Which way for Huawei in Chile? 

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It's been hard to escape the news that Huawei's CFO (and daughter of the company’s founder), Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver last week. To many, the event was written off as just another chapter in President Donald “Tariff Man” Trump’s trade war with China. However, it’s really a considerable escalation in what might be a parallel, longer, war, over tech connectivity and 5G networks globally. 

More than six thousand miles to the south in Santiago Chile, Huawei was also making news this past week.

The Chilean Sub-secretariat of Telecommunications (Subtel) — with support from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Andean Development Corporation (CAF)— is putting the finishing touches on a study to decide which route to use for a fiber optic cable to connect Chile with Asia. The choice — to be made in 2019 — is between a 24,000km, $600m route connecting to Tokyo, and a 22,800km, $500m route connection to Shanghai. Huawei has been pushing the latter option, releasing a pre-feasibility study last year arguing for that as the better option. The company is positioning itself to provide the hardware for the cable. But the Chilean government has been hinting it wants a public-private partnership, and Japan and New Zealand are interested in helping out.

Huawei — alongside ZTE — has been aggressively selling to Latin America for fifteen years, backed by cheap and plentiful financing from Chinese policy banks. A $30b deal with China Development Bank (CDB) funded equipment for América Móvil in Mexico and Oi in Brazil; while Nextel Mexico benefitted from a smaller CDB loan. Earlier this year, Huawei inked a deal with Chile’s CTR to position itself for the trans-pacific cable (华为海洋携手CTR部署智利南部海缆项目 - 华为新闻中心). In 2015, China EXIM funded the construction of the $130m South Atlantic Inter Link (SAIL) between Brazil and Cameroon by China Unicom, Cameroon Telecom, and Huawei Marine (你知道SAIL海缆是如何连接非洲和南美的吗?). SAIL launched in September and dropped latency times across the South Atlantic by two-thirds. Looking to the future, this week  Huawei inaugurated an Internet of Things (IoT) lab in São Paulo state. Not to mention the fact that Huawei is now a major provider of middle-class jobs in Mexico, Panama, and Brazil. 

This has all happened while developed economies have become warier of Huawei. The US has been encouraging the European Union (and its wayward member, the UK) to keep their distance from the Chinese firm. A message that has been listened to. Japan’s big four mobile carriers have all forsworn Huawei and ZTE equipment in their 5G networks. And Australia moved to fund an undersea cable from Sydney to the Solomon Islands so as to block Huawei from building it on national security grounds.

Latin America and the Caribbean are facing the twenty-first century with nineteenth-century infrastructure. So the allure of latest-generation telecommunications infrastructure at prices (and financing) that can’t beat is appealing. But if the concerns of other countries are born out, at what cost? Equally important, what other options are realistically left on the table?

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Grupo Luksic sella el convenio con universidad Tsinghua para instalar en Chile su sede regional— La Tercera

Se inaugura el Centro para América Latina de Universidad de Tsinghua de China en Chile— Xinhua

Tsinghua University Latin America Center Inaugurated in Santiago, Chile— Global News Wire 

Tsinghua University opens a campus in Santiago, Chile.

China propone al Perú iniciar negociaciones en marzo para optimizar TLC— Gestión 

China wants to begin renegotiation of the Free Trade Agreement with Peru.

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Empresa china Xiaomi abre su primera tienda en México— Uniradio Informa

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La empresa china de movilidad DiDi entrará a Mérida— Marketing 4 Ecommerce MX

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Argentina will get a deal to export pork to China by the end of this year.

Lenín Moreno viajó a China con miras en un acuerdo comercial— El Universo 

Ecuador logra de China crédito de $900 millones a la tasa más baja— El Economista 

Ecuador clinches $900 mln loan from China -Moreno— Reuters

Ecuador Goes More Into Debt With China— Two Weeks Notice

China promises $900m to Ecuador at the "lowest interest rate in history.”

Canciller de Colombia visitará China, Corea y Japón para reforzar las relaciones— El Diario 

El país está rezagado en ventas a Asia, en Alianza del Pacífico— Portafolio

Colombia’s foreign minister heads to China, Korea, and Japan, at a time when folks are worried it’s lagging behind the rest of the Pacific Alliance.

