions. China, the US, Mexico, and Argentina are the four markets that Apex-Brasil sees as its initial targets.

A week before Singles' Day — a Chinese trend seized by Alibaba as an e-commerce marketing juggernaut  — the Apex-Brasil announcement could not better underline the growing importance of e-commerce in Latin America exports to China.

China now accounts for more than 40% of the world’s e-commerce transactions, up from less than 1 per cent a decade ago. E-commerce is growing as China’s online shopping population rose to 390 million in 2015 and is estimated to reach 500 million by 2018. 

Of that, fresh produce e-commerce is predicted to rise to $15b in 2017, a 350% increase over 2014 ($4.3b). Chinese consumers like shopping for fresh produce online because they think it’s fresher, more convenient, and gives them more choices. In particular they seek out imported food, which is seen as prestigious.

This demand has boosted the success of "Chile Week” and more recently Peru’s “Superfoods” marketing campaigns. More recently, half a million Mexican avocados were sold in two days in September after they were unveiled on Alibaba’s Tmall Fresh. And just this week Gruma announced that it will be selling tortillas and totopos via Alibaba, thanks to an agreement signed by President Enrique Peña Nieto and Alibaba head Jack Ma when the latter visited Mexico in May. And Alejandro Wagner of Argentina’s International Commerce and Investment Agency (AAICI) sees the e-commerce potential for his country next week:

“Like the whole world, [Argentina] looks to China. International commerce and ‘Singles Day’ are an enormous opportunity for our country."

Does Apex-Brasil waking up to the opportunity mean that we’ll be able to treat ourselves to pão de queijo in Shanghai on Singles' Day?

Top Stories

Los once restantes del TPP abordan en Japón una nueva ronda de renegociación — El Diario
Negociaciones de TPP sin EU se acercan a fase final — Forbes México
Fears that TPP renegotiations would be scuttled by New Zealand real estate price limits seem to have been avoided. The 11 TPP countries hope to unveil the revised agreement at next week’s APEC meeting in Danang, Vietnam. “The impulse (towards a deal) at the Danang meeting has grown significantly,” says lead Japanese negotiator Kazuyoshi Umemoto. 

Latin America and the Caribbean’s Foreign Trade Shows Signs of Recovery and Will Return to Growth in 2017 — ECLAC
Commodities Dominate Latin American Exports — Two Weeks Notice
China liderará las exportaciones de América Latina en 2017, según CEPAL — Xinhua
Com alta das vendas à China, comércio exterior da América Latina se recupera e volta crescer — Comex do Brasil
China to become top destination of LatAm exports in 2017: ECLAC — China Daily
Comercio entre China y América Latina recupera crecimiento rápido — Xinhua
Commodities continue to drive Latin American exports, and China continues to drive commodities. Latin American exports are up 10% for 2017; exports to Asia are up 17%; and exports to China up 23%. The challenge to diversify away from commodities remains:

According to ECLAC, the current high concentration in raw materials imposes the urgent challenge of “decommoditizing” the export basket, which is also true of other sectors related to natural resources. For this to occur, it is necessary to develop attributes that differentiate products, such as quality, brand, traceability, safety and international certifications (for organic production, fair trade or reduced environmental footprint, among others), which allow for fetching higher prices in global markets, the organization indicates. Furthermore, officials must generate conditions that are more favorable to processing those products that today the region exports almost exclusively in their raw form.

Iniciativa de la Franja y la Ruta promueve desarrollo sostenible de relaciones económicas entre China y América Latina — Xinhua
China quiere aterrizar la 'Franja y la Ruta' en la comunicación — El Telégrafo
Impulsan nexos entre medios de China y América — El Universal
China hosted a “China-Latin America Forum of Communications Media” with the goal of using Chinese culture as a media “Belt and Road” to connect with Latin America.

Chinese merchant opens grand shopping center in Chile's capital — Xinhua
The 40,000 square-meter Asia Pacific Shopping Center, owned by Chinese businessman Qian Jiugen, opened in Santiago this week. The complex is supposed to help other Chinese businesses by providing them with the services they need to establish themselves.

China-LAC

Exportaciones de Panamá hacia China crecerán 49.2% en 2017 — Forbes México
The ECLAC data confirms that Panama’s bet on diplomatic relations with China is beginning to pay off. Exports to China will be up almost 50% in 2017. The Colón Free Zone (ZLC) continues to be the  driver of bilateral trade, with one third of the ZLC’s imports coming from mainland China.

