Andrés Manuel López Obrador (invariably known as AMLO) did even better than expected in Sunday’s elections in Mexico. When he is inaugurated in December, it will be with a strong mandate (53% of the vote) and his coalition will have a comfortable majority in Congress. But (per Title VIII Art 135) his Morena party alone will not have a big enough majority to change the constitution, so recent reforms like in the energy sector might remain untouched.
The first-elected mayor of Mexico City and perennial presidential candidate, AMLO is better described as a Mexican nationalist rather than a leftist. His advisor are broadly divided into two camps: pragmatists, notably the majority of his future cabinet members; and the radicals, sidelined for now but who still have access to the president-elect’s ear. And his collaboration as mayor with businessmen like Carlos Slim shows that he’s not a dyed-in-the-wool anti-capitalist.
Despite fears that they would immediately begin antagonizing each other, AMLO and US President Donald Trump promised to have a constructive relationship. The suggestion of Lingnan University economics professor Jesús Seade Helú to join the Mexican NAFTA negotiating team indicates that AMLO is willing to try to work towards a compromise with his neighbor to the north.
While the peace between Trump and AMLO lasting is probably unlikely, the more interesting question may be: What does AMLO mean for China-Mexico relations? Since Donald Trump took office, we've noticed a bilateral uptick in the efforts to strengthen and expand the relationship. On broad political grounds, AMLO and China share a common antagonist, so from that standpoint, they should remain friends. The question really comes down to the economics and whether the "pragmatists" or the "radicals" hold more sway in the government. Some of the questions that that struggle will determine:
AMLO last week threatened some light import-substitution, saying that hats and shoes should be made in Mexico, not Asia. Will he become more protectionist?
What does AMLO do in response to the US? As the more sensationalist headlines ask: “Can Mexico and China make an economic alliance against Trump?"
Mexico has pursued other options (TPP, Pacific Alliance, a free trade agreement with China) as a response to concerns about US commercial policy and the future of NAFTA. Will AMLO continue that pro-trade push? Even when it conflicts with his protectionist views on the Mexican agriculture sector? Even if he does — will it be enough?
Further to that end, will a nationalist AMLO bring Mexico into the Belt and Road Initiative, as Chinese Ambassador Qiu Xiaoqi encourages?
China has asked Mexico to pay $600m for cancelling the the México-Querétaro High Speed Rail project in 2014. AMLO's approach to this sensitive issue could color the whole bilateral relationship. What will he do?
Investment from China, Korea, and Japan has been strongly focused on the automotive cluster in Mexico’s Bajío. Will uncertainty about AMLO or protectionism from Mexico slow that down?
What does AMLO do if (when?) the Mexican economy — which will still be completely dependent on a US economy at the top of the business cycle — slows down?
Empresas de India, Colombia y China ganan concesiones eléctricas en Brasil — Brasil Electricidad
ISA, India Sterlite y estatal china ganan licencias para red eléctrica en Brasil — La República
India's Sterlite, China's State Grid win Brazil power licenses — Money Control
India's Sterlite, China's State Grid, and Colombia's Isa were all winners in a R$6b ($1.55m) transmission line concussion auction in Brazil last week. Sterlite, which only entered the Brazil market last year won big with R$3.6b ($920m) for six concessions totaling 1859km of transmission lines across Ceará, Río Grande do Norte, Paraíba, Sergipe, Bahía, Goiás, Pará and Minas Gerais. ISA subsidiary CTEEP won two concessions totaling 69km of transmission lines in Santa Catarina and São Paulo at R$880m ($224m). State Grid subsidiary CPFL won a R$102m ($26m) concession to build a two kilometer transmission line and a substation in Ceará.
China Bails Out Petrobras's $14 Billion Refinery Misadventure — Bloomberg
Brazil's Petrobras, China's CNPC sign letter of intent — Reuters
Petrobras-CNPC talks put China closer to first Americas refinery — Reuters
CNPC is moving forward on helping out Petrobras with the ill-starred Comperj refinery in Rio de Janeiro. The graft-stricken fourteen year old refinery project has already cost $13b and is believed to need an additional $3b to complete; it has been on hold as the Lava Jato corruption investigation continues. CNPC is also looking at investing in the nearby Marlim offshore oil field.
