Are the new policy players up to the challenge?

Up Front

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is seen as a new policy lever for China in its engagement with the world. The bank has contracted 24 projects worth about $4b in the two years since it was founded.

Despite the “Asian” name, AIIB president Jin Liqun is bullish on the bank's potential in Latin America:

“We have quite a number of South American countries joining, and I think it will be very good for us to finance some middle-income projects in South America, bringing South America and Asia together, cutting the transaction and shipping costs between Asia and South America."

This announced interest in Latin America echoes the theme in last week’s announcement that the New Development Bank (aka the BRICS Bank) is partnering up with Santander Brasil to invest in green energy projects.

While this is good news for the chronic backlog of infrastructure and energy projects in Latin America, questions remain about the ability of these new policy banks to spread their wings in the region. Critics note that the loans disbursed so far by the AIIB are well short of the $10-15b per year that it was expected to lend at launch. All that lending has been in Asia, with the exception of two small loans in Egypt and Georgia. And the ballyhooed NDB-Santander Brasil pairing has the BRICS Bank co-investing in projects that Santander Brasil has vetted and is taking the lead on.

There is a lot of noise about the prospects for new Asian policy banks to impact Latin America. With Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Peru, and Venezuela already members of AIIB — and Brazil a pillar of the BRICS Bank — the potential is there. But it remains to be seen if that is any more than just sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Top Stories

专访:中拉论坛助力拉美一体化—访问巴西中国问题专家埃万德罗·卡瓦略   —Xinhua
China espera llevar su colaboración con CELAC a un nuevo nivel en la cita de Chile — El Diario
Chinese FM to visit Chile, Uruguay — Xinhua
A new era for China-Latin American cooperation —
Long-term vision key to China-CELAC Forum, says expert — Xinhua
Canciller chino visitará Chile y Uruguay este mes — Xinhua
China busca consolidarse como el mejor aliado económico de la CELAC — El Diario
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will travel to Chile and Uruguay next week. Wang will attend the second ministerial meeting of the Forum of China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (China-CELAC Forum), scheduled to be held in Santiago, Chile from January 19 to 22.

Tempo de maior parceria — O Globo
El tiempo es propicio para nuestra cooperación — El Peruano
Nuevo plan maestro para la cooperación y amistad China y América Latina y el Caribe — El Financiero
Ahead of his trip next week, Wang pens a series of op-eds in newspapers across the region playing up the potential for greater cooperation between China and Latin America and the Caribbean. Chinese Ambassador Qiu Xiaoqi also makes the case to Mexico.

Japão também está de olho nos vastos depósitos de petróleo pré-sal offshore no Brasil — O Petróleo
MODEC, Mitsui, MOL, Marubeni and MES to Proceed with the Ultra-Deepwater FPSO Charter Project for Sepia Area of Brazilian Offshore Pre-Salt Oil Field — Marubeni
MODEC, Marubeni, Mitsui OSK, and Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding have all decided to get into the Brazilian pre-sal game. They are combining to provide a floating production, storage, and offloading platform in the Sepia area.

Trump habla con enviado Lighthizer sobre comercio con China y negociación TLCAN: Casa Blanca — Swissinfo
A ray of hope for NAFTA? In recent days Republican officials have pushed Trump to reconsider his seeming determination to scuttle the North American Free Trade Agreement. USTR Robert Lighthizer travels to Montreal this week for another round of NAFTA negotiations. Our sources in DC say that negotiators recognize that talks will pause starting with the Mexican presidential campaign in March. Whether the US President recognizes that fact remains to be seen.


俄媒:中国不抛弃困境中的老朋友,2018年与拉美加速靠近 — 参考消息 (Cankaoxiaoxi)
Piece discussing how technology products from China are needed for Latin America, trade is not enough, and investment to set up local factories and implement large-scale projects should be expected. In 2018, trade volume will meet $500b, spurred by President Xi Jinping’s commitment to invest $250b. As a result, China is moving away from the supply of mass industrial goods to the supply of industrial equipment to set up a new enterprise.

Histórico: autorizan el ingreso de más cortes de carne argentina de calidad a China — Infobae
La Argentina acordó con China un protocolo para ampliar sus exportaciones de carne — La Nación
Bife and baijiu? After fifteen years of waiting, and negotiations over the past six months, Argentina and China have come to an agreement for allowing the export of chilled beef, bone-in beef, and mutton from Argentina to China.

Inician acuerdos para TLC entre China y Panamá — Forbes México
In a meetings that Panamanian Viceminster for Foreign Trade Néstor González held in Beijing this week, Panama and China have laid out the ground rules and begun feasibility studies towards an FTA.

Jia Yong, presidente de China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) América y representante de CNPC de América Latina expresó su confianza para el incremento de la producción petrolera junto a PDVSA — PDVSA on Twitter
Continuing the Venezuelan charm offensive following last month’s contretemps with China, PDVSA hosted China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) President for the Americas Jia Yong.

