For T&T engaging China, diplomacy is the easy part


Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Keith Rowley was in China this week, making the case for his country as a hub for China in the Caribbean and larger Latin America. Beyond  the photo-op with President Xi Jinping, pledges of “pragmatic cooperation” and “deepening partnership”, the trip delivered some accomplishments on the margin (一特立尼达和多巴哥总理会见海航集团董事长行). Those included:

Less likely plans were also unveiled, such as:

  • Lake Asphalt providing asphalt for Beijing Construction Engineering Group (BCEG)’s expansion of Beijing International Airport; and

  • The establishment of direct flights between China and Trinidad and Tobago.

Arguably the biggest win for the Trinidadians was the signing of an MOU bringing Trinidad and Tobago into the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as its first Caribbean country. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

China is willing to integrate the Belt and Road Initiative with the development strategies of Trinidad and Tobago to enhance policy coordination and promote practical cooperation in such areas as infrastructure building, energy, finance and agriculture... It is obvious that the Latin American and Caribbean countries have also become important participants of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Which is a long-winded way of saying that the rest of Latin America can also get engaged with the BRI.

However for Latin America, it is not enough to sit and wait for the BRI. Benefits come to those that are proactive, like Panama:

In 11 months, Panama has made more progress with China than Costa Rica made in 11 years of bilateral relations, or Colombia made in 38 years of diplomatic relations, said on Twitter the London School of Economics and Political Science’s Álvaro Méndez.

Panama’s active effort to engage China paid off in both establishing diplomatic relations ahead of other regional actors — like the Dominican Republic — as well as Chinese interest in funding projects. 

As companies in the DR look towards the opportunities diplomatic relations provide, the lesson is whether you are a county with long-established relationships with China — like Trinidad and Tobago — or one that has just established them — like the Dominican Republic — it is not enough to have diplomatic relations. After that comes the hard work of cultivating investors, corporates, and other partners from China that are looking at Latin America.

Top Stories

Negocio cerrado: la china Tianqi Lithium acuerda adquirir el 24% de SQM en más de US$4.000 millones — Diario Financiero
Exclusive: China's Tianqi nears $4.3 billion deal to buy stake in Chile's SQM - sources —  Reuters
China Tianqi tendría listo su ingreso a SQM pese al temor de Corfo de una posible concentración en el mercado del litio — El Mostrador
Litio: acciones de SQM y empresas cascadas suben ante inminente compra de gigante china — BioBio Chile
China quiere el litio chileno para sus coches eléctricos — Capital Radio
Tianqi Lithium continues forward with their effort to buy a stake in Chilean lithium miner SQM. Tianqi has inked a deal with Nutrien (the old Agrium and Potash Corp) to buy it’s 24% stake in SQM for a bit over $4b. “Done deal”? Not so fast. Chilean antitrust regulator FNE was asked by the previous government to block the deal, has until August to decide whether to investigate, and has already reached out to the parties to begin review.

China Three Gorges oferece R$ 39 bilhões por empresa de energia EDP — Folha
China Three Gorges oferece R$ 39 bi para assumir controle da Energias de Portugal — Estadão
Drawn out battle looms as EDP rebuffs China Three Gorges — FT
Energias de Portugal — which owns EDP Brasil and its generation and distribution assets in São Paulo and Espírito Santo — has rejected a €9b takeover offer by China Three Gorges. CTG already owns 23.3% of EDP and is expected to pursue the deal.

