In the Americas, saber-rattling about China has become a key part of the populist political playbook. In the United States, President Donald Trump has done it; in Mexico, President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) did it. Now it’s Brazil’s turn, and the favored winner of next week’s run-off election — Jair Bolsonaro — is making similar noises.
Bolsonaro says he is against utility privatization because this would “put Brazil in the hands of the Chinese.” More broadly, he is concerned about Chinese company acquisitions in recent years, quipping: “China isn’t buying from Brazil; it's buying Brazil” (“A China não está comprando do Brasil, tá comprando o Brasil”)
China has taken notice of the rhetoric, with Time Weekly asking: "'Brazil Trump' Bolsonaro: USA’s sidekick or Brazilian hero?” (“巴西特朗普”博尔索纳罗：美国小跟班还是巴西大英雄？) Bolsonaro’s favorable views on the 1964-85 military dictatorship in Brazil are also being highlighted (极右派在巴西总统大选首轮投票中胜出，曾说“就是喜欢独裁”).
The question is: what happens when (if?) Bolsonaro is elected?
AMLO, however, has moderated his rhetoric since his election. He has nominated relative pragmatists to run his foreign and economic policy. Just last week, Jesús Seade — AMLO’s point person on the NAFTA renegotiation and on the shortlist of Ambassador to China candidates — wants to pursue a “strong relationship” with China.
So will Bolsonaro mellow? Unfortunately, so far it seems unlikely. He’s threatening to blow up the Paris climate agreement, Mercosur, and even the BRICS. According to our friend Paulo Kramer, his likely choice for Foreign Ministeris Ernesto Fraga Araújo. A career diplomat, Araújo has written about how "Brazil needs to reflect and define whether to be part” of what he sees as Trump’s West. Bolsonaro has thrown in his lot with the Trumpian approach: "Just like he wants to make America great, I want to make Brazil great.” The Brazil-China relationship is about to get very bumpy.
Tribunal de Chile paraliza compra china de litio chileno— San Diego Tribune
SQM controlling shareholder (and Pinochet former son-in-law) Julio Ponce Lerou got Chile’s constitutional court to step in and interrupt Tianqi’s effort to increase its stake in SQM by 24%. The court will review the deal through October 22.
瑞银：若中美贸易战进一步升级 2019年人民币或逼近7.5— Reuters
Gobierno se prepara ante efectos de aranceles de Estados Unidos vs. China— El Universal Cartagena
News from the trade war.
Pence advierte a Honduras sobre vínculos con China— Diario La Prensa
Pence pide tomar distancia con China— El Economista
EU reclama a México y CA por nexos con China— El Universal
Ortiz defendió las relaciones con China en EUA— La Prensa Gráfica
The US gets pissy about the role in China in Central America. Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu says they are in talks with Paraguay for a $150 million investment to shore up their bilateral diplomatic relationship.
Japón espera que CPTPP quede ratificado en noviembre— El Economista
Japanese cabinet minister Toshimitsu Motegi says he thinks TPP will be ratified next month and come into effect in early 2019.
Hong Kong has lifted bank secrecy on four accounts to track the $10m stolen from Bank of Chile in the hack earlier this year.
Chilean fruit exporters are eyeing Vietnam and South Korea.
Our partner Mike Derham spoke with iupana’s Katie Llanos-Small about Tencent’s Nubank investment:
“This deal allows Nubank capital to execute on its consumer loans plans,” Mike Derham, partner at specialist China-LatAm consultancy Novam Portam, told iupana. “It’ll allow it to get traction in gaining market share. But there’s also a lot of opportunity from the data flow that comes from originating those loans. So Nubank will benefit from Tencent’s know-how not just in payments, but in how to crunch data.”
China — LAC
王毅应约同墨西哥外长比德加赖通电话 — Ministry of Foreign Affairs
2018年10月15日外交部发言人陆慷主持例行记者会 — Ministry of Foreign Affairs
USMCA no afecta relaciones comerciales con China— El Dictamen
México garantiza a China solidez de vínculos bilaterales— El Nuevo Herald
México ante la disputa entre Estados Unidos y China— El Informador
Mexico’s foreign minister Luis Videgara called up his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi to tell him not to worry about NAFTA 2.0 - Mexico wants to stay friends.