Foreign Direct Investment in Latin America and the Caribbean Falls for the Third Straight Year in 2017, Totaling $161.673 Billion Dollars — ECLAC
On a World Cup-free day, the UN’s Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean issued their Foreign Direct Investment in Latin America and the Caribbean 2018 report. While overall FDI is down, China continues to be a driver: “China is investing less worldwide, but more in Latin America.” Given all the activity we have seen year-to-date, we expect China to remain a significant driver in next year’s report.
China — LAC
Oi reestructura crédito con China Development Bank — Lex Latin
Oi, the perpetually-troubled Brazilian telecom firm, has come to an agreement with China Development Bank to restructure its $671m credit line. Hopefully this means an end to the bankruptcy process, soon.
Venezuela Says China Investing $250 Million to Boost Oil Output — Bloomberg
Venezuela says it will receive $250 mln from China to boost oil output — Reuters
China Approves US$5Bn Loan For Venezuelan Oil Development — Telesur
China ‘to invest US$250 million’ to boost Venezuela’s oil sector — SCMP
Good money after bad? China Development Bank is said to have agreed to invest more than $250m in PDVSA’s development of the Orinoco heavy oil belt. and China National Petroleum Corporation. A larger $5b loan from the government of China to Venezuela is also said to have gone forward, but details are sketchy.
Mercosur: Marito y Tabaré Vázquez quieren acercarse a China Continental — Ultima Hora
Paraguay será un aliado de Uruguay en las negociaciones del Mercosur con China y la Unión Europea — Presidencia de la República Oriental del Uruguay
Paraguay’s President-elect Mario “Marito” Abdo Benítez visited with Uruguayan President Tabaré Vázquez. While couching it in his country’s diplomatic relationship with Taipei, Abdo said he thought Mercosur should pursue a Free Trade Agreement with China.
China Taps the Brakes on Its Global Push for Influence — NYT
Just as Latin American countries are beginning to join, is the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) becoming yesterday’s news? According to the New York Times, the value of the deals in BRI is smaller than a year ago.
Fabricante chinesa de moinhos de trigo terá Brasil como base para América Latina — Globo
Chinese flour mill machinery producer Pingle is opening a $1m marketing and technical office and parts warehouse in Ponta Grossa in Paraná in September. A small office, but proof that Pingle sees big potential in the region — their are plans for a machine factory, as well.
Exportaciones de vino embotellado chileno sube en primeros 4 meses — Xinhua
Llega concurso de vinos orientado a China — Economía y Negocios
Over the past 12 months, Chilean wine exports to China have increased 27% to $267m. The arrival of the WinEvaluator jury to rate Chilean wines for the Chinese audience in October will only help matters.
Briga comercial entre EUA e China favorece Brasil, avalia economista — Metrópoles
Brasil pode ganhar R$ 28,5 bilhões com guerra comercial China-EUA — Folha
China da batalla a Trump — El Heraldo de México
Brazil's Soy Premium Doubles as U.S.-China Bicker Over Trade — Bloomberg
China to Cancel More U.S. Soy Shipments as More Tariffs Loom — Bloomberg
Ahead of tonight’s midnight (EDT) imposition of a 25% tariff on $34b of Chinese goods by the US, Latin America continues to see whether they can benefit. The most bullish is Brazil, who has seen soybean prices surge. However, the Brazilian harvest season is just about over, so real benefit won’t be seen for another six months. And by then we could be in a full-on 1930’s-style trade war, in which no one will win.
Proyectan que la producción agropecuaria crecerá 17% en América Latina — Clarín
Agro-industry in Latin America is expected to grow 17% over the next decade according to the OECD and FAO, with Chinese demand for soy being the biggest driver.