Itamaraty quer ampliar relações com a Ásia — Estadão
Chinese vice president meets Brazilian foreign minister — Xinhua
It’s delegation week between Latin America and Asia. Brazilian Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes was in Beijing to promote bilateral cooperation and met with Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan on Monday, at the beginning of a tour of China, South Korea, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

En la búsqueda de inversiones y nuevos mercados, Etchevehere inició una gira por Japón y China — Infobae
Argentina exportará carne bovina y ovina a Japón por primera vez en la historia — Ambito
Prevén que a partir de julio Japón comprará carne de la Patagonia argentina — La Nación
Argentina buscará concretar acuerdo de importación con China — Segundo Enfoque
Argentina y China firmaron la apertura total del mercado de carnes — Infobae
Argentina exportará carne a Japón por primera vez en su historia — Diario San Rafael
Capello aseguró que en Japón hay "gran interés" por la minería argentina — Diario Uno
Mañana comienza la Sial China y Shanghai se vistió de argentine beef — Agritotal
Abre la Sial en Shangai con fuerte presencia argentina — Clarín
Argentine Agroindustry Minister Luis Miguel Etchevehere led a delegation to Japan and China this week, to get Argentine bife on plates in those countries. The long-awaited deal on exports to China was completed, right on schedule, and Argentine beef exporters made a show of force at the Sial China fair in Shanghai. Argentine beef exports to Japan are expected to begin in July, and Japanese companies expressed “great interest” in the mining of copper, gold, silver, and lithium in Argentina.

ProInversión leads Peru’s $10.8bn infrastructure development drive — World Finance
Road Show Asia 2018 buscará atraer inversionistas de Japón, Corea del Sur y China — El Economista América
ProInversión realizará Roadshows en Japón, Corea del Sur y China para atraer a nuevos inversionistas — Gato Encerrado
Inversionistas coreanos interesados en la masificación del gas en el país — La República
As part of Peru’s $10.8bn improvement plans, ProInversión, Peru’s private investment promotion agency and the Peruvian ambassadors to China and South Korea went on a  road show with events in Seoul on May 16 and in Beijing on May 18.

Asia, a la espera de más alimentos colombianos — El Tiempo
MinAgricultura gestiona en China la admisibilidad para aguacate hass y carne bovina — Eje 21
Asia será el próximo destino del agro local — El Colombiano
Colombia insistió a Corea acelerar admisibilidad de productos del agro colombiano — Radio Santa Fe
Colombia más cerca de exportar aguacate y carne al mercado de China — Agronegocios
Las oportunidades del agro en países de Asia — Portafolio
Colombia busca llevar sus productos agrícolas a Corea del Sur — La Patria
Another ag-oriented road show: Colombia Agriculture Minister Juan Guillermo Zuluaga hit China and South Korea (with which it has had an FTA for two years), pushing Colombian beef and avocados.

China habilita el ingreso de ganado en pie y arándanos — El Pais Uruguay
China abre más su mercado a las exportaciones uruguayas — People’s Daily
Not to be left out on road show opportunities, Enzo Benech, Uruguayan Farming, Fishing, and Agriculture Minister visited China to promote his country as China’s number one source of high quality wool and mutton, and now cattle on the hood and blueberries. He also visited Sial China, highlighting citrus as well as tea.

China — LAC

China's power investment group seeks new Brazil targets after $2 billion deal — Reuters
Other Chinese firms are looking at Brazilian energy. State Power Investment Corp’s country head Adriana Waltrick says the firm is looking for new Brazilian acquisition targets, even after spending R$7.2b ($2b) to buy the São Simão dam from CEMIG last year.

Una APEC "austera" para 2019, nueva oficina de ProChile en China, en la provincia de Sichuan, y el acuerdo con Brasil copan agenda económica exterior de Chile — Economía y Negocios
After offices in Hong Kong Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Beijing, ProChile is looking to open an office away from the coast in Chengdu. Unsurprisingly, Chengdu is a major distribution hub for speciality fruits and other agricultural products.

China exonera visa a Brasil, Argentina y Chile para visitar isla de Hainan — Portal de Turismo
Surf’s up! China has exempted tourists from 59 countries — including Argentina, Brazil, and Chile — from needing visas to visit Hainan island, the “Chinese Hawaii."

