Thursday, September 3, 2009

World Bank discusses investing in Africa with China Investment Fund

BEIJING -- World Bank President Robert Zoellick said he is talking to Chinese government officials about cooperating on investments in Africa, which he said could help boost the continent's economic growth.

Mr. Zoellick told reporters Wednesday during a visit to the Chinese capital that China Investment Corp., the nation's sovereign-wealth fund, has expressed interest in investing in the World Bank's recently launched asset management company, which invests private-sector funds into places like sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.

World Bank President Robert Zoellick
On Wed, stated he will press Group of 20
for more aid to developing countries [WSJ]

"CIC expressed interest in this as a commercial investment vehicle, but obviously there is no decision yet on their part," Mr. Zoellick said. Other sovereign-wealth funds and pension funds are also interested in the new investment vehicle, he said, which manages some $4 billion in funds.

Click here to read J.R. Wu and Andrew Batson's complete article at the WSJ


Brazil, India, South Africa to Broaden "Voice of the South"

RIO DE JANEIRO, Sep 1 (IPS) - The sixth ministerial meeting of the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) forum agreed Tuesday in Brasilia to strengthen the dialogue between the three emerging powers in order to establish common positions on regional and international matters and boost South-South cooperation.

The IBSA forum was created in 2003 as a mechanism for political consultation and coordination and to bolster economic relations between India, Brazil and South Africa.

IBSA provides a platform for the three large multicultural and multiracial democracies from three different continents to engage in discussions on cooperation in areas like agriculture, trade, defence and culture.

The three countries have a total combined population of nearly 1.4 million people and a combined GDP of more than 3.2 trillion dollars.

At their meeting in the Brazilian capital, foreign ministers Celso Amorin of Brazil, S.M. Krishna of India and Maite Nkoana-Mashabane of South Africa said they hoped trade among the three countries would climb from 10 billion dollars last year to 25 billion by 2015.

In a joint statement issued at the end of the meeting, the ministers said the channel of dialogue that has been established should serve to broaden the collective voice of the South. They also called for regional cooperation mechanisms based on common experiences and complementarities.

Click here to read the complete article by Fabiana Frayssinet

[Source] -- Inter Press Service News Agency (IPS)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Newswire: China and friends! From all around the world

"Chinese officials size up long-term potential in Sino-African
economic collaborations" --

Although Sino-African trade had weakened during the global financial
crisis, Chinese and African enterprises could strengthen their
collaboration and emerge from the downturn together, Chinese trade
officials said at a trade fair Wednesday. Huang Xiwen, chief of Jilin
Province's Commerce bureau, said at the 2009 China Africa Economic and
Trade Cooperation Seminar that local enterprises had been vigorously
developing business with African companies. He said 19 local companies
had invested ..

China and France seeking to develop bilateral ties --

"China and France seeking to develop bilateral ties"Vice Premier Wang
Qishan said Wednesday China had always valued its relationship with
France, and said he hoped the two countries could work together to
promote bilateral ties. Wang met Jean-David Levitte, a diplomatic
adviser to French President Nicolas Sarkozy Wednesday. Relations had
developed smoothly on the whole since the two countries forged
diplomatic ties 45 years ago, he said. Wang said he hoped the two
countries could handle the relationship from a strategic and long-term

"China, Laos vow to reinforce friendly ties" --

China and Laos reaffirmed their determination to further advance their
traditional friendly relations as senior leaders of the ruling parties
of the two countries met in Beijing Wednesday. He Guoqiang, member of
the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central
Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), met Sisavath
Keobounphanh, chairman of the Central Committee of the Lao Front for
National Reconstruction. Sisavath Keobounphanh, 81, has visited China
many times over t ...

"Japan-China ties to be further promoted following DPJ takes reins:
senior DPJ official" --

The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Secretary General Katsuya Okada
said Wednesday that the DPJ will continue to advance Japan-China
relations after taking the reins of government. Okada made the remarks
at a symposium to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the
People's Republic of China following the DPJ's landslide victory over
the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in the lower house election
Sunday. "The DPJ has, as always, attached great importance to
Japan-China relations and ...

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

China's Policy Paper on Latin America and the Caribbean - MercoPress Analysis

[Source] -- MercroPress

On November 5, 2008, the Chinese government released a policy paper on Latin America and the Caribbean, as it had previously done so for Europe in 2003 and for Africa in 2006.

Although it may not come as a huge surprise that Latin America is the most recent region for which China has formally spelled out its foreign policy position, the region has been historically perceived as being under the United States’ sphere of influence. Perhaps the importance of the Chinese policy paper lies in the timing of its release. The release of the paper deliberately coincided with the unfolding of the current financial crisis; this congruence of events has allowed China to expand its influence in this somewhat neglected region without attracting any lasting venom from the U.S. China’s policy paper formally evidences the importance of Latin America and the Caribbean as part of China’s growth plan for its long-term strategic interests. Most of all, this includes access to raw materials as well as a plethora of natural resources, the infiltration of new foreign markets, the reduction of diplomatic support for the Republic of Taiwan, and the strengthening of Beijing political standing on the global stage through strong alliances cemented with the developing world.
The policy paper’s general context

The policy paper explicitly states its main objective is to “clarify the goals of China’s policy in this region, outline the guiding principles for future cooperation […] and sustain the sound, steady and all-around growth of China’s relations with Latin America and the Caribbean.” In the economic realm, China expresses an interest in investing in energy, mineral resources, forestry, fishing and agriculture, areas important to expanding China’s productivity. Additionally, the Chinese government seems to show interest in infrastructure projects not directly related to its economy, albeit essential in the transportation of natural resources, and proposes to fund these projects in order to be perceived as a partner in development. Furthermore, China expresses its desire to increase military diplomacy and sale of equipment to the region. Although many of the report’s statements are merely rhetoric and general in scope, the paper helps formalize China’s economic, diplomatic and military ties with Latin America, which were first proposed by then President of China Jiang Zemin in 2001.

