China Telecom entering Brazilian market
China Telecom and its subsidiary China Communications Services are setting up offices in São Paulo to provide internet, data and outsourcing services. They plan to establish their network in Brazil before the 2014 World Cup, as well as to serve Chinese investors and enterprises in Brazil and elsewhere Latin America.
Chinese investment in Brazil is still concentrated in the South American country’s oil and gas sectors. Chinese companies are now engaging in a wider range of investments, however. Last month, Chinese company State Grid acquired a Spanish construction firm’s Brazil-based assets for US $531 million. Bank of China and other big banks are actively acquiring Brazilian engineering and logistics companies.
Asia-Pacific and Latin American emerging countries have great economic development opportunities
Asia-Pacific and Latin America should expect growth in trade, but both regions should work to improve economic relations by initiating policies that support the following: 1) diversification of Latin American exports to Asia-Pacific; 2) establishment of trade partnership between the two regions; 3) an increase bilateral foreign investment, especially with respect to Latin American infrastructure; 4) strengthening of cooperation in innovation, technology and human resources; and 5) initiation of high-end trade forums for Asia-Pacific and Latin American governments.
China has no interest in Mexico?
Last week’s Mexican Oil Congress in Puebla, Mexico brought together many oil industry giants, including Chevron and Halliburton of the United States and Carlos Slim’s Carso. However, Beijing-based Land Ocean Energy Services was the only Chinese booth at the entire exhibition. Furthermore, the only investment from China in the Mexican oil industry is a small joint venture founded by Sinopec and Grupo Diavaz. China has invested billions of dollars in oil sectors in Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela. Why not in Mexico?
First of all, although some Chinese businessmen are communists, or at least received a socialist/communist education, they have tried to avoid doing business with state-owned oil monopolies. This explains China’s disinterest in the Mexican oil industry. Economics professor Enrique Dussel Peters from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) has a different explanation, however. He believes the problem extends beyond petroleum to negative relations between the Chinese and Mexican governments ever since swine flu-related controversy in 2009. He added that government-level tension has resulted in the failure of at least two investment proposals.
Wen’s visit to Latin America: Agricultural cooperation is the main issue
According to the Vice Foreign Minister Xie Hangsheng, during Premier Wen’s visit to the region, he planned to sign a series of agreements on education, science and technology, agriculture, quality inspection, finance, customs, tourism and cultural cooperation. Another major feature of the meetings was agricultural cooperation. Uruguay, Chile, Brazil and Argentina are countries with high levels of agricultural production and with great potential for cooperation with China on agricultural issues. Xie added that Latin America, as a region with several emerging economic powers, is gaining in strength and influence.
The U.S. fall and China-Latin American Strategy
According to the Consul General of Mexico in Shanghai, Rolando García Alonso, the U.S.’s declining leadership in Latin America and China’s increasing diplomatic engagement are indicative of a new political environment in the region. This new trend was evidenced by the failure of the recent Summit of the Americas in Cartagena and by significant progress made during Premier Wen Jiabao’s recent visit of South America.
Although U.S. influence in the region is decreasing, in terms of economic activity, the U.S. is still very influential in the region. The U.S. remains a critical source for Latin American imports, investment and remittances, as well as a major destination for the region’s exports and migrants. China’s regional investment is still relatively minor and is concentrated on the region’s raw materials.
China still has a long way to go in terms of developing relations with the region. It remains to be seen whether China will approach Latin America as a long-term economic and political partner, or simply as a supplier of natural resources. Latin American countries must also devote attention and energy to strengthening strategic relations with China.
Latin American culture: Development and dilemma
In his speech at Renmin University, Zhongyi Chen talked about the influence of globalization on Latin America’s culture development. He argued that Latin American literature began to diverge with the spread of neoliberalism: on the one hand, Borges’ fantasies attempted to escape reality, while Garcia Marquez’s magic realism demonstrated the collective ignorance of the Latin American people. The two genres reflected two very different perspectives towards globalization and its effects on society.
Chen also criticized “globalization” as a form of “Americanization” or “Westernization”. According to Chen, as the “backyard” of the United States, Latin America was the first to be harmed by transnational capitalism. In the 1980s, Mexico joyfully joined North American Free Trade Agreement. While most Mexicans expected prosperity after opening to trade with the United States, things turned out quite differently. Mexico’s future is now limited by socioeconomic inequality and by conflicts between capitalism and Mexico’s national interests. Other Latin American countries face similar challenges. Brazil, for example, is plagued by severe income inequality, although its GDP is growing rapidly. Brazilian social conflicts are getting intense and gang violence is increasing. The country is not far from civil war. This proves that the existence of socialist countries like Cuba and Venezuela is both reasonable and rational. Although these countries are not powerful enough to confront transnational capitalism, their experiences are powerful anti-capitalist examples.
Wen Jiabao proposed the creation of a China-Latin America cooperation forum
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao delivered a speech entitled “Trusted Friends Forever” at the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and Caribbean on Tuesday, June 27th, proposing the creation of a China-Latin America cooperation forum. In his speech, the Chinese Premier put forward concrete proposals for cooperation in areas such as food security, innovation, science and technology and sustainable development. He added that the deepening of strategic cooperation among emerging countries should be based on mutual political trust, with a focus on economic cooperation, trade, cultural exchange and agricultural cooperation.
Wen Jiabao concluded trip to Latin America: Sino-Latin American cooperation still has a long way to go
From June 20th to 26th, Premier Minister of China Wen Jiabao attended the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and visited, for the first time, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile. During his visit to the Chinese Embassy in Chile, he reflected on the eight-day tour.
Wen said that although total trade with these four countries has exceeded $240 billion, trade is still focused on primary goods. It’s reasonable for the leaders of Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile to propose an increase in the number manufactured exports to China. This is not easy, however. He added that promotion of free trade must be acheived in accordance with international rules, but that China is more than happy to create favorable conditions for imports from Latin America. With respect to trade, Wen mentioned “two doublings”. The first is a doubling of trade with MERCOSUR by 2016 (to $200 billion); the second is a doubling of trade with Chile by 2015.
Chinese investment in infrastructure was requested frequently during the meetings. Wen said that because of geographic distance, there’s a lack of understanding between the China and the region. Chinese enterprises are far from penetrating the Latin American market. Chinese government will on one hand stimulate the domestic demand, and on the other hand actively encourage companies to “go out” and explore foreign markets.
Paraguay: the return of the Conservatives
来源：三联生活周刊 2012 年第27 期
President Lugo of Paraguay was recently impeached. According to Peter Hakim, President Emeritus of Inter-American Dialogue, “Lugo’s presidency was full of setbacks.” “Weak from the beginning, Lugo showed too much ambition. He tried to replace quite a few critical military figures, creating conflicts and hostility. His major promises during presidential campaign were to carry out land reform, to put an end to corruption, and to create a government serving the poor. Few were realized.”