Argentina pierde oportunidad única al no vender en China — Rio Negro
Argentina misses opportunities by not exporting to China — Fresh Plaza
An op-ed from the province of Rio Negro arguing that the lack of a Chile-style FTA with China is holding back Argentine exports of pears, cherries, and other fruits.

Perú sigue siendo el primer exportador mundial de fibra de alpaca — Perú.com
Peru remains the world’s largest alpaca exporter, thanks to an increase of 390% in exports to China — no doubt driven by the store opened there last year.

受和平协议影响 哥伦比亚经济缓慢复苏 增速超拉美均值 — China CCTV
China CCTV says against the backdrop of the overall economic slowdown in Latin America, the Colombia peace process has helped improve the country’s investment climate. It is expected to double the area devoted to coffee and increase coffee production 40% over the next three years.

Las empresas china Hisense y Vivo patrocinan el Mundial 2018 en su conquista de Occidente — C|NET
Flat-screen TV maker Hisense and cellphone-maker Vivo are betting on sponsorship of this year’s World Cup to give them a boost in countries that are soccer-mad.

Chile destaca creciente interés de AL por atraer turistas chinos — Xinhua
Xinhua interviews Chile’s sub-secretary of tourism Javiera Montes, who pushes for greater Chinese tourism in his country and across Latin America.

Académicos y expertos analizan relación comercial México-China — Televisa News
Comexi — the Mexican Council on International Relations — hosted an event on the business relations between Mexico and China.

China: fuente de oportunidades y desafíos para Argentina — Apertura
Our friend Jason Marczak from the Atlantic Council outlines how China poses both challenges and opportunities for Argentina.

Avanço de capitais chineses no Brasil — Segs
An interview with Marcio Coriolano, the president of Brazil’s National Confederation of Insurance Companies, in which he sees the insurance industry playing a key role in helping Chinese investment come to Brazil.

Asia becomes key market for dollar bond sellers — FT
"A stream of Brazilian lenders have been touring Asia and selling US dollar denominated debt to local investors in the past few months.”

巴西基金 今年活力旺  — 台湾财经新闻监测
Yuan Xiaobing Index Fund Manager Su Xiaoting says that Brazil’s privatization plan will require foreign capital, that will be supportive of the Brazilian stock market.

The Biggest Electric Vehicle Company You’ve Never Heard Of — Fast Company
An interesting profile of Shenzhen’s BYD, which is exporting electric buses to Argentina and Chile, as well as eyeing Chile’s lithium reserves.

Annual Business Survey Between Mexico and China 2017 — Mexican Chamber of Commerce in China

"Commerce between Mexico and China was around USD 70 billions in 2016. For Mexico, China is the second largest world trading partner. For China, Mexico is its second biggest business partner in Latin America." 


"In recent years, both countries have created diverse institutions in order to improve the bilateral agenda, yet the relationship is far from achieving the integration that could have in all subjects. Relationship with China comes with a bigger importance. Mexico needs to have true intention to diversify and complement and the commercial offer of the country."

Registra dinámica recuperación el comercio entre China y ALC en primeros 11 meses de 2017 — Xinhua
Trade between China and Latin America totaled $247.4b in the first 11 months of the year, a 22.2% increase on the volume in the same period the previous year.

Amazon, Alibaba y Walmart desdeñan a Trump y apuestan por México — Entreprenuer
"¡Viva e-México!” Alibaba is being joined by Amazon and Walmart in looking at Mexico as a growth market, even “while the US political class still is undecided about whether to build a border wall with Mexico."

Exportaciones a China crecieron 37% gracias a las ventas de carne, pescados y mariscos — El Economista
Argentine exports to China in the first 11 months of last year were $4b, driven by beef, fish, and shellfish.

不存钱的巴西人“想存钱” —
An interview with Roque Pellizzaro Júnior, president of Brazil’s Credit Protection Service (SPC), in which he states that Brazil’s unemployment rate is high, the economy is slow to recover, and the people concerned about future uncertainty. A as result, there is an increased demand for savings. Only 28% of Brazilians have savings, and 47% have debt.


The Limits to Russia and China's Support of Venezuela — Real Clear World
Our friends Benjamin Gedan and Michael McCarthy outline the lengths to which China and Russia are willing to give Venezuela a lifeline in it’s current crisis: "China’s support has declined to a yearly allowance that props up Maduro, but does not solve deep structural problems.” They say China is fed up with Venezuela, but does not want to push it deeper into the morass.

35 new buses coming from China — Trinidad Guardian
35 Compressed Natural Gas buses manufactured by Higer in Jiangsu province are headed to Trinidad for use by that country’s Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC).

China vs. USA: La disputa por el dominio económico en América Latina — Punto y Coma
América Latina: dos caminos, dos destinos — El Universal
China desplaza a América del Norte en la del Sur — Urgente 24
Entre el añito de Donald Trump y los adultos (China) que toman el mundo — Clarín
China, la superpotencia — Diario El País
The weekly round-up of think-pieces on how the rise of President Donald Trump’s isolationism has created an opportunity for China in Latin America, including by retired Brazilian Ambassador to the US Rubens Barbosa.

