Is China opening up to Latin America value-added exports?

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One of the critiques of the Latin America-China relationship is that China only looks for raw materials, and protects its market from finished goods. As Mauricio Mesquita Moreira told Bloomberg’s Mac Margolis last year: "“The more you add value to your exports, the more you pay to enter the Chinese market.”

So are recent moves by China to open up its soymeal market to imports from Latin America a sign the game has changed? 

Last week, Argentina’s Cámara de la Industria Aceitera de la República Argentina(CIARA) oilseed crushers industry group announced that they would gain access to the Chinese market “in the coming months.” According to CIARA head Gustavo Idigoras:

“Selling soymeal to China has historically been Argentina’s ambition, but China refused,” Idigoras said, noting that the Asian country and world’s No. 2 economy preferred to buy raw soybeans and crush them into soymeal locally.


This week, head of the political section at the Chinese embassy in Brasília Qu Yuhui further pushed for exports of soymeal to China: “If a Chinese company and a Brazilian one together did a joint venture in Brazil to process soy, this would be a good choice for the benefit of both sides."

So why open up to a value-added product that China had so long protect domestic production of? Many observers chalk it up to countervailing tariffs China imposed in response to US President Donald Trump’s trade policy: “The trade war needs to be followed closely, because China replacing US soy with more [soy]meal imports is a paradigm change,” according to grains analyst Pablo Adreani.

But we’re not going to call it a paradigm change quite yet. While China has opened the door a crack, it’s still leaning against the door. As Qu Yuhui notes, there are no bilateral discussions to give Brazilian firms the same access Argentine firms are getting. The China International Import Expoin November would be an opportunity to show that China wants to give access to value-added products. Will they take it?

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中国与多米尼克签署共建“一带一路”谅解备忘录 — Sino TF

过去一周,“一带一路”发生了这些大事— Belt & Road News

驻多米尼克大使卢坤代表中国政府与多米尼克政府签署共建“一带一路”谅解备忘录— Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China

Chinese Ambassador Lu Kun and Foreign Minister of Dominica Francine Baron signed a Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Memorandum of Understanding last month, but only the Chinese government seems to have announced it. This makes Dominica the fifth Latin American country to sign a BRI agreement — all signed this year.


SQM vende su parte en proyecto conjunto de litio en Argentina a china Ganfeng Lithium— La Tercera

SQM vendió su participación en proyecto de litio en Argentina a china Ganfeng— Diario Estrategia

Chilena SQM vende su parte en proyecto conjunto de litio en Argentina a china Ganfeng Lithium— América Economía 

China’s Ganfeng Lithium buys stake in Argentina lithium project— FT

SQM sells stake in lithium project to China's Genfeng for $87.5M— Seeking Alpha

Reuters: Peru president sees lithium, uranium laws passed in six months— Seeking Alpha 

Lithium continues to be a hot commodity. Chile's Sociedad Química y Minera (SQM) has sold its stake of the Cauchari-Olaroz lithium brine project in Jujuy, Argentina to China’s Ganfeng Lithium for $87.5m. After the deal, Lithium Americas will own 62.5% of Cauchari-Olaroz, and Ganfeng will increase its stake to 37.5%. Ganfeng will also provide a $100m loan to fund development of Cauchari-Olaroz, expected to come online in 2020. Separately — and not to be left out — Peruvian president Martín Vizcarra has said that his country will create a regulatory structure for the mining of lithium and uranium in the next six months. 

US Wants to Remain ‘Partner of Choice’ in South America— VOA News

Adiós EU, China es el nuevo jefe comercial de América Latina y el Caribe— Arena Pública

China tariff on US methanol heats up trade war— ICIS

China: Por que a guerra comercial dos EUA é inútil— Brasil 24/7

La carne de cerdo y buey estadounidense víctima de la guerra comercial con China— Swissinfo

El Dr. Jorge Malena dialoga sobre la influencia de China en América Latina— Voz de América

EUA veem como possível 'ameaça' influência da China na América do Sul— Carta Capital

No Brasil, chefe do Pentágono busca conter influência militar da China— O Globo

Mattis arremete contra Brasil por reforzar relaciones con China— HISPANTV

Secretário da Defesa dos EUA corteja o Brasil ante influência da China— Éxame

U.S. shouldn’t ignore China’s influence in the Caribbean— Miami Herald

La agenda del secretario de Defensa de Estados Unidos en Argentina: terrorismo, narcotráfico, China y G20— Info BAE

El ministro de Defensa de EE.UU. llegó a la Argentina "dispuesto a escuchar”— Clarín

Secretário da Defesa dos EUA corteja o Brasil ante influência da China— Éxame 

Disputa comercial entre China e EUA pode afetar emprego e renda no Brasil, diz ministro— UOL Economia

James Mattis tries to woo Brazil as Chinese influence in Latin America continues to grow— SCMP

Brazil's farmers dump sugar for soy as trade war boosts Chinese demand— Reuters

Latinoamérica y Wall Street atentos al escalamiento de la "guerra" EUA-China— El Economista

The visit of US Defense Secretary James Mattis to Argentina, Brazil, and Chile colored the China-US trade war discussion in Latin America this week. Mattis says that he is “ready to listen” and that the US wants to remain “partner of choice” for the region. All well and good, but ultimately he is not the one making these decisions for the US right now. And until the US decides to be more friendly, Latin America is going to continue focusing on the China market as an alternative.

