Going to Latin America Forum Held in Guangzhou

From February 25 to 26, the Going to Latin America Forum, hosted by China Public Diplomacy Association (CPDA), was held at the Imperial Springs International Convention Center, Guangzhou.

After the opening ceremony on February 25, the forum began the seminars and panel discussions. Officials from the Department of Foreign Capital and Overseas Investment of the National Development of Reform Commission, the Department of American and Oceanian affairs of the Ministry of Commerce, and the Department of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave a briefing on the policies, regulations and facilitating measures for Chinese enterprises making investments in Latin America and stated that more support will be given to competent Chinese enterprises to encourage their active and steady investment in Latin America.

By the end of 2013, the accumulated investment of China in Latin America had surpassed US$80 billion, accounting for 13% of China’s total outbound direct investment. Latin America has become an important destination for Chinese outbound investment, and one of the regions where such investment is growing at the quickest pace. In accordance with the decision recently adopted at the Third Plenum of 18th CPC Central Committee to deepen the reform of investment regime and ensure the leading role of enterprises in investment, and in view of the fast growth of Chinese outbound investment, relevant government departments and agencies will streamline the procedures for investment review and approval, delegate a significant part of such power to the lower-level government, and establish an outbound investment management regime based on registration, so as to provide more ease and convenience for Chinese companies investing abroad.

Mr. Jorge Quiroga Rámirez, former President of Bolivia, in his speech titled the Macro Economic Situation in Latin America, pointed out that the past decade has witnessed the best ever economic performance of Latin America and impressive headway in the cooperation between Latin America and China, which has transformed the continent and beyond. Currently, China and Latin America face a lot of similar challenges. Latin American countries are keen to develop high value–added manufacturing products and conduct comprehensive cooperation with China. On the other hand, in view of the negative impact brought about by the quantitative easing policy of America, China and Latin America should forge ahead in unison, strengthen their respective monetary regimes and policy-making mechanisms, and form partnerships in an all-round way.

Diplomatic envoys from Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chili, Peru, Columbia, Bolivia, Uruguay, Cuba, Jamaica and Surinam briefed the audience on the economic development, resources endowment, investment policies and the operations of Chinese companies in their countries, expressing their welcome to the expansion of trade and investment in their own countries by Chinese companies. They emphasized that Latin American countries still enjoy enormous development potential with an increasingly matured FDI management system and operation environment. The governments of Latin American countries stand ready to offer Chinese enterprises national treatment and expect greater engagement of Chinese companies in infrastructure construction such as highways, railways and ports.

Experts from international organizations such as the Development Bank of Latin America, representatives of enterprises including China Petroleum and Aluminum Corporation of China, Chinese and Latin American scholars and media experts carried out in-depth discussion on the topics of “Opportunities and Challenges Facing Chinese Enterprises Going to Latin America: Cases Study,” “Analysis on the Demand of Investment in the Infrastructure of Latin America,” and “The Social and Cultural Features of Latin America.” The sub-forum on “Investing in Latin America and Corporate Social Responsibility” also attracted many delegates for heated discussion.

Delegates noted that in the past Latin America was always perceived to be a faraway land. But after two days of in-depth discussion, they were deeply impressed by the booming economic and trade cooperation between China and Latin America. Going forward, the friendly exchanges and mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Latin America will continue in spite of the geographical distance, cultural difference and language barriers between the two sides and serve as a prime example for developing countries wanting to pursue cooperation and mutual benefit.

Under such circumstances, Chinese companies going to Latin America is no longer a mere economic activity, but a systematic project that integrates political and cultural exchanges as well as image building. Only by enhancing the awareness and capacity of public diplomacy and respecting the cultural traditions and legal requirements of the host countries can Chinese companies build good corporate images for themselves and in turn create a favorable perception of China. By so doing, they can not only contribute to the local communities through their investment and business, but also serve as cultural ambassadors to facilitate China–Latin America friendship.

This forum was held against a special backdrop: after the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) adopted the Special Statement on Endorsing the Establishment of China and CELAC Forum, both the Chinese side and the Latin American side were actively working for the launch of the China¬–CELAC Forum and the convocation of its first ministerial conference before the end of this year. The Going to Latin America Forum has received extensive support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Commerce, the National Development and Reform Commission of China, China Development Bank, All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, embassies of Latin American countries, Guangdong Provincial Government, Guangzhou Municipal Government, Guangdong Public Diplomacy Association, China Radio International, and China Economic Net, etc.

KINGOLD Group, the organizer of the forum, has hosted a series of high-end international events such as the China Australia Friendship Forum on Economy and Trade and Global Summit of SME Leaders, providing a quality platform for international exchanges between political dignitaries, business leaders, scholars and experts from China and Latin America.