The Inter-American Dialogue will compile summaries of Chinese news on Latin America on a bi-weekly basis. Latin America is referenced only occasionally in Chinese news, and when it is, many of the articles are direct translations of Spanish- or English-language news. Chinese news coverage of Latin America tends to focus on trade, U.S. interactions with the region, announcements of leadership changes, or visits by top Chinese officials to Latin America. 

1. Ministry of Foreign Affairs: China’s trade with Latin America supports mutually beneficial, win-win principles

In response to arguments made by World Bank Chief Economist for Latin America and the Caribbean, Augusto de la Torre, China Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ spokesman, Hong Lei, insisted that China is interested in more than just natural resource exports from Latin America. Chinese investment in the region promotes economic growth, and it trade relationships have helped much of the region to weather the global financial crisis.

2. Challenges and Opportunities for Brazil-China Cooperation

Main points:
– 拉美-巴西贸易走廊的发展速度领先于世界
(The Latin America – Brazil trade corridor is among the fastest growing in the world)
– 从物流到税务法规,中国对巴西的贸易往来中存在一系列障碍
(From logistics challenges to complex tax codes, China’s future trade relations with Brazil face a series of obstacles)
– 中国巴西之间的经贸往来已远超过单一的资源供给关系
(The basis for the China-Brazil economic and trade relationship is much more than simple resources supply)
– 不断成长的贸易金融关系
(Continuously growing trade and financial relationship)

According to a report produced by Standard Chartered Bank, the Brazil-China relationship has moved beyond singular focus on natural resources. There are, however, significant obstacles to enhanced cooperation, including logistics and infrastructure, cultural differences, and Brazil’s notoriously complex taxation system.

CLICK HERE for an English-language copy of the Standard Chartered report, “China-Brazil: Navigating the Partnership.”

3. Zhu Xinqiang: Chinese investment in Latin America shouldn’t be limited to resources

Zhu Xinqiang, Vice President of China’s EXIM Bank, discussed China and Latin America relations on September 13, 2011. China’s investment strategy in Latin America is not limited to natural resources, according to Zhu. Latin American countries are in need of foreign capital for the development of infrastructure and the expansion of their manufacturing, high-tech, agriculture, tourism, and finance sectors.  Zhu also announced that EXIM is focusing more intensely on agricultural projects Latin America since the second half of 2011.

ASIDE: In a separate article published in the China Daily (人民日报) on April 29, 2011, Liu Lianke, another China EXIM Bank vice president discussed plans to raise a RMB 1 billion fund for investment in Latin America. Zhu mentioned that the EXIM Bank will apply a “China-ASEAN Cooperation Fund” model when working in Latin America.

4. Advice from Merrill Lynch about China’s investment in Latin America
作者:沈乎   来源:财新网 2011-09-16

James Quigley, Vice chairman and President of Latin America Group at Merrill Lynch, discussed the current state of Chinese investment in Latin America in an interview with China’s Caijing news. He started off by making a clear distinction between China’s investment in Latin America and in Africa. Africa is in need of Chinese capital, labor, and technology, but Latin America is primarily in need of capital. The cultural differences between Chinese and Latin Americans are vast, he argued.  In the past 15 years, China’s opportunistic investment and trade strategies in Latin America have given some countries a negative impression of the China’s interests in the region. China, he argued, should instead adopt Japan’s 1970’s investment strategy – it should transfer technology, train domestic laborers, and learn to respect different cultures when doing business in Latin America.

5. Brazil raises its automobile import tariff,
Chinese car companies accelerate building of overseas factories

巴西提高汽车进口关税 中国车企加速海外建厂

After the Brazilian government announced its automobile import tariff, Chinese automobile companies such as Chery, Hafei, Jianghuai have begun to rethink their strategies in South America. It is estimated that the Brazil’s tax hike will increase the price of imported automobiles in Brazil by 25 – 28 percent.

6. South America could become a test region for internationalization of the Chinese currency
新华网 2011-09-29

According to the director of Argentina’s National Strategic Studies Institute, South America could become a test region for RMB internationalization. China continues to negotiate RMB denominated settlements with its Asian neighbors, but countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Chile might also accept RMB denominated trade agreements, and could help to facilitate the transformation of the RMB into an international reserve currency. The RMB, he argued, may become as important as the U.S dollar in South America.