Asia-LAC Weekly Business Digest — 25 Aug 2017

TOP STORIES

Chineses entram na briga pela empresa de celulose da J&F — Folha de São Paulo
China Paper mulls $5 billion bid for Brazil's Eldorado: media — Reuters
China Paper Holdings put in a bid for Brazilian pulpmaker Eldorado, controlled by the J&F conglomerate of the Batista brothers. China Paper has offered a reported R$ 16b ($5.06b) for a 100 percent stake, beating out the reported R$ 15b bid from Indonesia's Asia Pulp and Paper Group.

India's Sterlite to invest $1 billion annually in Brazil power lines — Reuters
India's largest power transmission company Sterlite Power Grid Ventures Ltd will invest around $1 billion per year in the next few years to build power lines in Brazil. According to a source for Reuters, Sterlite is looking to build a large portfolio of power transmission projects in Brazil as part of a long-term strategy in the country.

China otorgó a Bolivia mil 600 millones de dólares en créditos — Prensa Latina
The Planning Ministry of Bolivia announced a $1.6b line of credit from China EXIM for highway construction. This is the first of several annual tranches planned, which may end up totaling $7b.

ARGENTINA: Government Seeks To Boost Presence In Korean Market — Business Insider
Secretary of Agroindustrial Markets of the Ministry of Agroindustry, Marisa Bircher led an Argentine delegation to Korea to complement Feburary’s exploratory negotiations between Korea and Mercosur on an FTZ.

COFCO considers sale of Nidera's Latam seeds business — Reuters
Chinese state-owned food group COFCO has retained Morgan Stanley for the potential sale of it’s Dutch-based grains trading subsidiary Nidera's Latin American seeds business. In April it launched   COFCO International, a combination of Nidera with Noble Agri, a former unit of the Singapore trading house — which it took over in 2015. COFCO is looking to streamline its business, as part of wide-ranging reforms of China's state-owned companies that have seen many shed less profitable units. COFCO unearthed a $150 million hole in the accounts of Nidera's Latin American operations last year, caused by accounting irregularities, which led to an overhaul of its business in Brazil.

 

CHINA-LAC

Traffic relief ahead—Nidco — Trinidad Guardian
The China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) has been awarded a $32.7m contract by Trinidad's National infrastructure Development Company (Nidco) to build the long-delayed Curepe highway interchange. The project is expected to be done by early 2019. CRCC also has a $177m contract to build the Arima Hospital, and has already constructed the Scarborough General Hospital in the country.

Can Latin America’s Engagement with China Deepen? — IDB Ideas Matter
A good outline of how Latin America can engage with China to make the trade relationship more substantive, by improving policy by listening to the IDB's soon-to-be-released Learning Better: Public Policy for Skills Development.

Brazil informed of Chinese chicken dumping claim — Reuters
China has opened an anti-dumping investigation against Brazilian exporters at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Darknet sales looking for LatAm criminal buyers — Bloggings by Boz
Boz notes that stolen database sellers are looking to sell to organized crime groups in Latin America. "The top hackers on the site are likely Chinese, there are apparently Brazilian and other Latin American hacking groups providing some of the data and exploits sold on the site."

Peru–China trade reached US$9.50 billion in 1H 2017 — Agencia Andina
Trade between the two countries is up 30% from the first six months of last year, driven by oil and natural gas, fisheries, agriculture, textiles, and iron/steel.

Brazil’s Embraer hosts 2017 China Regional Aviation Forum — Macau Hub
Next week Embraer and the West Airport Group will host the fourth China Regional Aviation Forum. This time around they are looking to sell jets around the Belt and Road theme, and are hosting the event in the interior Ningxia province. Embraer has 80% of the Chinese regional jet market.

Digicel, Huawei introduce 4K TV in Caribbean — Loop Jamaica
The Caribbean telecom firm and the Chinese TV and equipment maker put on a demonstration of 4K TV using IPTV over Digicel’s fiber optic network using Huawei technology for encoding and delivery.

China y Taiwán se pelean en América Latina — El Confidencial
A Latin American Battle: China vs. Taiwan — The Diplomat
Two pieces discussing the diplomatic and commercial sparring by China and Taiwan in Latin America. According to the Confidential piece 50% of all public buildings built in Nicaragua in the past several decades have been financed by Taiwan. But the piece notes that China’s overwhelming economic might may bring other countries in the region that still recognize Taiwan to follow Panama’s lead.