Ministro Japón abre gira en Latinoamérica para contactar con nuevos gobiernos— La Vanguardia

Canciller japonés llegará este lunes— El Peruano

Japón busca que Perú ratifique nueva versión del TPP— Gestión

Canciller japonés visita por primera vez Colombia— El Espectador

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono toured Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, and Mexico this week, strengthening ties with new governments and governments-elect in the region.

Mexico: Lopez Obrador expands plan for Yucatan tourist train— AP

Japanese tourism to Mexico increases mostly to Cancun, Riviera Maya— Riviera Maya News

Gobierno de Corea quiere pagar construcción del Tren Maya en Yucatán— SIPSE

Mexican president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has taken up the proposed rail project on the Yucatan to help further grow the tourism industry there. The Yucatan Korean Association says the government of South Korea wants to sponsor building the train. Japan may also have interest, following an uptick in Japanese tourists to the area.

Perú podría ver exportación récord de uva de mesa para 2018/2019— Portal Fruticola

Peru table grape exports may be up 50% this year to 45m boxes, thanks to a El Niño-shrunken harvest last year. China remains its second biggest export market, and now Peru is looking to export to Japan.

Trinidad emerging as East Asia ammonia supplier— Argus

A decrease in US consumption of imports has shifted Trinidad amonia exports to South Korea and China. Trinidad exports to South Korea has more than quadrupled year-over-year to 100,252 tons between January-June, according to Argus. China imported 32,593 tons of Trinidad ammonia during the first quarter, up from 6,000t during the same period the prior year.

China — LAC

Panamá y China potencian cooperación en infraestructura y transporte marítimo— El Diario

Panamá potenciará su cooperación con China en infraestructura y transporte marítimo— TVN

Panama and China to sign MoU on maritime cooperation— Seatrade Maritime

Panama president meets China's transport minister— BNamericas

China’s Minister of Transport, Li Xiaopeng, visited Panama this week, sitting down with President Juan Carlos Varela and Minister of Maritime Affairs Jorge Barakat, among others.

Xi's special envoy attends Colombian presidential inauguration— Xinhua

Li also attended Colombian president Iván Duque’s swearing in this week. As Ben Creutzfeldt asks about having a transportation minister swanning about: "more BRI?

Miguel Vargas encabeza conferencia “Las experiencias de Chile en las relaciones con China y resto de Asia— CDN Digital

Expresidente Frei destaca que la mayoría de exportaciones de Chile van a Asia— El Diario

Eduardo Frei pide esfuerzo regional y aprovechar China— Hoy Digital 

Former Chilean president Eduardo Frei talked with Dominican Republic Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas about the “experience of Chile in relations with China and the rest of Asia” in Santo Domingo this week.

La vigorosa cooperación China-Perú— El Peruano

Chinese Ambassador to Peru Jia Guide pens a piece talking about the vigorous cooperation between the two countries.

Feira de aviação em São Paulo terá pela primeira vez um avião chinês— Airway

The Latin American Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (Labace 2018) in São Paulo next week will — for the first time — have a Chinese plane there, the Harbin Y-12.

Las marcas chinas de electrodomésticos esperanzan en América Latina— People’s Daily

Electrodomésticos “made in China” ganan mercado latinoamericano— Marco Trade News

The Fifth Chinese Electronics and White Goods Fair, organized by MOFCOM, just concluded in São Paulo. 

Gigante china Huawei instalará un call center en Chile y planea la apertura de más tiendas propias— Economía y Negocios

Huawei Consumer Business Group global VP of products and marketing Jim Xu says that the company is planning to open a local call center and more stories in Chile so as to be able to take a larger slice of the smartphone market.

Dachser lleva sus servicios de transporte marítimo a China y México— Transporte Profesional 

Dascher Iberia is expanding its less-than-a-cargo-load (LCL) maritime logistics service to connect Veracruz, Mexico to Ningbo, Shanghai, and Yantian China via Valencia, Spain.

Auguran exportación de café mexicano a China en 2019— El Sol de Puebla

Puebla State Secretary of Rural Development Rodrigo Riestra says that he hopes that Mexico will begin to export coffee to China next year.

Perú y China profundizarán Asociación Estratégica Integral— El Peruano

Peruvian Foreign Minister Néstor Popolizio will head to Beijing next month to meet with his counterparts for the Strategic Dialogue on Economic Cooperation meeting.

¿Cómo llegar a las góndolas chinas?— Agrofy

The government of Argentina hosted a comprehensive meeting this week in Buenos Aires on the opportunities for Argentine companies in China, and the resources available to help them.

Concretan inversión china por 15 millones de dólares— El Sol de San Juan del Río

Chinese-owned F&H Fibra has invested $15m in a plant in Querétaro.

