Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela’s state visit to China did not disappoint, either for the Panamananians or the Chinese.
As expected with a well-managed state visit, while there were lots of events, there were few surprises. President Varela described the trip as “an intense agenda, but extremely productive,” and the agenda shows it. Panama formally opened its embassy in Beijing. The two parties signed 19 cooperation agreements, including: agriculture, international trade, investment, electricity and tourism. Air China will begin flights to Panama (via Houston) in March of next year. And the Colón Free Trade Zone (ZLC) signed a cooperation agreement with the Zhuhai Latin America Industrial Park. This all done with the hopes of attracting more Chinese business and investment to Panama, and making the country the trade hub for China in Latin America.
“Undoubtedly, our decision would serve as a model for other countries to follow – which is that other countries will follow our example of supporting the one-China policy.
“I believe that the one-China consensus would be strengthened in other countries in the region.”
And Varela instead that the decision to establish recognition with China was national, not political, and will last long after he leaves office:
"When our government made the decision, it received the support of 100% of the population, and from all political parties. I have to recognize that it was a decision of state that will have continuity."
No doubt China would welcome such stability and commitment in all it’s government-to-government relations in Latin America.
Japan Urges TPP Partners to Sign Pact Before Elections — Bloomberg
Learning the lessons from the UK, US — and maybe Germany? — Japan is agitating for a quick signature to the revived Trans-Pacific Partnership, ahead of contentious elections in Malaysia and Mexico in the middle of next year:
"Next year various countries have elections, there’ll be movements in governments," Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said Friday in an interview in Tokyo. "Considering this, we ought to get it signed quickly before then.”
Chineses firmam acordo para melhorar fornecimento de energia no RS — O Globo
Chineses vão investir quase R$ 4 bilhões na rede de energia gaúcha — Jornal do Comércio
China’s investment wave in Brazil continues. Eletrobras, Eletrosul, Shanghai Electric and the China-Latin America Investment Fund have agreed to a R$3.9b ($1.2b) deal to build 1,900km of transmission lines, eight new substation, and expand 13 existing substations in Rio Grande do Sul over the next four years. Details are still to be worked out, according to Eletrosul chief Gilberto Odilon Eggers: “We are discussing the capital structure and contribution from each firm. The balance will come from financing we’ll look for in China and probably BNDES."
Latin America: During January/September, the volume of steel imports from China decreased 4%, while the average price increased 32% — Hellenic Shipping News
Interesting deep dive into the trend in steel prices across Latin America — and the impact of the decline in Chinese exports — summed up in this chart:
Grupo de Alto Nivel México-China: relación más allá de los negocios — El Economista
Empresarios de México y China acuerdan incrementar cooperación — Expansión
Bancomext y el Banco de desarrollo de China renuevan Acuerdo — Jornada UNAM
This week was the fifth meeting of the Mexico-China High-Level Business Group, chaired by ProMéxico and the China Investment Promotion Agency (CIPA). Participants from the private sector included from Mexico Aeroméxico, Alfa, Banobras, Bimbo, CFE, Citibanamex, CNA, Comce, GIA, Gruma, Kaltex, Katcon, Pemex and Softek. From China CBD, CCC, CNOOC, COFCO, CREC, Golden Dragon, Huaneng, Huawei, ICBC, Jinchuan, Sinochem, Sinomach, SINOPEC and ZTE participated. As part of the event, Bancomext and the China Development Bank renewed their 2014 Strategic Cooperation Agreement.
Ecuador president: Manafort pitched deal for China investors — Fox News
Proof that there is no escaping the weirdness that is US politics: Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno says he met with Paul Manafort — former campaign chairman for US President Donald Trump and current money-laundering indictee — this year together with a group of Chinese businessmen interested in acquiring a stake in the nation's power company. Moreno says in a statement Monday that the proposal from the delegation that included Paul Manafort to privatize the state-owned company was rejected because it would have violated Ecuador's constitution.
Em 2018, Bolsonaro viajará a Hong Kong, Japão e Coreia do Sul — Política ao Minuto
Tropical Trump Jair Bolsonaro, presidenciável who is leading in polls ahead of next year’s election in Brazil, has announced plans to visit Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea early next year. Lucky them.