Brazil's Petrobras to form refinery joint venture with China's CNPC— S&P Global Platts
Petrobras has gotten CNPC to take a 20% in the Comperj refinery in Rio de Janeiro, which has sat idle since 2015.
Revolução chinesa— Istoé Dinheiro
Brazilian remote storage start-up Alfred has teamed up with China’s Pakpobox.
China planea comprar más soja a Argentina— Diario Castellanos
Argentina is looking to sell more soybeans and — starting next month — pork to China.
Uruguayan cardiologist Eduardo Bianco warns that Chinese tobacco firms may try to expand in Latin America.
Our friend Shannon O’Neil tell China that its not making any friends by supporting Maduro’s Venezuela.
More details on last week’s UNHCR suit against Chinese firms.
Mexico and China are doing $3.9b worth of business, with 980 Chinese firms registered in Mexico.
Auto firm Geely is getting back into Peru.
China, Estados Unidos y el Canal de Panamá— La Gran Época
China & Panama held a Think Tanks and Communication Forum this week.
Central American export promotors are looking at China.
JAC exportará desde México a América Latina— El Economista
JAC and Giant Motors are using the Mexican automotive platform to export to the rest of Latin America.
China, "muy deseosa" por participar en construcción de Tren Maya— Aristegui Noticias
Afirman que China está interesado en participar en el Tren Maya— El Diario de Yucatán
AMLO’s plan for the “Tren Maya” connecting Cancun with the Yucatan could get help from Chinese firms, say Foreign Ministry staffer Wang Xiaoyuan on a trip to Mexico.
A profile of Tencent in the wake of last week’s investment.
Han Rui, head of Hanergy Brasil, says his firm wants to build a flexible solar panel factory in the country.
¿Por qué los bodegueros argentinos enfocan sus energías en China?— El Intransigente President of Wines of Argentina, Alberto Arizu, is hoping to widen the door into China.
Perú replica la iniciativa de promoción “Casa Perú” en China— Marco Trade News
Peru’s Ministry of Trade (Mincetur) will open a "Casa Perú” promotion store front in Beijing next month.
Chinos buscan traer sus empresas a RD— Periódico El Caribe
República Dominicana y China van por acuerdo aerocomercial— Forbes México
China and the Dominican Republic are getting closer and expected to sign an air deal next month when President Danilo Medina visits Beijing.
Article critical of the Atucha III nuclear deal between Argentina and China, saying its rare technology, and that China is offering financing to make sure it doesn’t get cancelled because of budget problems, like Atucha II did.
Sergio Maureira, General Secretary of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX) says that commoditization in the shipping due to consolidation is hampering their efforts to provide fruit to China “just in time."
China Communications regional head Chang Yunbo takes a closer look at Chile.
Look past the headline, and it’s a good summary of the history of China-Latin America relations.
Juan Valdez and the Ticos get ready for the China International Import Expo (CIIE).
Korea — LAC
Corea busca TLC con México— Vanguardia
South Korea and Mexico will push for a Free Trade Agreement next year.
Japan — LAC
AMLO’s pick to be foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, flew to Japan to make sure the two countries will remain commercially tight.
NAFTA 2.0 is making Japanese firms look at relocating to Mexico.
Perú y Japón suscribirán Memorándum de Cooperación en temas de transporte— El Economista América
Peru and Japan are going to cooperate on investing in transportation.
India — LAC
印度关注智利的锂资源 — 南美新闻网 (SAO)
A write-up of the 8th India-Latin America Forum in Santiago last week, focusing on interest in lithium.
The Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI) led 45 companies to the Expo Cihac construction confab in Mexico City.
ASEAN & Oceania — LAC
Singapore inks open skies deal with Peru— The Straits Times
Looking forward to that Singapore Airlines flight direct to Puno.
GCC — LAC
Jetex Eyes U.S. Network— AIN Online
Dubai-based trip support and FBO services provider Jetex Flight Support is eyeing expansion in the Americas. "FBOs in South America are for the future,” says CEO Adel Mardini.