Presidente argentino se reúne con alto funcionario del PCCh — Xinhua
Brazilian president meets senior CPC official on ties — ECNS
Brasil e China negociam ampliar parcerias em vários setores — Globo
Cooperação entre Brasil e China é tema de audiência no Planalto — Planalto
Yang Xiaodu, Communist Party of China Politburo member and deputy secretary of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, visited with Presidents Michel Temer and Mauricio Macri on a trip through the southern cone.
Proponen comisión para impulsar relaciones R. Dominicana y China — Al Momento
Impulsarán relaciones económicas RD y China — Diario a Diario
Chile se ofrece para ser puente entre RD-China — Listin Diario
Chile se ofrece como puerto de la República Dominicana en el Caribe — América Económica
Empresarios de China están interesados en invertir en República Dominicana — El Día
China and the Dominican Republic continue to get to know each other better in the context of their diplomatic relations. And Chile, never one to miss an opportunity, is offering to be a gateway between the two.
E o Brasil? Honor chega à América Latina e anuncia lançamento de smartphones em alguns países — Tudo Celular
Honor, la nueva marca de 'smartphones', llega a Colombia — Vanguardia
Award-winning Honor Smartphones Launch in Latin American Markets — Cision PR Newswire
Honor, China’s most popular “digital native” smartphone, is launching this week in Colombia, Mexico, and Bolivia. It hopes to become available in Chile, Peru, Argentina, Costa Rica, Panama, and Guatemala by the end of this year. Brazil asks: what about us?
Galleons Passage seaworthy — TT Newsday
Goldwind, da China, entra no Brasil com US $ 270 milhões — O Petróleo
China quer se tornar próxima potência de energia limpa — Jornal do Brasil
China is pushing to be the world’s next clean energy superpower. To that end, the country’s Goldwind has announced a deal to supply 242 turbines (for a total 363MW) for Energimp. The deal, Goldwind’s first in Brazil, takes over the contract of Argentina’s Impsa.
Parlatino y Gobierno de China suscriben acuerdo de cooperación en Panamá — TVN
Latin American Parliament (Parlatino) and the government of China have signed an MOU to pursue cultural interchange. Could this be an opportunity for countries without diplomatic relations to engage China through Parlatino?
La china BYD recibe desde Chile el mayor pedido de buses eléctricos de Latinoamérica — Diario Financiero
Correcting something we said in our email last week, 200 BYD and Yutong buses will be circulating in Transantiago’s bus system by the end of the year. BYD has two prototypes on the road for testing now, and will have 100 in Chile by the end of November.
China’s game of debt — Daily Express
A scathing challenge to what is seen as Trinidad and Tobago’s dependence on the “easy money” from China that begins with a reference to Wu Tang's "Enter the 36 Chambers."
Colombia lanza su nueva campaña de promoción turística en China — El Espectador
La campaña con la que Colombia quiere atraer turistas chinos — Portafolio
The “Colombia, tierra de sabrosura” campaign is designed to increase the number of Chinese tourists to Colombia.
Minera china deberá pagar US$ 4,7 millones a Puerto Caldera — Diario Financiero
Stemming from a 2013 dispute, Chile’s Supreme Court has ruled that Jiangsu Huitai’s subsidiary CCA Chile Inversión y Desarrollo has to pay $4.7m to the management of Puerto Caldera for contracted facilities that were never used.
China’s firms are scouring the world for mineral ores in pursuit of nation’s electric dream — SCMP
Jiangxi Ganfeng Lithium is supposedly seeking a $1b IPO in Hong Kong to raise funds toward the development of a mining project in Argentina. Unclear if that is separate from their existing Cauchari-Olaroz project in Jujuy.
Trustee alleges HSBC actions scuttled sale of China Fishery's Peru assets — Seafood Source
Something fishy? The ongoing China Fisheries drama has taken an interesting turn, as trustee William A. Brandt, Jr., has sued HSBC for "malicious behavior that contributed to the insolvency of" seafood giant China Fishery.