Ecuador presentará portafolio de inversiones en cuatro países — W Radio
Roadshow, Ecuador: Foreign Commercial Minister Pablo Campana goes on the road next week, to the UAE, Russia, South Korea, and Japan. He will be bringing with him potential projects totaling $33b, including investments for petroleum, aeronautics, and fisheries companies.
Brasil negocia base de Alcântara com muitos países — O Globo
Brazil’s defense minister Raul Jungmann confirms that the country has been looking to get other partners who would be interesting in using the star-crossed launching station at Alcântara in Maranhão. China, Russia, Israel, and France are said to be interested, and Jungmann traveled to Washington last week to pitch the Americans.
ENTREVISTA: Huawei aspira a potenciar conectividad mundial desde China con tecnología e innovación — Xinhua
An interview with David Moheno, PR Director for Huawei Consumer Business Group — Latin America, where he talks about the Chinese’s company’s plans for the region, albeit at a very high level.
Chinos interesados en desarrollar el tren conurbado en el Sur de Tamaulipas — El Sol de Tampico
Coming off the Zhuhai expo last week, the head of local business chamber Canaco Madero Marco Antonio Cortés Salazar says there is a lot of interest from Chinese companies in building an urban rail line for the southern sections of Tamaulipas, connecting Tampico, Ciudad Madero, and Altamira. No companies are named.
Rowley: Stop embarrassing Chinese govt — Trinidad Guardian
Chinese checkmate Rowley-style diplomacy — Trinidad Express
While Panama basks in the glow of a successful state visit, the China contretemps in Trinidad gets ugly.
Piñera asegura que de ser elegido, China sería una tremenda prioridad — People’s Daily
Chile's former President Sebastián Piñera, in the lead for a second term headed into the December 17th runoff, says that China would be a “tremendous priority” if he were elected: “We want to strengthen relations. Not just in the trade of goods, but also in that of services, investment, and all types of collaboration."
Peru: Blueberry exports up 30.7% between Jan.-Sept. — Fresh Plaza
Blueberry exports have benefited from increased demand in Hong Kong, which imported almost 300% more over the previous year, according to the Peruvian Association of Exporters (ADEX). With exports to China allowed this year, Peru is now working to lift sanitary barriers for blueberry in South Korea, Japan, India, and Taiwan.
BYD signs green bus deal with Argentine province — China Daily
Chinese automaker BYD will provide 50 electric buses to the Argentine province of La Rioja. The fleet of buses are part of a series of energy deals BYD inked with La Rioja at the China Hi-tech Fair 2017 in Shenzhen. Under the agreements, BYD will provide La Rioja with electric vehicles, solar module products, and battery energy storage systems.
Brazil and China sign PPH agreement — IP Pro Patents
China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) has signed a patent prosecution highway (PPH) agreement with the Brazilian National Institution of Intellectual Property (INPI). PPH agreements allow patent offices to request fast-track examination in the partner country after a patent application has been granted in the home country. A pilot program will be launched in February.
Chile designa a Jaime Chomalí Garib como nuevo embajador en China — Xinhua
Chile has tapped career diplomat Jaime Chomalí Garib — current ambassador to Ethiopia — as it’s new ambassador to China.
Fortifican lazos con Chile y llegar a China por el Pacífico — Provincia de Tucumán
The interior Argentine provinces of Salta, Tucumán, and Jujuy are looking to use the Chilean Iquique Free Zone to export goods like lemons and cranberries to China.
Oceana: Peru’s second anchovy season won’t cause fishmeal supply shock — Undercurrent News
A discussion on how strong Peru’s second anchovy season of 2017 will be. Of note, 50% of Peru’s season has already been pre-sold to Chinese buyers, limiting price shocks.
Peru to soon start shrimp exports to China — Undercurrent News
Peru should soon start to export frozen vannamei shrimp to China, following a deal between the two countries that Peruvian Foreign Trade and Tourism Minister Eduardo Ferreyros signed last week.
