BEIJING – The Institute of the Americas and Institute of Latin American Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences held the fifth annual Beijing conference on China and Latin America, titled “Investing in Latin America: Opportunities and Lessons Learned.”
The Oct. 16, 2014, conference, sponsored by The Development Bank of Latin America (CAF), Vera & Asociados and Mexico’s Grupo Bimbo, drew an audience of more than 200 participants, including Latin American ambassadors to China, former Chinese ambassadors to Latin America, business executives, government officials from China, Latin America and the U.S., and researchers and journalists from around the world.
The conference focused on investment opportunities in Latin America’s major economic sectors, including infrastructure, energy and manufacturing, as well as a discussion of corporate social responsibility and business practices in Latin America.
Shen Zhiliang, Director General of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs in the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, addressed the diversification of energy cooperation between China and Latin America, from traditional energy sources to renewable sources such as wind and solar. Ambassador of Chile to China Jorge Heine noted that Chile is an excellent market for renewable energy investment, thanks to its sunny deserts and windy shores.
Hamilton Moss, CAF Vice President of Energy, stressed the institutional cooperation between China and Latin America to achieve energy security and reasonably low energy prices. And former Vice President of China Development Bank (CDB) Liu
Kegu expressed optimism for bringing together Chinese capital and Latin American energy resources.
Alberto Limas, Deputy Secretary at the Embassy of Mexico in China, stated that the Mexico-China relationship is in its best moment in history, and said the two countries are working on the strategic framework established by President Xi and President Peña Nieto.
Attorney Cristina Hernandez, from the Mexico City-based law firm Vera & Asociados, spoke about Mexico’s energy reform and the far-reaching social impact of the reform.
During an afternoon panel that focused on corporate social responsibility, Ambassador of Peru to China Juan Carlos Capuñay said social responsibility should be shared by governments and by corporations in order to help develop local communities.
Former Ambassador of Costa Rica to China Marco Ruiz said organizations and agencies that promote outbound investment should prepare investors before they go abroad because their behaviors impact the country’s national image in the countries in which they are investing.
Professor Wu Guoping, dean of the Institute of Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Southwest University of Science and Technology in Mianyang, China, urged Chinese companies to differentiate between each Latin American country and respect each country’s unique business culture.
Representatives of several Chinese companies with investments in Latin America, including the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and Sinohydro, spoke about their practices concerning corporate social responsibility.
Huang Jin from Sinohydro suggested that Chinese companies in Latin America improve their relations with the local media as a means of communicating with the local community. CNPC requires all of its overseas project companies to establish a public relations department and hire professional staff.
Sun Hongbo, a research scholar at the Institute of Latin American Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, stressed the importance of Chinese companies strengthening their public relations and communications strategy in Latin America.