Ground to be broken for Jamaica-Gansu industrial park in December — Jamaica Observer
Bilateral trade between Jamaica and China expanding — Loop Jamaica
Jamaica: Work on China-backed industrial park starts January, says Henry — St Lucia News
Ground will be broken for the Jamaica-Gansu Special Economic Zone and Industrial Park at the end of the year. Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company (JISCO) — which already operates the Alpart alumina project there — plans to invest $3b in the park. Along with an expansion of existing facilities, JISCO expects to invest $6b over the next 2-8 years.
Primera exportación de arándanos a China: Viajarán inspectores chinos — Argentina Blueberry
Argentina is expecting to send its first blueberries to China in September, following a final inspection visit this week. Argentina has a 30% on its blueberry exports to China (compared to 0% for Peru and Chile), but is hoping to lower it soon.
As Taiwan Drops Diplomatic Allies To China, Coffee Traders Rethink A $16M Business — Forbes
China Is Luring Away Taiwan’s Longtime Partners in Central America and the Caribbean — World Politics Review
An argument that Haiti may be the next country in the hemisphere to switch recognition from Taipei to Beijing.
Korea — LAC
Corea busca más comercio con América latina — BAE Negocios
Corea y América Latina hablan de 'Smart City’ — KBS
The Korea-LAC Future Cooperation Forum looked to increase cooperation between the two regions on a variety of issues.
Empresa de orgânicos da Coreia do Sul cria oásis de alimentos na Bahia — Folha
Korean firm Doalnara’s Brazil subsidiary Bom Amigo has bought 10,000 hectares (25,000 acres) of land in western Bahia to begin growing organic food.
Palta peruana a poco de ingresar a Corea del Sur, según Minagri — Gestión
Palta peruana cerca de entrar al mercado de Corea del Sur — El Comercio
A delegation from Korea’s Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency visited Peru to finish up the approval process to allow the export of Peruvian avocados to Korea. Approval is expected soon.
Japan — LAC
Argentina exporta carne a Japón — Fortuna
Following meetings in May, Japan has officially opened its market to beef and lamb from Argentina. Adding to the good news is that Argentina has opened its parrillas to Japan’s wagyu beef, as well.
Seminário fomenta oportunidades de negócios entre Brasil e Japão — TN Online
The city of Curitiba and the Japanese Consulate General hosted a weekend seminar on challenges and opportunities in business between Brazil and Japan.
India — LAC
Bolivia offers its lithium reserves to India — Gulf News India
Bolivian Ambassador to India Sergio Dario Arispe Barrientos says his country is willing to sign a preferential trade agreement with India to get the latter to help develop his country’s lithium reserves: "We have the largest lithium reserves. We would like India (both the government and the private sector) to explore this opportunity.”
ASEAN & Oceania — LAC
Tourism Australia Hopes for Better Connectivity with Latin America — LAHT
Australia is looking to improve air connectivity with Chile and other countries in the region to lure more tourists down under.
GCC — LAC
Emirates SkyCargo adds Chile to its Latin American network — Air Cargo World
UAE airlines hiring pilots, cabin crew — Gulf News
Emirates has added Santiago to its SkyCargo airfreight network, connecting 15 tonnes of capacity between Chile, China, and elsewhere. The route addresses growing demand for South American perishables among Chinese consumers. Additionally, to help staff up commercial flights, Emirates and flydubai will be holding roadshows for pilots and crew in Brazil and Argentina, among other countries.
Visa-free travel between Brazil and UAE in force — The Pie News
The UAE and Brazil are allowing tourism and business travel between the two countries for up to 90 days a year visa-free.
‘UAE-Brazil Political Consultations Committee’ Begins In Abu Dhabi — Urdu Point
The "UAE-Brazil Political Consultations Committee” had its first meeting, with delegations led by Ahmed Abdul Rahman Al Jarman, Emirati Assistant Minister for Human Rights and International Law at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Brazilian Undersecretary General for Africa and the Middle East at Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil, Fernando Jose Marroni de Abreu.