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Latin America at a glance: July 2017

In this section we provide you a wide overview of Latin American Economy, Politics and Business Opportunities in 2 minutes.

News at a glance

Pacific Alliance Countries

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AUCKLAND, New Zealand. July 2, 2017. New Zealand has signed an agreement to start trade negotiations with the Pacific Alliance countries (PA). Trade Minister Todd McClay  met the presidents of the four countries – Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru – during the Pacific Alliance Summit in Colombia. the announcement of the formal launch of talks was important, Mr. McClay said. The PA countries had indicated they wanted to get an agreement wrapped up within a year, with the first negotiation to take place in Peru in September. “They want to open their markets up and do trade deals with other countries around the world,” McClay said. The PA countries are also interested in deals with some other like-minded countries, such as Australia, Canada and Singapore, but the time frames for those talks would probably be different. Source: The Santiago Times.

“It is in the best interest of Mexico to be linked to the Asian economies,” said Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo. “We are now creating a new membership…in order to not waste the negotiating capital we have invested in TPP.” Source: CNBC

Deborah Elms, executive director of the Asian Trade Centre, said though Pacific Alliance members are trying to widen the appeal of the bloc, it was “big on rhetoric, short on deliverables.” Source: CNBC

Bolivia

Bolivia

LA PAZ, June 2017. The French Development Agency (AFD) will finance with more than US$12.8 million for the construction of a solar power plant in the Bolivian department of Oruro (western Bolivia). The Ministry of Planning and Development confirmed. The head of the Bolivian institution, Mariana Prado, signed the donation agreement in Paris with the general director of the AFD,  Rémy Rioux. The construction of the photovoltaic energy plant will cost 95 million dollars that will come from a loan from France, the donation from the European Community and a contribution from the Bolivian State. Bolivia already has a solar plant in the northern region of Pando, bordering Brazil, which was built by the Spanish company Isotron and has a capacity to generate five megawatts. Source: Santiago Times

Brazil

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RIO DE JANEIRO, June 13. The Brazilian government wants to speed up the privatization of Infraero, the responsible agency for operating the country’s main commercial airports. The plan is to sell Infraero in 2019. Brazil’s Transport Minister Mauricio Quintella confirmed last week to Reuters that the privatization plan involves splitting Infraero into six regional units. The government estimates that the Infraero sale would fetch about 50 billion reais (US$15 billion). InfraAmerica Participacoes SA, a joint venture between Brazilian engineering company Engevix and Argentine holding company Corporación América, Infraero’s partner in Brasilia’s airport, has shown interest in buying out the government agency.  Reuters reported that the government has confirmed a plan first reported to create a new state company called Nav Brasil that would take over Infraero’s control towers and air navigation facilities. ($1 = 3.3145 Brazilian reais)  Source: Times of India 

Colombia

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  • May 2017. The tender process for Colombia’s El Dorado II airport will begin in mid-2018. According to the deputy of transport infrastructure minister Dimitri Zaninovich. The US$1bn initiative would start out with one terminal and just one runway, although in the long term it is expected that the airport will expand to have three runways. Colombia’s infrastructure agency ANI has stated that the government plans to invest 1.6tn pesos (US$545mn) in modernizing the country’s airports in 2018-20, after having spent 5.1tn pesos (US$1.7bn) since 2011. The ANI is also leading efforts to renovate the 16 major airports in the country and is also considering offering another six under concessions, as well as building new airports in Bogotá and Cartagena. For this the investment would be 2.4tn pesos. The initiatives also include the US$460mn modernization of the existing El Dorado airport in Bogotá and 540bn pesos for Gustavo Rojas Pinilla on the island of San Andrés. Other airports currently under being upgraded include Simón Bolívar terminal in Santa Marta (US$36mn) and El Caraño airport in Quibdó (US$60mn). Source:  Latinamerica Airport expansion Summit  
  • The city mayor said that the tender for the cable to Picacho will be launched this month. The cable car line is expected to be 2.8km long and would transport some 3,680 people per hour. Source: BNAmericas

Cuba

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Miami, June 16, 2017. The president of the United States declared that he was “cancelling” the “completely one-sided deal with Cuba” made by his predecessor, Barack Obama. The new policy will still hurt Cuba’s fledgling private sector, discourage economic reform and damage US prestige in Latin America. Source: The Economist.

Mexico

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June 7, 2017. The first NAFTA renegotiations between U.S and Mexico took place. Sugar was the first commodity. Mexico could keep the export of refined sugar without duty tariffs to US, but proportion of refined sugar from 52 to 30%, in respond US doesn’t get any limits to export Sugar to Mexico. Imposing tariffs sugar imports in Mexico would be affecting the Beverage Mexican Market. In U.S. the Cuban-American brothers José y Alfredo Fanjul (donors of the republican campaign and owners of the worldwide biggest refined sugar production) are requiring to eliminate Mexican subsidies to producers, though the sugar American producers receive USD 2,000 million annually. Source: El Economista.

Panama

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July 2, 2017.Panama has announced that it is cutting ties with Taiwan and instead establishing relations with China. ” The two countries agreed to exchange ambassadors. “The Government of the Republic of Panama recognizes that there is only one China in the world, the Government of the People’s Republic of China is the only legitimate government representing all of China, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory,” the statement reads. “Eleven of the 20 countries left that recognize Taiwan are in Latin America and the Caribbean,” NPR’s Carrie Kahn reported. The Panama Canal is a crucial waterway for trade. NPR’s Anthony Kuhn reports from Beijing that Panama “is emerging as a hub for China to ship its goods to South America, and Beijing has invested millions of dollars in infrastructure around the Panama Canal.” Source: Today Panama 

 

Venezuela

Venezuela

CARACAS, July 4. United Airlines’ last service to Venezuela flew back to the United States last Friday. United Airlines decided in early June to cut its only Venezuelan route because it had failed to meet its “financial expectations.” International airlines are struggling to capitalize on their profits because of the government’s tight control of foreign currency exchange, having monopolized it since 2003. Any company operating legally in the country is forced to accept local currency (Bolivars) which they later must convert at a ludicrous official exchange rate that makes profitability an illusion.  The airlines that still operate in the country have cut their frequencies and routes, such as American Airlines, Delta, Air France and Iberia. “We hope no other airlines leave the market, although it is difficult to predict because we cannot ignore that the economic and political crisis can put an end to their will and desire to continue to provide services,” Humberto Figuera of the Association of Air Lines of Venezuela (ALAV) said. Source:  Santiago Times.