Podcast: Oliver Stuenkel on China-Latin America Ties and Brazil's Coming Elections — Americas Quarterly
Our friends Oliver Stuenkel of FGV and Brian Winter of Americas Quarterly discuss China-Latin America relations and how Beijing is using Latin American misconceptions about China to its advantage.

Delegação vai à China para divulgar destinos do Brasil e Argentina — Panrotas
China, el mercado más atractivo para atraer turismo a México — Caribbean News Digital
Perú organiza roadshow de promoción turística en China — Portal de Turismo
Embratur promotes Brazil as a destination at ITB China 2018 — Macauhub
Peru, Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico are pushing to become the go-to destination for Chinese tourists.

Siemens Wins Panama Order From Chinese — Natural Gas World
German turbine-maker Siemens says it has received its first order for delivery in Panama. It is for turbines for a new 440 MW Chinese combined cycle gas-fired plant under development by Shanghai Electric Group outside of Colón.

Brasil negocia ampliação de vendas de carne à China; Maggi encontra executivos da Cofco — Notícias Agrícolas
Chineses farão visita técnica a frigoríficos brasileiros — Canal Rural
An inspection team from China (presumably from AQSIQ) is going to visit Brazil in late May and early June to visit 84 slaughterhouses, in the hopes that they will be approved for export to Brazil. Separately, Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi and Brazil ag-industry leaders met with directors of trading giant COFCO International in Beijing.

Super Foods Peru Set To Expand in Chinese Market — Produce Report
An in-depth overview of Peru’s Super Foods program outlining how the country expects to grow its 4% of the market of total fresh fruit exports to China.

China oil financing falls in Latin America — Petroleum Economist
With the collapse of Venezuela (in petroleum exports and everything else), China has shifted to energy projects elsewhere — such as Brazil — and largely trimmed its sails in energy investment.

China Food Giant Expands in Brazil — Bloomberg
Demanda da China vacila e soja do Brasil deve se beneficiar menos de guerra comercial — Notícias Agrícolas
Atención vinos chilenos: China eliminaría aranceles a las importaciones agrícolas de EEUU — Diario Financiero
Who wins and who loses from the topsy-turvy world of the US-China trade war? Chilean vinters are warned that an agriculture deal would mean more California wine in China; Brazilians expect to gain less than they hoped on increased soy sales; but COFCO International is "positioning itself to increase soybean purchases from Brazil as trade tensions escalate between the U.S. and the Asian nation, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter."

Cosco Shipping Line inaugura servicio en Ensenada, México — Mundo Maritimo
COSCO has launched the Asia - South America West Coast 2 (WSA3) freight service between Ensenada, Callao, Liriquen and San Antonio and China and Korea.

China, una gran oportunidad para la madera argentina — Clarín
Representatives from the China Timber and Wood Products Distribution Association visited the Argentine Forestry Association (Afoa) and other forestry entities in Buenos Aires. Last year China imported 100m cubic meters of wood, 3% of which came from Latin America.

Acordo na área aduaneira permitirá que Receita troque informações com China — Istoé
Brazil’s Congress ratified this week an agreement that allows Receita Federal (Brazil’s IRS) to exchange information with its Chinese counterpart to combat fraud in trade between the two countries.

Argentina exporta vinos a China por u$s22 millones anuales, pero bodegas buscan hacer crecer el negocio — iProfesional
On a trip to Interwine Beijing, ProMedoza’s Fernando Urdaniz says Argentina exports $22m worth of wines to China. But he notes this is only 1% of the market, and says the sky is the limit for Malbec.

Se firma primer proyecto de capacitación técnica agropecuaria entre Colombia y China — Extra
With the goal of reactivating Colombia’s rural economy in the post-conflict era, Colombia and China have signed an agricultural technical capacity-building agreement. 

Empresa Alibabá y gobierno de China ofrecen becas a estudiantes — El Sol de Tampico
Alibaba and the China Campus Network have offered 1500 scholarships across Latin America to promote students in the fields of services, tourism, and engineering, with 32 of those dedicated to students who want to study global e-comerce in China.

