Apple's iPhone XS announcement grabbed the headlines but this week's biggest lithium battery deal might have taken place 6000 miles to the south. After months of wrangling with Chilean antitrust regulator, Fiscalía Nacional Económica (FNE), China’s Tianqi Lithium has come to terms to increase its 2% stake in Sociedad Química y Minera (SQM) (天齐锂业：收购SQM股权的最后一道坎：需智利法院最终裁决). The two sides officially present their agreement for trade court Tribunal de la Libre Competencia (TDLC) approval today.
Under the terms of the deal, Tianqi will not appoint any members to SQM’s board — they were entitled to three of the eight — and will not be able to access any commercially sensitive information. Tianqi will also have to notify regulators of any future, lithium-related deal with either SQM or Albemarle. The court has until October 4th to rule, which SQM has asked it to reject.
In March, Chile’s Economic Development Agency (CORFO) filed a complaint with FNE to block a late-2017 “non-binding” offer by Tianqi Lithium for Nutrien Ltd’s — formerly Potash Corp of Saskatchewan — 32% stake in SQM. Tianqi and Nutrien closed their deal for $4.1b — a 20% premium — in May, but ultimately needed Chilean approval to take up the stake.
Tianqi’s move was the largest of several by Asia-based companies that have heated up the Latin American lithium market has been active this year:
CORFO awarded Chile’s Molymet, China’s Sichuan Fulin Industrial Group, and a South Korean joint venture between Samsung SDI Co Ltd and POSCO deals for investing $754m in value-added industries on the lithium supply chain in exchange for guaranteed lithium supply.
Nextview New Energy Lion Hong Kong’s $265m purchase of Lithium X Energy and its Argentine assets in April; and
POSCO bought the Sal de Vida mine from Australia’s Galaxy Resources for $280m in May.
Looking forward, it is a matter of when and where, not if, China will make its next lithium acquisition in the region. The question may be, does it look to acquire an existing asset, or develop greenfield projects? If the latter, Bolivia's vast reserves may see even greater Chinese attention soon.
外交部就委内瑞拉总统马杜罗访华等答问_新闻发布_中国政府网— Miistry of Foreign Affairs of China
Maduro viaja à China para visita de Estado— Agência Brasil
China expressa confiança antes da visita de Nicolás Maduro a Pequim— Mundo Ao Minuto
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro travels this week to Beijing, sticking with the few friends he has.
Trump Administration Lectures Latin America on China— Two Weeks Notice
El acuerdo comercial EEUU-México— El Observador
EEUU provoca alarma por rechazo a nexos de China con Centroamérica— Diario La Prensa
EEUU da primer golpe a El Salvador por alianza con China— Diario La Prensa
The US government is taking a “recognition of Taiwan for me, but not for thee” approach to the recent shift in diplomatic relations from El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, and the like. Our friend Dan Erikson points out that pressure from the US on Latin American countries is increasing, but El Salvador is unlikely to be the last in the region to switch recognition.
México es el antídoto de EU contra China, opina la IP— El Economista
Notes from the trade war.
Brazil moves to take both India and China to the World Trade Organization on sugar protectionism. Australia may join them in the case against India.
Argentina is looking to catch up on cherry exports, doing the homework to open up the Thai and Chinese markets.
China — LAC
Mexico is expected to have the largest delegation at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai in November.
Zhao Bentang, Director General del Departamento de América Latina y el Cribe del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores Asiste al Segundo Seminario "Diálogo entre Civilizaciones China-América Latina”— MOFCOM
China y AL tienen reto de profundizar conocimiento mutuo— Agencia Andina
A conference on the Belt and Road and Latin America was held in Nanjing last week.
Colombia and Panama are moving forward on resolving a tax Bogotá placed on items transshipped through Panama’s Colón Free Zone on their way to Colombia — including a majority of items sent from China to Colombia.
Influencia china y lucha contra corrupción, centran la conferencia de la CAF— San Diego Tribune
A readout from the Dialogue’s annual CAF Conference, highlighting China’s increasing role in Latin America.
SCMP hangs a story on the fact that the Chinese embassy is moving into a Colombia drug lord’s old house in Bogotá.
Chilean FM to visit China— Xinhua
Chilean Foreign Minister Roberto Ampuero and Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan met in Beijing this week, looking to “accelerate” market access discussions for Chilean products to China.
