The end of the year always provides an opportunity to look back and take stock of larger trends over the past twelve months. Given the growing interest in the Asia-Latin America relationship, this newsletter gives us an opportunity to try to quantify those trends.
The most popular articles this year of our Asia-LAC Business Digest reflect the increased importance of China in Latin America and the reality that the relationship has been pushed even more mainstream by the geopolitical events that shaped 2018. Our most-opened articles all fell in the second half of the year, highlighting major issues in the bilateral relationship, such as:
the President Donald Trump-sparked US-China trade-war kicked into high gear;
China’s Belt & Road Initiative and trade agreements engaged Latin America;
the profile of Chinese tech and tech supply chains growing; and
the election of new leadership in the region’s two largest countries brought into question whether China would be popular with populist governments.
Our most popular articles of 2018, in English and Chinese were:
Which way for Huawei in Chile?— 华为在智利的发展道路？— 16 Dec
The arrest of Huawei’s CFO and presumptive heir in Canada threw into contrast the difference in approach to the company in North America versus the rest of the region.
AMLO goes for Win-Win?— AMLO 此举是否为了双赢？— 9 Aug
(Left-wing) Populist Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) raised eyebrows on the campaign trail in threatening to reign in Mexico’s growing relationship with China. But he and his foreign policy team have started out by looking to get China to invest more.
Will Bolsonaro’s saber-rattling rattle China?— 博尔索纳罗的武力恫吓会威胁到中国吗？— 18 Oct
Conversely, Brazil’s (right-wing) populist President-elect Jair Bolsonaro has not changed his tune once winning the election, and his government is expected to begin January 1sttaking a more Trump-like stance towards China. We’ll see how that plays out economically.
Tianqi Deal Recharges Chile's Lithium Position— 天齐锂业通过规范锂交易重获智利市场— 13 Sep
Tianqi Lithium increased its 2% stake in Sociedad Química y Minera (SQM) to 34%, raising concerns in Chile and the Latam lithium industry. Combined with CORFO's value-added lithium investment project, Chile remains at the forefront of the vital tech input.
Meetings In China— 中国的会议时间— 8 Nov
Nothing beats face-to-face meetings to get at the nuance of trade and investment relationships, and China in late October/earl November was full of them, including the CLACIE Annual Conference— see you at the one next year!
China increases control of Venezuela's oil sector— 中国加强对委内瑞拉石油业的控制— 20 Sep
Government-to-government relationships still drive the China-Venezuela connection. It's increasingly clear that China will have to take an active role in solving the Venezuela crisis.
China Three Gorges takes over for Odebrecht— 中国三峡接管Odebrecht— 6 Dec
Corporate corruption is sadly a fact of life in Latin America. As Chinese EPCs step into the projects left by construction giants felled by theLava Jatoscandal, they don’t want to pick up the habits of their predecessors.
With the focus on Argentina, China makes a statement in Panama— 聚焦阿根廷，中国在巴拿马发表声明— 30 Nov
Diplomatically and economically, China went full steam ahead for much of 2018. However, more stick than carrot from the US towards Latin American countries meant that some expected deliverables did not arrive.
China Inc and Chile Inc in Sync— 中国公司与智利公司同步— 21 Nov
Our most popular article of 2018 touched on the juggernaut that is Chile’s commercial success in China, noting that in the words of Agriculture Minister Antonio Walker: "There are a lot of markets still to be conquered.”
As the year comes to a close, all of us here on the Novam Portam team wish you and yours a Happy New Year. We look forward to working with you in 2019!
Sterlite Power bags $600-m order in Brazil— The Hindu
Sterlite continues its campaign to be a player in Brazil, winning Electric Energy Regulator ANEEL’s auction for transmission projects. “The project will require an investment of $0.6 billion over the period of next 3-5 years in Rio Grande do Sul, south region of the country,” says the company.
AMLO y Bolsonaro: las similitudes y diferencias entre los nuevos presidentes de los países más grandes de América Latina— BBC
How will Brazil and Mexico diverge in 2019?— Bloggings by Boz
Comparing AMLO and Bolsonaro— Two Weeks Notice
As noted above, one of the big lines of analysis in 2019 will be the similarities in the governing styles of AMLO and Bolsonaro.
Guerra comercial de China contra EU beneficia a México— El Diario de Juárez
La soja tiene su fiesta de fin de año con las compras de China— Agrovoz
El diagnóstico errado de Joe Biden— El País
China — LAC
El tren maya y la trocha pequeña— Prensa Libre
China’s Growing Footprint in Latin America— China File
El cambio es posible— Perfil
Una Ruta de la Seda cortada a medida de Latinoamérica— Capital Madrid
How will Chilean cherries develop in Chinese market?— Fresh Plaza
Talks with US key to better Sino-LatAm ties— Global Times
China eager to include Caribbean— Barbados Today
Llave china en la cooperación con Centroamérica— La Silla Rota
Importações da China devem superar US$ 2 trilhões em 2018— Agência Brasil
Korea — LAC
‘Colombia-Korea ties to expand through FTA, Pacific Alliance’— The Korea Herald
Korean-style apartment complexes go global— The Korea Herald
Japan — LAC
We didn’t see anything this week - what did we miss?
India — LAC
Another success for ISRO: Brazil’s Amazonia-1 satellite to be launched on board PSLV in 2020— The Financial Express
ASEAN & Oceania — LAC
We didn’t see anything this week - what did we miss?
GCC — LAC
Argentina greenlights UAE financing for aqueduct — BNamericas