China desbanca os EUA e consolida liderança no comércio com os principais países da AL — Comex do Brasil
Our friend Evan Ellis will be headlining a discussion on “Latin America: Stage for a Strategic Dispute between the US and China?” on June 6th at the Fernando Henrique Cardoso Foundation in São Paulo.

Corona conquista a China; es la cerveza importada número 1 — Forbes México
China is changing it’s whole latitude. Grupo Modelo (part of AB InBev)’s iconic beer has taken the country by storm, and is now the most imported beer in China.

Japan — LAC

Excitement Builds in Japan Over Peruvian Investment Opportunities — PR Newswire
A release put out by ProInversión detailing the roadshow visit to Tokyo lead by Cesar Martin Peñaranda, Director of Investor Services at ProInversión and Gustavo Ibarguen, ProInversión´s Portfolio Director.

Autos y restaurantes, los negocios atractivos para Japón en México — Forbes México
Tadashi Minemura, head of Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Mexico, notes that Japanese investors are eye auto manufactures and restaurants, among other investment opportunities.

Japón es la ‘joya de la corona’ de México en alimentos — El Financiero
Mexico sees the TPP’s agriculture chapter as an opportunity to increase exports to Japan of orange juice, vegetables, grains, beef, poultry, and pork.

Korea — LAC

Coreia do Sul abre mercado à carne suína do Brasil, diz Maggi — Folha
South Korea has opened its market to Brazilian pork exports, with four exporters from Santa Catarina already approved.

El café podría destrabar la concreción del TLC Guatemala-Corea del Sur — Marco Trade News
Guatemala is the only Central American country that has not finished negotiating an FTA with South Korea. The country is torn between its steel industry — that wants out of the deal — and its powerful coffee industry — that doesn’t want to miss out on a big, coffee-drinking market.


Traders bullish about industry in Dubai — Gulf News
The Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry recommends that Dubai traders look at new markets, including Brazil — identified as the top market in South America for UAE exports — followed by Ecuador, Peru, Guyana, Paraguay and Argentina.

India — LAC

India, Mexico, Italy On Top Of ArcelorMittal’s Agenda, Says Aditya Mittal — Bloomberg Quint
Lakshmi N Mittal’s son Aditya Mittal explains that he has worked closely with his father to look for strategic global opportunities rather than just expansion for the sake of expansion, and that Mexico is a big part of the company’s long term strategy.

Three nation Latin America visit bridges ‘high level contact deficit’, says VP M.Venkaiah Naidu — India Blooms
Vice President Venkaiah Naidu returns to India after completing his Latin America visit — Business Standard
A roundup on the Indian VP’s trip to Guatemala, Panama and Peru.

ASEAN & Oceania — LAC

Singapore's GIC buys S$37 million stake in Brazilian gym chain Smartfit — Channel News Asia
Singaporean SWF, GIC has invested 100m reais in in Brazilian gym chain, Smartfit Escola de Ginastica e Danca SA. Smartfit has locations in Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Peru and the Dominican Republic, and shareholders the Brazilian Corona family and PE firm Pátria Investimentos.

Singapore wine drinkers trade up to premium products — Beverage Daily
Singaporean wine-drinkers are looking for a classier tipple, and Chilean exporters are some of the beneficiaries.

Singapore commodities companies head to South America — Nikkei Asian Review
U.S.-China trade tensions are causing Singaporean agriculture conglomerates such as Olam International and Wilmar International to import from South America to avoid higher taxes.

Argentina luring Australian investors into its mining sector —
Ahead of the Latin America Down Under conference in Perth, Argentina's Deputy Secretary for Sustainable Mining, Juan Biset, is visiting Australia with the idea of strengthening bilateral relationships and attracting new investments for his country's mining sector.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required