EE.UU. y China en el ring, Argentina en primera fila— Agrovoz

Exportação de algodão do Brasil à China deve crescer com guerra comercial, diz USDA— Extra

El eterno retorno de la doctrina Monroe— América Economía 

Conflicto EU-México por Huawei— El Universal 

Escolha entre China ou EUA é falso dilema— El País 

Por qué hay más de 20 buques esperando para descargar soja en Argentina — Perfil

La influencia china crece en América del Sur— La Tribuna del País Vasco

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Brazil cotton exports to China to jump on U.S.-China tariffs -USDA— NASDAQ

China, um parceiro econômico para a América Latina— A Tribuna 

La Política de China para América Latina y el Caribe— Finanzas Digital

Trade war.

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China changes the rules of football, to the worry of Brazilian football clubs.

China — LAC

Latinoamérica permite que China se apropie de sus puertos— Diálogo Americas

Latin America Allows China to Take Over Ports— Diálogo Americas 

Chile and China renew requirements for transport of fresh fruit in cold storage — Fresh Plaza

Chile y China renuevan requisitos para el transporte de frutas— Loginews

China empieza a mirar los cortes premium de carne argentina— Clarín 

Las economías de Brasil y México compensarán el freno de China— Al Navío 

O peso da China— Estadão

Perú busca ingresar al mercado chino su nuez de Brasil— Marco Trade News

China quiere pescar en los ríos revueltos de Latam— Dirigentes Digital

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Llega una nueva marca china de autos— Clarín 

Chanceler informal, Eduardo Bolsonaro ameaça relação Brasil-China— Brasil 24/7

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China Goldwin inicia construcción de parque eólico en Argentina por US$75M— América Economía 

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China-Venezuela Joint Oil Refinery Breaks Ground in Guangdong— Caixin

With new allies, Argentina reassesses its relationship with China— Dialogo Chino 

Argentina clinches China soyoil export deal, soymeal talks fizzle— Reuters 

Panama could soon become China’s gateway to Latin America thanks to an imminent free trade agreement— LSE 

Panama and China sign phytosanitary protocol to export pineapples— FreshPlaza 

China Wants Panama To Be Its Gateway To Central America— NDTV 

Muñiz Olaya behind ICBC loan to Chinese miner in Peru— Latin Lawyer 

Ecuador seeks to renegotiate China debt, does not rule out IMF -Moreno— Reuters 

Chilean shelled hazelnuts allowed to enter the Chinese market— FreshPlaza 

Mexican Ambassador talks about China’s changes— Global Times 

Peru inaugurates first multi-brand store in China— Peru.info 

China's taste for avocado linked to drought in Latin America— China Dialogue 

Chile drives electric vehicle rollout in Latin America— Reuters 

Peru: ProHass will promote avocados in China next year— FreshPlaza 

Chinese automaker Changan rolls into Argentina— China.org

China-built projects in Argentina improve livelihood, create thousands of jobs and much more — Global Times 

Panama Canal targets Brazil-China dry cargo trades— Trade Winds 

Cherries from Chile Kicks off 2018/19 Season Promotional Campaign—  Produce Report 

China-driven Brazil beef bonanza seen lasting: Abiec— Reuters

Korea — LAC

Este jueves será Foro de cooperación sobre gobierno digital Corea-Perú— Agencia Andina

Acordos comerciais de Temer podem elevar exportação— Folha

Corea del Sur y la Alianza del Pacífico celebrarán un foro de cooperación— Yonhap

Analizan proyectos de cooperación sostenible entre Alianza del Pacífico y Corea— Agencia Andina 

Japan — LAC

Mexico: Avocado exports to Japan continue to grow— Fresh Plaza 

Sakata Seed opens commercial offices in Argentina— Fresh Plaza

Foro Anual Japón-América Latina analiza perspectivas de relación comercial y bilateral— VOA Noticias

India — LAC

India's ONGC gets $32 mln payment from Venezuela's PDVSA— NASDAQ 

Third round of India-Peru FTA underway in New Delhi; will boost investment and trade— Financial Express 

India’s Latin American policy requires political and diplomatic push—  Observer Research Foundation 

ASEAN & Oceania — LAC

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GCC — LAC

UAE wants to invest in Brazil— Salaam

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