"Last week Mr. Ferreyros signed [a deal] in China," one source close to the matter told Undercurrent News.
"So, we will see how quick [the Peruvian health authority] Sanipes can have everything set to start export vannamei shrimps from Peru to China," the source added.
He told Undercurrent he hoped it would be a "matter of weeks".
Peru: Chinese canned fish pulled from market due to anisakis worms — Outbreak News Today
Yikes. Peru’s fisheries regulator SANIPES has decided to pull all food from Tropical Food Maniufacuturing (Ningbo) Ltd. until China’s AQSIQ can guarantee the safety of their products.
Rio Tinto, China's private equity prepare to bid for lithium producer SQM — Reuters
In the ongoing quest for lithium, Rio Tinto, Canada’s Wealth Minerals and Chinese private equity firm GSR Capital are considering a bid for a stake in Chilean lithium producer SQM. This follows last month’s rumors that Sinochem was in the hunt
Uruguay tries fashion route to boost wool sale in China — Fibre 2 Fashion
Uruguay wants to boost its sale of wool to China by expanding into fashion and design, its ambassador to China Fernando Lugris recently said while meeting designers from his country in Beijing.
Chile puts on a show in China — America Fruit
ASOEX (the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association) put on a show at the Food and Hotel China (FHC China) 2017 trade exhibition in Shanghai this week.
Think Tanks de América Latina se enfocan en experiencias de China — China Radio International
A summary of the Beijing International Think-Tank Symposium last week, with a focus on comments from some Latin America think tanks.
Samsung Pay officially launches in Mexico — Neowin
Samsung Pay launched in Mexico this week. However, details are sketchy, so it’s unclear who exactly is going to be using it.
América Latina celebra la primera expo de la ola coreana — Yonhap
São Paulo hosted the "Expo hallyu 2017” this week, showcasing Korean goods and K-pop.
K Line ramps up its auto-logistics business in Chile — Seatrade Maritime News
Japan’s Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha — better known as K Line — is ramping up its auto-logistics business in Chile through KAR Logistics, a joint venture with Agencias Universales (AGUNSA). The company offers logistics services throughout Latin America, and auto-logistics in Santiago, Chile since August.
Japan to offer dollar-denominated loans to developing nations — Nikkei Asia Review
Japan's government will start offering dollar-denominated development assistance loans. While this helps with exchange risk borrowers have with dealing with Yen, this doesn’t solve the "original sin” of emerging markets borrowing that has contributed to crises in the past.
ASEAN & Oceania-LAC
Peru: FTA with Australia will boost Asparagus exports — Fresh Plaza
Put another asparagus on the barbie? The newly-inked FTA between Peru and Australia will be a boon for Peruvian asparagus and quinoa growers, according to the Foreign Trade Research and Development Institute (IDEXCAM) of the Chamber of Commerce of Lima (CCL). Sugar-free cocoa powder and mango exports will also see a boost.
CFEnergia Snaps Up $100M NatGas Supply Contract for Chihuahua Power Plant — Natural Gas Intel
CFEnergia, the fuels marketing arm of Mexico’s state power utility, the Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE), has secured a $100 million, 10-year contract to supply 22 MMcf/d of natural gas for a power plant to be built by a consortium of Emerging America and The Abraaj Group. The plant is to be built in Aquiles Serdan, Chihuahua, and will be up and running late next year. The gas will be sourced from the Permian basin in the US.
Abu Dhabi's Mubadala seeks to invest in Mexico’s oil drilling, refining — Zawya
According to Pemex chief José Antonio González, Mubadala Petroleum is keen to invest in Mexico both in the upstream in oil production as well as downstream sector in petrochemicals. The two companies signed an agreement last year to provide the basis for discussions between the two companies and their affiliates about potential opportunities in Mexico’s energy sector. On his trip to Abu Dhabi, González also met with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc).
CVC, Emirates want Brazilians to go to Dubai — Brazil Arab News Agency
The Brazilian tour operator CVC and the UAE-based carrier Emirates struck a deal earlier this month to get more Brazilians to travel to Dubai. They’re looking to leverage the A380 Emirates now flies between Dubai and São Paulo.