“Llegar a China con carne con hueso y enfriada será revolucionario” — Agrovoz
Más carne argentina para el mundo: China, a un paso; EEUU y Europa, a varios — Agrovoz
Argentina, más cerca de exportar carne con hueso a China  — Agritotal
Argentina is getting closer to exporting beef on the bone to China. Chinese authorities have sent a protocol to the National Service for Agriculture Health and Quality (Senasa), who will respond this month in hopes of getting approval to export in 2018.

Perú busca apertura al mercado turístico de Asia con China — Xinhua
Perú quiere atraer a un millón de turistas chinos — Notimerica
Promperú: Llegada de turistas chinos a Perú aumentó 32% anual hasta julio del 2017 — Mercados y Regiones
The number of Chinese tourists visiting Peru in the first half of the year is up 32%, thanks to concerted efforts by Promperú, such as launching a tourism website in Chinese. However, that is still only about 40,000 tourists annually. But Carlos Canales, President of the Lima Convention Bureau, is thinking big - he wants to attract a million tourists a year.

Promoverán en China sitios turísticos — El Sol de México
China-Latin America and Caribbean Expo the place to be — Jamaica Observer
Peru is not the only one looking to Chinese tourists. Representatives from Tamaulipas tourism sites Canaco Madero and Tampico are headed to the China-LAC International Expo in Zhuhai later this month. The Jamaica Observer encourages representatives from the Caribbean Community (Caricom), Jampro, and the tourism ministry to go, as well.

China firms in talks to bid in Brazil's grain rail auction — Reuters
Have Chinese SOEs caught Ferrogrão Fever? An unnamed group of state-owned Chinese firms plan to form a consortium to bid in an auction for the right to build and operate the R$12.6b ($3.89b) railroad known as Ferrogrão, according to Adalberto Vasconcelos, Brazil’s secretary for the government’s public-private partnerships program.

Peru’s Camposol boosts shrimp volumes amid China opening — Undercurrent News
Peru's Camposol boosted the volume of shrimp it sold this year by 22%, and expects things to grow further thanks to the deal inked last month by the Peruvian government to gain access to the Chinese market.

BOJ weighs use of Chinese renminbi as reserve currency — Jamaica Gleaner
The internationalization of the RMB continues to follow Chinese trade links, with senior deputy governor of the Bank of Jamaica saying the are eyeing the renminbi as an opportunity to reduce reliance on US dollar usage in the Jamaican economy:

“Given China's significant investments in Jamaica and Jamaican businesses' high trade volume with China, there may be opportunities to reduce the need for a third currency - the USD - for settlements of transactions".

MoU on lobster export won't allow Chinese to fish in J'can waters, assures Gov’t — Jamaica Observer
The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries is defending the MOU signed last month allowing fishery processing establishments to export live lobsters to China, and says it will not allow Chinese vessels or fishers to fish in local waters.

The FinTech Boom: China vs Latin America — Ideas matter - IADB
While China and Latin America are similar FinTech markets in having high cellphone penetration and inefficient banking systems, the Inter-American Development bank notes some struggles. In Latin America it is hard for Fintech startups to operate in more than one country because of different regulations across borders.

As LatAm Boosts China Links, Panda Bond Market Opens New Doors — Bonds Loans
An interview with Martin Maciak, Head of Asia Cross Border Origination for the Americas at HSBC, about the potential for Latin American borrowers to issue yuan-denominated bonds. We’re not there yet, so Maciak says: "To catalyse the market, Latin America would need a pioneer to make a LatAm Panda bond issuance debut."

Traen inversiones de China y Corea a Coahuila — Vanguardia
Coahuila sent a trade mission including 22 firms to Hong Kong, China, Singapore, and Korea this week. Out of the trip two auto projects are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

Cómo la pelea entre China y Taiwán ha 'regalado' estadios en todo el mundo — Univision
One of the side-effects of the ongoing struggle for diplomatic recognition between China and Taiwan is a bunch of new stadiums across the region. Nicaragua just received a new baseball stadium financed by Taiwan, while Costa Rica’s National Stadium was part of a cooperation agreement with Mainland China.

Chinese-Led Infrastructure Boom Mostly Bypasses Pakistan's Banks — Bloomberg
A cautionary tale from Pakistan for Latin American financial institutions looking to take a advantage of Chinese investment in infrastructure. While local banks in Pakistan want to offer financing, much of its has already been filled by the Chinese with Pakistani lenders getting little look in.

São Paulo pode sediar o primeiro hospital chinês da América Latina — Governo do Estado de São Paulo
São Paulo Governor Geraldo Alckmin (PSDB) met with a Chinese medical mission this week, discussing the potential to build the first Chinese hospital in Latin America. The proposed hospital would combine traditional Chinese medicine with Western technology.