Fruta, energía y astronomía: Los ejes de la agenda del embajador Schmidt en China— Diario Financiero 

"Hay que buscar la forma de hacer las cosas de acuerdo al sistema chino”— Economía y Negocios

New Chilean Ambassador to Luis Schmidt — who held the same role in President Sebastián Piñera’s first government — lays out his vision for bilateral relations, focusing on Chile’s strengths: “fruit, energy, and astronomy."

Alimentos, falta "sintonía fina" en China— Economía y Negocios

Even though Chile exported $1.6b in fruit to China last year, Chinese consumers still think of it as a “far away” country. Chilean exporters are looking to change that perception.

La desaceleración de China es mala para unos y peor para otros— Perfil

According to a report by Oxford Economics, a slowdown in the Chinese economy wold hit commodity exporters like Brasil and Argentina the hardest.

Nueva ruta de la seda de China: los países de América Latina que ya se unieron al gigantesco proyecto (y las dudas de que ese proyecto sea en beneficio mutuo)— El Mostrador

ENTREVISTA: Iniciativa de la Franja y la Ruta es "trascendental" para América Latina, según experto de CEPAL— Xinhua

Conoce la nueva ruta de la seda de China— El Deber

Further chin-stroking on the BRI and what it means for Latin America.

Chinese canned seafood can re-enter Peruvian market— FIS

After last year’s parasitic-worms-in-tinned-mackerel, Chinese canned seafood has been reflowed back into the Peruvian market.

Chinese Health and Culture Centre to Open Soon in Jamaica— South Florida Caribbean News 

Beijing International Trading Co. Ltd (Beijing Yijialu) is planning to open a Traditional Chinese Culture and Health Center in Jamaica. 

Peru boosts mandarin focus on U.S., China at expense of Europe— Fresh Fruit Portal

Peru has this season boosted late mandarin exports to the U.S. and China by around a third year-on-year.

Nectarines chilenos se redistribuirán en diferentes mercados asiáticos en próxima temporada— Portal Fruticola 

Chile's GESEX expects stronger nectarine season in China in 2018-19— Fresh Fruit Portal

Chile’s largest nectarine exporter, GESEX expects nectarine exports to China to increase by 10% this year.

Chile: Slow season for kiwis— Fresh Plaza

According to the Kiwi Committee of Chile, high stocks have slowed sales of the southern hemisphere Kiwis compared to this time last year.

Korea — LAC

Esto es lo que promete el programa de agricultura orgánica en El Salvador— Noticias de El Salvador

The (Korea-Latin America Food & Agriculture Cooperation Initiative) KoLFACI held an event on organic fertilizer in El Salvador.

Mantiene Gobierno del Estado relación económica con Corea— AF Medios

Destacan autoridades colimenses relación económica con Corea— 20 Minutos

Colima state Secretary for Economic Development Carlos Domínguez Ahedo participated in the Korean Knowledge Sharing Program in CDMX this week.

Camex aplica antidumping sobre borracha nitrílica da Coreia do Sul e França— Jornal do Brasil

Brazil’s Foreign Trade Chamber has applied antidumping measure on imports of nitrile rubber from South Korea and France.

Samsung inaugura en Chile su tienda más grande de América, con 650 M2— Diario Financiero

This week Samsung opened its largest store in the Americas, a 650sqm store in Chile, that it expects to help boost local sales 30%

Aprovado acordo de cooperação entre Brasil e Coreia do Norte— Senado Federal

The Brazilian Senate has ratified an economic and technical agreement signed with North Korea in 2010.

Brasil pode se consolidar como principal fornecedor de veículos para toda a América Latina— Comex do Brasil

Hyundai has made one million cars at its factory in Piracicaba, São Paulo.

‘Ecuador seeks SME cooperation with Korea’— Korea Herald

Ecuadorian Minister of Industries and Productivity Eva Garcia Fabre visited South Korea this past week to push for opportunities and support for Ecuadorean SMEs.

Japan — LAC

Un nuevo embarque de carne a Japón suma expectativas— App Noticias

After the test export by air of 200kg of Rio Negro beef to Japan, Argentina is picking up its game, sending 10,000kg of beef to Japan by sea from Buenos Aires this week.

St Vincent PM wants Japan to have strategic development plans for the C’bean— Jamaica Observer

St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves calls on Japan to establish a strategic relationship with the 15-member Caribbean Community (Caricom).

ASEAN & Oceania — LAC

BHP Billiton to pay $50m over Brazil Samarco dam class action— The Times 

BHP Billiton has agreed to pay $50m to settle a class action from American investors who lost out when shares fell after the 2015 Samarco dam collapse in Brazil.

India — LAC

CMA CGM annoucnes Peak Season Surcharge from Brazil to Africa and India locations— AJOT

Given bottlenecks in the supply chain, CMA CGM has announced a surcharge on shipping sugar and cereals from southern Brazil all the way to the West Coast of North India.

GCC — LAC

UAE Ambassador attends Belize consulate opening— Mena FN

UAE Ambassador To Mexico Attends Meeting Of Non-resident Ambassadors To Guatemala— UrduPoint

Ambassador Ahmed Hatem Al Menhali had a busy week, traveling to Tijuana for the opening of the Belize consulate, and to Guatemala for a meeting with government officials.

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