3,000 business meetings were held at the China-LAC Business Summit
The main goal of the 10th China-LAC Business Summit, recently organized by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), was to support Latin American and Caribbean small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with expanding their trade ties with China. Through these forums, the Bank has over the years enabled thousands of SMEs to penetrate the Chinese market, promoting knowledge exchange and business making.
Trade between China and the region amounts to $250 billion and has grown nine times in the last decade. China is the second largest trading partner in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), according to an IDB study and the Chinese demand for the region’s products is expected grow in the medium and long-term.
The President of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay Tabaré Vazquez, the Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao, the CEO of the Inter-American Investment Corporation of the IDB Group James Scriven, and other senior Chinese government officials joined in the opening ceremony. It is the first time that a head of state participates in this meeting.
"The IDB Group is a gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean. We have the expertise and local presence, and we have a track record of success, including with channeling resources from China effectively", said Scriven during his speech.
Since the first summit in 2010, the IDB has organized more than 10,000 business to business (B2B) meetings between Chinese and Latin American companies. More than 3,000 bilateral business meetings took place in this latest edition of the event held in Tangshan, in the North West part of the country. LAC employers also had a chance to meet with each other and explore opportunities to join forces and access new markets.
"China is a very attractive market, but it is expensive to travel here and a SME like mine has many barriers such as language and culture. The IDB allows us to establish first level contacts that, in other circumstances, would never happen", said Dario Pisani, at the Argentine Trade Facilitation Group.
"The more than 3,000 bilateral business meetings, organized in sectors as diverse as software, fish exports and renewable energy, reflect the enormous potential in terms of product diversification, markets and businesses in our region’s trade with the Asian giant", said Fabrizio Opertti, Chief of the Bank’s Trade and Investment Division.
Renewable energy and infrastructure were the highlights of the agenda. China is the largest investor in renewable energy, responsible for more than 60 percent of total investments in the energy sector. And, at the same time, China is also the world leader in infrastructure and its companies consider investing in LAC a priority.
Chinese companies, such as Envision, led by Mexican entrepreneur Rafael Valdéz in LAC, have been investing consistently in the region, especially in high impact renewable energy projects that can contribute to sustainable development.
The IDB channels its support to SMEs through ConnectAmericas, the first business social network of the Americas, a project led by the Bank’s Trade and Investment Division.
The next edition of the summit will be held in November 2017, in Punta del Este, Uruguay. A high turnout of Chinese entrepreneurs is expected and the IDB will continue to support the region to strengthen trade and investment with China.
The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance and training to public and private sector clients throughout the region.
- Ángela Fúnez