China Railway and DIPU Sign— Caribbean Communications Network
PM: 5,000 jobs for La Brea— TT Newsday
Was Chinese firm banned by World Bank?— TT Newsday
A busy week for Trinidad. China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) signed a deal with National Infrastructure Development Corporation (NIDCO) to build a dry dock at La Brea, and China Railway Construction is going to sponsor engineers from Tobago.
Brazilian postal company Correios has announced a R$15 ($3.6) fee on all incoming international packages, even those that cost less than R$15. This is expected to hit expediters like Wish and AliExpress particularly hard.
Argentina will begin exporting pork to China in November, and lemons in 2019.
A piece discussing how in addressing its current economic straights, Argentina needs to always keep an eye on US support, but can’t ignore its new connections with China.
Diego Sinhue se reúne con embajador de China en México— Union Guanajuato
Governor-elect of Guanajuato Diego Sinhue met with Chinese Ambassador Qiu Xiaoqi this week.
Panamá busca blindarse en negociación con China— Panamá América
A round-up of how the Panamanian private sector is looking to strengthen it’s position in Free Trade Agreement negotiations with China.
A profile of China’s soft power impact in Latin America.
No vácuo da crise brasileira, chineses e americanos se movimentam— Jornal do Brasil
Brazil’s ongoing crisis may be an opportunity for Chinese companies.
Consorcio Hytera Tetra Alagoas, a joint venture formed by Hytera’s US and Brazilian subsidiaries, has signed a RMB45.2m ($6.6m) deal with Alagoas’ public security bureau to upgrade the TETRA communications network used by local police, firefighters and emergency rescue teams.
Chinese feed producer firm Dabeinong Technology is planning to introduce genetically modified soybeans to Argentina on a commercial basis.
Shandong’s Qingdao and Colombia’s Cartagena have signed an agreement to cooperate on tourism.
Zhonghai Ocean confirms interest in Pacific Andes— Seafood Source
The China Fisheries saga trawls on. Zhonghai Ocean Technology Stock Limited Company has confirmed it’s a “potential investor and plan funder,” but opposition by the family that owns parent company Pacific Andes International Holdings to sale of the company’s HQ to developers and differences in price mean this is far from a done deal.
Arándanos argentinos podría crecer un 15% durante actual temporada— Portal Frutícola
The Argentine Blueberry Committee expects to export 18,500 tons this season, and increase of 15% over last year, thanks to the first shipments of berries to China expected this season.
An interview with the general manager of the Chile Hass Avocado Committee, Francisco Contardo.
Does what it says on the tin. China's chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Wang Yang met with with Uruguay's Vice President Lucia Topolansky.
A worker’s eye view of the Cauchari solar park in Argentina.
An interview with Argentina’s Ambassador to China, Diego Guelar.
Brasileiros querem contrato futuro de soja diante de guerra comercial EUA-China — Globo
A profile of Huawei, China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom and ZTE and their growth in Latin America.
Scroll to the end for a discussion of Didi’s steps in Mexico and Brazil around the acquisition of 99.
Korea — LAC
South Korea-based copper smelter LS-Nikko Copper has signed a long-term purchasing agreement with Peruvian mining company Minsur S.A. for copper concentrate and electrolytic copper.
South Korea and Mercosur began their first round of free trade agreement talks this week in Montevideo.
Korea's Mirae to launch Brazil's first fixed income ETF— City Wire Americas
Mirae Asset Global Investments launched Brazil’s first fixed-income ETF — the Mirae Asset Renda Fixa Pré Fundo de Índice — this week.
Japan — LAC
Mexico’s agricultural exports to Japan in the first half of the year increased 9% to $622m.
Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions and Toshiba America Business Solutions has launched a new office building in Guadalajara.
India — LAC
Chilean Minister: Chile’s wine should ‘do in India what it’s done in China’— The Drinks Business
Chile’s Agricultural Minister Antonio Walker thinks that India is the next China — at least when it comes to wine.
Keen to boost bilateral ties with India: Mexican envoy— Business Line
Melba Pria, Ambassador of Mexico in India, spoke to the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry about improving trade between the two countries.
Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP), a bio-incubator and innovation hub, has signed an MoU with AgriHub, an initiative of the Federation of Agriculture and Livestock of the State of Mato Grosso in Brazil (FAMATO).
ASEAN & Oceania — LAC
We didn’t see anything this week — what did we miss?
GCC — LAC
Carlos de Icaza Gonzalez, Mexican Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs, and Jorge Alvarez Fuentes, Director of Africa and Middle East Affairs hosted Ahmed Hatem Al Minhali, UAE Ambassador to Mexico at the Mexican Secretariat of Foreign Affairs.