China potencia la explotación de hierro en Perú — Dirigentes Digital
Zhongron Xinda Group has announced it will invest €2.15b in it’s Peruvian subsidiary Jinzhao Mining to develop the Pampa de Pongo iron mine. The group is running against the clock, looking to complete engineering studies this month, so as to be able to begin developing the mine in May of next year.

Trendy Chinese brands heading west — Jamaica Gleaner
Nicole Nan, vice president of the bike sharing company, Ofo, toured Latin American and Caribbean journalists last week around the Ofo skyscraper in Beijing, and talked about their plans to one day expand to Latin America.

En el gobierno chino dicen que hay interés en un tratado de libre comercio con el país — La Nación
Shao Yingjun, economic councilor at the Department of the Americas and Oceania in the Chinese Ministry of Commerce reiterates interest in a FTA with Argentina: “We always have this interest. We have already raised it. It could be an FTA with Mercosur."

TPG, China Telecom Discuss Possible Oi Bid With Brazilian Official - Media — NYT
Exclusive: Shareholder in Brazil's Oi leans on distressed debt funds for support — Reuters
U.S. private equity firm TPG Capital Management LP and state-owned China Telecom Corp Ltd met with Brazil's solicitor general on Monday to discuss a possible takeover of debt-laden telecom provider Oi SA. As part of the deal, TPG would be the majority partner and China Telecom would take a minority stake. Oi is also being looked at by Nelson Tanure, who is teaming up with a consortium of other bondholders: Solus Alternative Asset Management, Attestor Capital, Centerbridge Partners, Silver Point Capital, and Davidson Kempner Capital Management.

Aguacate Hass colombiano busca el gigante mercado Chino — Radio Caracol
China continues its evaluation of Colombia avocados for import, with a second round of inspectors in Colombia this week. Local grower Juan Camilo Ruíz Pérez expects a positive announcement come March.

Minería: convertir la utopía en igualdad de oportunidades — Télam
Mario Osvaldo Capello, Argentina’s sub secretary for Mining Development, writes about the opportunities that open to Argentina with trade with China. 

Preocupa si China y América Latina "seguirán floreciendo en el mediano plazo” — Extra
A summary of a presentation of the growth of Argentina-China trade by the University of Rosario’s Sonia Durán at the Fudan-Latin America Consortium (FLAUC)

Korea-LAC

Proveedor de refacciones de Kia invierte 450 mdd en México — Economía Hoy
Mobis, distributor of Kia Motors in Mexico, unveiled a new $450m Parts Distribution Center in the State of Mexico. 

Samsung Pay llegará a México — CNET en Español
Samsung Pay has announced it is going to launch in Mexico, and will let us know when at an event next week (Nov 6) in Mexico City. 

Japan-LAC

Lanzan el Kaizen-Tango — La Politica Online
Japón invertirá US$ 6 millones en un proyecto que beneficiará a más de 100 pymes argentinas — Apertura
The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Argentina’s National Insitute of Industrial Technology 9INTI) have collaborated to launch the Kaizen Tango project, that will dedicate $6m over the next five years to capacity building 100 Argentine SMEs.

India-LAC

Brazil to enhance strategic technological partnership with India in Agribusiness — Afternoon Voice
India’s MVIRDC World Trade Centre and the All India Association of Industries hosted a Brazilian business delegation representing the agriculture and processing industries.

GCC-LAC

UAE Consul-General and Mayor of Sao Paulo meet to discuss avenues for cooperation — Zawya
São Paulo Mayor João Doria (PSDB) hosted UAE Consul-General in São Paulo Ibrahim Salem Al Alawi; they discussed with him business and investment cooperation between the two sides.

Brazil's Mato Grosso lures UAE investors for road projects — Reuters
Mato Grosso hopes to attract around $458 million in private investments in the first phase of the road development program. Initially three contracts will be awarded to operate stretches totaling 525 kilometers (326 miles). “UAE is very interested in building a strategic partnership with Brazil, especially in the agriculture sector,” Ambassador to Brazil Hafsa Al Ulama told Reuters.

ASEAN & Oceania-LAC

Engie, Mubadala in race for Petrobras Brazil pipeline; Singapore’s GIC also interested — Deal Street Asia
Petrobras is looking to sell a 90% stake in gas distribution network Transportadora Associada de Gás (TAG) by the end of November for at least $5.2 b. Abu Dhabi state-owned holding Mubadala Development Co., Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), and private equity group EIG Global Energy Partners, are all rumored to be interested. Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC, which bought a minority stake in another gaspipeline network from Petrobras last year, is also looking at the deal.

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