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Anthony Cote, Acting Director of the Quebec Office in Hong Kong, and his colleague Commercial Officer Florence Lin visited the Chamber on 29 June.

Exploring Opportunities for Cooperation with Québec, Canada

Anthony Cote, Acting Director of the Quebec Office in Hong Kong, and his colleague Commercial Officer Florence Lin visited the Chamber on 29 June, where they were received by the Chamber’s Business Policy Director Simon Ngan and PR & Programs Director Malcolm Ainsworth.

Cote explained that, since earlier this year, the Quebec Office in Hong Kong has shifted its priority away from attracting immigrants to the Canadian city, to focus more on exploring the business opportunities for Quebec. The key areas of focus include green building, leisure industry, consumer goods, agricultural products and IT solutions. Both sides discussed possible ways to collaborate in the future, including meetings, webinars, business matching and missions, that would be mutually beneficial for Quebec businesses and Chamber members.

2022/06/29
Argentina’s Consul General in Hong Kong, Gonzalo Javier Sabate, speaking at a Chamber webinar on 16 June hosted by Americas Committee Chairman Evaristo Trevino Berlanga.

New Opportunities as Argentina Joins the Belt & Road

Over the decades, China and Argentina have deepened cooperation in trade, investment and finance, allowing China to become Argentina’s second-largest trading partner after Brazil. Argentina officially joined China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in February, bilateral exchanges are expected to expand further. 

Argentina’s Consul General in Hong Kong, Gonzalo Javier Sabate, speaking at a Chamber webinar on 16 June hosted by Americas Committee Chairman Evaristo Trevino Berlanga, said Argentina’s entry into the BRI is important for China and Argentina to take their relationship to a new level.

Cristian Inderkumer, Director of Research at the Civic Association for Argentina-China Cooperation, pointed out that Argentina is the largest Latin American economy to join the BRI, while other major economies in the region, such as Brazil and Mexico, are still pending. He added the BRI will facilitate investment projects and deepen cooperation in areas such as agriculture, energy, mining and infrastructure, digital economy and climate change, all within a context of green development. However, Argentina’s widening trade deficit with China a concern that needed to be addressed.

Jiang Shixue, Professor and Director at the Centre for Latin American Studies at Shanghai University, said BRI not only promotes Chinese investment abroad, but also helps to promote policy coordination, infrastructure connection, trade facilitation, financial cooperation and people-to-people communication between. He added that promoting cultural and people-to-people exchanges after Covid will be important in reinforcing trust and understanding. 

This webinar is co-organized by the Americas Committee and Belt and Road Working Group

2022/06/16

China-Chile FTA Strengthening Bilateral Ties

Consul General of Chile in Hong Kong Osvaldo-Patricio Alvarez-Perez updated members at the Americas Committee meeting on 31 May about bilateral trade between Chile and Mainland China following the signing of Chile-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in 2005. He said the FTA has brought about a significant increase in bilateral trade between the countries – from US$9 billion in 2006 to US$64 billion in 2021, showing an increase of about 24% year-on-year. With bilateral trade and investment flows reaching new heights, China has become one of the main destinations for Chilean exports of minerals and agricultural commodities – historically the mainstay of the Chilean economy. Also China’s demand for Chilean seafood such as salmon and trout has grown significantly. After the upgraded China-Chile FTA came into effect in 2019, more items have been exempted from tariffs which further enhanced the level of trade liberalization between the countries, the Consul General added.

2022/05/31

Fintech Trends in LATAM

Over the past two years, the Covid-19 pandemic has driven the need for digital financial services. The trend is particularly apparent in Latin America, which has turned into a new breeding ground for digital banks.

Speaking at an Americas Committee webinar on 21 April, Federico De Simoni, Head of Latin America at Flybits Inc, said over 40% of Latin Americans are unbanked and only 12% of the population has a “formal” savings account. The Covid-19 pandemic combined with a high smartphone penetration of over 80% have been the key driver of fintech success in the region, he explained.

A large population of Latin Americans have shifted to adopt e-commerce and online payment methods. He pointed out the region has witnessed a dynamic growth of its neobanks landscape, with more than 30 digital bank serving over 50 million neo bank consumers. He added the cryptocurrency boom has also caught the eye in Latin America with approximately 15% of the population holding or using cryptocurrency.

2022/04/21

Opportunities and Impact of USMCA Trade Deal

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which updated the 25-year-old NAFTA among the three largest countries of North America, retains most of NAFTA's commitment to lowering trade barriers, but adds some new rules such as those relating to the agriculture, automotive, energy, digital trade, and new policies on labour and environmental standards. Joshua Meltzer, Senior Fellow in the Global Economy and Development Program at the Brookings Institution, said the USMCA could create millions of jobs in each country and help advance a more competitive, inclusive and sustainable North America economy.

Speaking at an Americas Committee webinar on 22 February hosted by its Chairman Evaristo Trevino Berlanga, Meltzer added that the U.S.’s proposals to create new electric vehicle tax credits for American-built vehicles and the proposed Mexico’s energy reform mulled challenges to the USMCA trade deal. Antonio Ortiz Mena, Senior Vice President, Albright Stonebridge Group, pointed out the USMCA addressed some environmental issues but there was no carbon emissions clause to address the climate crises. In terms of the opportunities under the USMCA, he said there was huge potential for growth in digital trade and ecommerce in the North American region and suggested companies explore how they can tap into this fast-growing sector.

2022/02/22
Consul General of Canada in Hong Kong Rachael Bedlington gave a presentation on Canada’s current economic situation and investment opportunities at the Americas Committee’s knowledge-sharing session on 26 January.

Canada: Gateway to Global Markets

Consul General of Canada in Hong Kong Rachael Bedlington gave a presentation on Canada’s current economic situation and investment opportunities at the Americas Committee’s knowledge-sharing session on 26 January. Canada is among the world’s top three countries in terms of best business climate for entrepreneurs, she said. When it comes to global market access, Canada gives businesses access to 1.5 billion consumers across 51 countries under its 15 free trade agreements. With sound financial institutions, a conducive environment for leading-edge innovation as well as a high vaccination rate, Canada is expected to see growth of 4.9% in 2022. The Consul General added that there were ample opportunities for investors in a wide range of sectors including financial services, clean technology, advanced manufacturing, electric vehicles, life sciences and agribusiness.

2022/01/26
Ambassador Manuel Innocencio de Lacerda Santos Jr., Consul General of Brazil in Hong Kong, accompanied by Consuls Ivan Carlo Padre Seixas and Rafael Rodirgues Paulino, had a courtesy meeting at the Chamber on 11 January.

Enhancing Brazil-Hong Kong Connections

Ambassador Manuel Innocencio de Lacerda Santos Jr., Consul General of Brazil in Hong Kong, accompanied by Consuls Ivan Carlo Padre Seixas and Rafael Rodirgues Paulino, had a courtesy meeting at the Chamber on 11 January. Chamber CEO George Leung greeted the visitors, along with Americas Committee Chairman Evaristo Trevino Berlanga and a number of committee members.

The Consul General gave a presentation about Brazil, including the country’s plans for its post-pandemic economic recovery. He also introduced Brazil’s diversified industries from agricultural to the industrial sector, and discussed the status of bilateral trade between Brazil and Hong Kong. He explained that Brazil’s economy grew 4.5% in 2021, thanks to the fiscal stimulus measures and a 67% vaccine coverage rate. Both sides also exchanged views on business opportunities and potential areas for future cooperation.

2022/01/11
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