Huawei: el avance del gigante chino que amenaza el reinado de Apple en EEUU — Pulso
Huawei quiere llevarte a China a probar tus conocimientos tecnológicos — Forbes México
Not deterred by the snub AT&T gave it in it’s expansion in the US, Huawei is continuing to expand in the Americas, naming soccer player Alexis Sánchez as it’s brand ambassador in Chile in March of last year, and offering STEM students in Mexico the opportunity to take part in their ICT Skills Competition program in China.

[重磅招聘]中国社科院拉美研究所2018年招聘人才启事     —Sohu
Is your next job waiting for you in Beijing? The China Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) – the largest research organization in China that belongs to the Chinese government – is recruiting talent, seeking professionals with doctorate or graduate degrees and Latin America economic, international relationship, sociology related work experience.

Colombia envía a la tripulación del ARC ‘Caribe’ a China para recepcionar el buque — Infodefensa
Colombia is taking receipt of the offshore supply vehicle (OSV) ARC Caribe in Hong Kong.  

O “efeito China” na economia e na agricultura do Brasil — Sul21
As infrastructure improves, Brazil increases soy exports to China — Agri-Pulse
China amplia importações de soja em dezembro e Brasil ainda é melhor opção — Notícias Agrícolas
It’s gotta be the infrastructure. Brazil is better able to meet Chinese demand for soy through improved infrastructure.


Samsung Pay llega oficialmente a México — Expansión
Two months after it was announced, HS Jo, President of Samsung Electronics México launched Samsung Pay in Mexico on Wednesday. It looks like it will support Visa and Mastercard payments on phones on AT&T and Telcel’s networks.

S. Korea Expected to Become Associate Member of Pacific Alliance — Business Korea
Strengthening pan-Pacific links, the Pacific Alliance (Mexico, Chile, Peru and Colombia), is having talks with Australia, Singapore, Canada, New Zealand, and South Korea to bring them in as associate members. The talks are expected to complete in July, and will give Korea access to the Mexican market, the only one of the four with which it does not currently have an free trade agreement.


MUFG gears up for Latin America expansion — Latin Finance
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) is looking to expand in Latin America, according to an  interview with John Koike, the regional head for Latin America.

Mexico’s Pemex picks Mitsui to complete Tula coking plant — The Japan News
It’s a good week in the hemisphere for Mitsui. Mexican state oil company Pemex has chosen the Japanese conglomerate as its partner in a $2.6b coking plant project at its Tula refinery.

El Último de su Gobierno: Senado aprobó viaje de Presidenta Bachelet a Japón — La Nación
President Michelle Bachelet will have the last official foreign trip of her administration February 21-27 when she visits Japan.

México permite a industria fílmica japonesa llegar a Latinoamérica — 20 Minutos
Japanese films are growing in Mexico, thanks to a concerted effort by the industry. Last year 600,000 Mexicans watched a Japanese film, similar numbers to attendees in countries like England, Spain, and France.

Visto eletrônico pode aumentar em 25% número de turistas japoneses no Brasil — Bem Paraná
Brazil’s recent launch of electronic visas are expected to increase the number of tourists from Japan by 25%

Parceria Brasil-Japão originou a Usiminas — Diário do Comércio
The story of how Usiminas became the steel behemoth it is today through a 1958 joint venture between the Japanese government and the governments of Brazil and Minas Gerais. 

Investimentos do Japão no Brasil foram de US$ 530 milhões —
Japan invested $530m in Brazil in the first 11 months of last year, driven by investments in logistics.


Peruvian Companies To Participate At SATTE 2018 — Travel Trends Today
Looking beyond their tourism pitch to China, Peruvian tourism companies will be in New Delhi next week for the first time as part of a ‘Peru Pavilion’ at South Asia’s leading travel show, SATTE.

ASEAN & Oceania-LAC

Diez razones por las que beneficiará al Perú el TLC con Australia — Perú 21
Perú 21 runs down the top ten reasons Peru will benefit from it’s FTA with Australia that is expected to come into effect the first quarter of this year.


Arab Emirates donates US$3.0M in solar panels to health centers — Dominican Today
The United Arab Emirates-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund is going to finance the installation of solar panels at 1,000 health centers across the Dominican Republic.

Gobierno analiza llevar a salvadoreños con TPS a Qatar —
El Salvador eyes work scheme with Qatar for migrants facing exit from U.S. — Reuters
El Salvador is discussing a deal with Qatar under which the 200,000 Salvadoran migrants facing the loss of their right to stay in the United States under temporary protected status (TPS) could live and work temporarily in the Middle Eastern country.

Venezuelan Officials Visit Qatar to Pitch Cryptocurrency — Bloomberg
A delegation from Venezuela’s government led by crypto superintendent Carlos Vargas visited Qatar this week to pitch officials there on its soon-to-be-issued cryptocurrency, the Petro.

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