'Empresarios chinos están interesados en invertir en C.R.’ — Diario Extra
The new Chinese Ambassador to Costa Rica, Tang Heng, reflects on 10 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries, and that Chinese companies are interested in investing in Costa Rica.

México, EU y China pactarán agenda contra tráfico de totoaba — El Universal
Mexico is hosting a summit with US and Chinese representatives, where the three parties agreed to an agenda to fight the illegal trafficking and consumption of totoaba, a drum fish endemic to the Gulf of California.

Brasil respondeu por 75% das importações de soja pela China em julho, diz governo — Notícias Agrícolas
In July, Chinese imports of soy jumped 30% to a record 10.08 million tons. Brazil made up 75% of those imports, followed by Argentina (15%), the US (5%), and Uruguay (4%).

Chinos invertirán US$10 mil millones en Chile y Región del Bío Bío asume rol pionero — Diario Concepción
Chile has been dominating the specialty fruits market in China in recent years through their active marketing and commercial engagement. The highlight of this will be the third annual "Chile Week” in early September. In past years, the week has seen Chilean cranberry producers stand in Chinese supermarkets to tighten awareness among the growing Chinese middle class. This year’s week will include three days focused exclusively on the Bio Bio region’s exports; other regions are expect to follow Bio Bio’s lead in the future. This interview with ex-President and Special Envoy for Asia-Pacific Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle gives a good overview of what makes Chile’s strategy a success.

Maxus ataca con fuerza el mercado de las pick ups — AS Chile
A Chilean sports magazine reviews the line of Maxus pickup trucks, which the Chinese manufacturer has begun selling in Chile.

China otorgó a Bolivia mil 600 millones de dólares en créditos — Prensa Latina
The Planning Ministry of Bolivia announced a $1.6b line of credit from China EXIM for highway construction. This is the first of several annual tranches planned, which may end up totaling $7b.

“Jamaicans will need to learn Mandarin to compete for jobs” — The Voice
An article exemplifying the pushback from local players on Chinese corporate projects in the Caribbean. Agreements for Chinese infrastructure investment have come with the import of Chinese workers, and few jobs for locals. As a result, many governments in the region are now requiring local content and local jobs clauses in contracts. The effectiveness of these is yet to be seen, but there is no doubt they will be a factor in foreign investment going forward, as governments see the alternative as best summed up by the kicker to this article:

Shahine Robinson, Minister of Labour and Social Security seemed to sum-up the mood of a nation and where things are headed for the island, when she said:

“Jamaicans will need to learn Mandarin to compete for jobs domestically”.

¿Un TLCI México- China? ¿O Un acuerdo de Integración productiva y cooperación? — El Financiero
A columnist takes a pessimistic view of Mexico’s commercial opportunities with China, and suggests that a free trade agreement between the two countries will not benefit the former unless they actively pursue a coherent strategy that verges on an activist industrial policy; something that hasn’t really worked in the past.

China a tourism game-changer for LAC — China.org.cn
A critique stating that tourism officials and companies in Latin America and the Caribbean have dropped the ball on attracting Chinese tourists, but not providing much in the way of actionable solutions.

 

ASIA-LAC

Sojitz buy stake in 348-MW Mexican solar portfolio — Renewables Now
Japanese trader Sojitz Corp said on Wednesday it has acquired a 20% stake in the 348 MW Cubico Alten Aguascalientes Uno and Cubico Alten Aguascalientes Dos solar photovoltaic projects controlled by Alten Renewable Energy Developments. Currently, Sojitz has around 500 MW of combined solar production capacity in Latin America.

Hay que repensar la política exterior — La Nación
An op-ed arguing that Argentina needs to look at the scoreboard and recognize that many of it’s large export markets are in Asia: China (2nd), Vietnam (4th), India (6th), and Indonesia (10th). With these markets of increasing importance, "should Argentina keep focusing it’s diplomatic corps on Ireland, Finland, and Sweden? Or should we dedicate ourselves to opening more diplomatic and commercial representatives in Asia and other parts of the developing world, clearly relevant to the future of the country?"

Usina de lixo e parque fotovoltaico impressionam — Folha do Mate
The Brazil-Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry this week sent a delegation from the state of Rio Grande do Sul to learn about “garbage and energy” in Korea. They toured a garbage recycling mill, as well as a solar panel park, and were described as “impressed.” 

Aela Wind Portfolio, Chile | Case Studies — IJGlobal
A good overview of the deal mechanics behind last week’s Aela deal in Chile, how the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) was brought in to shore up the deal, and was able to do so on "a pace akin to that of traditional commercial lenders.” Guess that restructuring is paying off.

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