The policy paper was released against the backdrop of the current financial crisis and the corresponding economic hardships that have severely hit the U.S. and Europe. Its publication deliberately coincided with the emergency G-20 meeting to discuss the economic crisis that was about to take place in Washington. More importantly, it preceded Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to Peru for the November 2008 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, at which he presented China’s foreign policy towards Latin America. This timing of the paper’s release was especially important for the countries seeking to diversify their export markets and decrease their dependence on declining Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from the US and Europe. With the vast foreign reserves accumulated by China –which totalled US $1.95 trillion in December 2008– the region had valid reasons to closely follow the summit’s developments.

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Newswire: South America

[Brazil] -- Brazil strengthens state control over offshore oil reserves -- Xinhua
Brazil announced on Monday new oil exploration rules to increase state control over its recently discovered offshore oil reserves.

Under the plan, the state-owned oil and gas giant Petrobras will be the sole operator of the new oil reserves. It will also have a minimum 30-percent stake in all future projects in the pre-salt layer fields.

Brazil Tries to Maximize Offshore Oil Bonanza-- Latin America Herald Tribine
Brazilian President Lula revealed the government's plans to make Brazil one of the top 10 oil producers in the world and develop what he believes are the world's 9th largest oil reserves, but his announcement of increased state control and further equity sales shook markets, causing Petrobras to lose $7 billion in value in one day.

Petrobras Loses $7 Billion Value as Lula Seeks Stake -- Bloomberg
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s plans for the development of the country’s offshore oil fields stripped Petroleo Brasileiro SA investors of $7 billion in a day.

The proposal, announced yesterday, may allow the state to boost its stake in the company and ensure most income from oil exploration “stays in the hands of our people,” Lula said at a press conference in Brasilia. Petrobras, as the Rio de Janeiro- based company is known, led the Bovespa stock index to the biggest drop in the Americas yesterday after the announcement.

[Venezuela] -- Chavez Says Venezuela Will Continue Oil Exports to U.S. -- Latin America Herald Tribine
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said that his country will continue exporting oil to the United States because it is in the Andean nation’s interest.

Chavez said in a statement published in the Lima daily El Comercio that “many people don’t know” that Venezuelan state oil giant PDVSA, through its Citgo subsidiary, has seven large refineries and more than 10,000 service stations on U.S. soil.

“Venezuela can’t take a decision against ourselves. We send the oil to our refineries and to our distribution systems in the United States,” he said.

Caracas Stock Market Up 3% for the Week -- Up 41% for the Year -- Latin America Herald Tribine
The Caracas Stock Index rose 3.16% for the week to close at 49,507 mostly on the back on the continued rise of Sivensa shares on continued optimism over the buyback of its shares to be considered at its shareholders meeting next week. Sivensa shares rose sharply, closing at Bs. 16.5 for a 37.5% rise.

[Peru] -- Two Wounded in Rebel Attack, Peruvian TV Reports -- Latin American Herald Tribine
At least two soldiers were wounded in an attack apparently mounted by Shining Path guerrillas Monday against a counterinsurgency base in central Peru’s Junin province, Canal N television reported.

The guerrillas opened fire around 3:30 a.m. on the Jose Olaya base in the strife-torn Valley of the Apurimac and Ene rivers, known as the VRAE region, Canal N said.

[Bolivia] -- Morales Named “World Hero of Mother Earth” by UN General Assembly-- Latin America Herald Tribine
The president of the United Nations General Assembly, Rev. Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann, on Saturday declared Bolivian President Evo Morales as “World Hero of Mother Earth” in a ceremony at the presidential palace in this capital.

With a medal and a parchment scroll, the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization named Morales “the maximum exponent and paradigm of love for Mother Earth” in the resolution for his decoration that was read during the ceremony.

Bolivia Cries Foul Over Peru Plans for Drilling in Titicaca -- Latin America Herald Tribine
Bolivian President Evo Morales’ government will present a formal complaint to Peru over its plans to drill for oil in Lake Titicaca without consulting La Paz, state-run news agency ABI reported.

Hydrocarbons Minister Oscar Coca sent Bolivia’s Foreign Ministry a note requesting that a formal complaint be made since the body of water straddles the border between the two nations, ABI said.

“Since Lake Titicaca is a bi-national area, it’s obvious that there can’t be unilateral actions” and therefore the matter requires a diplomatic solution, Coca said.

[Cuba] -- Cuba endeavors to raise farm output amid economic downturn -- Xinhua
Pressured by a global economic crisis and a stern U.S. economic blockade that has lasted nearly half a century, Cuba is actively seeking ways to boost its agricultural production.

The measures include turning over land close to cities to residents to plow, replacing fuel-burning tractors with oxen, redistributing fallow land and raising the prices of state-regulated farm products.


Monday, August 31, 2009

China Mobile's OPhone debuts in Beijing

Can anyone else catch that intense aroma of bootleg in the air? I don't mean to point fingers at China because hey... all the major mobile company's around the world have made Iphone / smart phones that are comparable to the Iphone.

These phones are China's homegrown challenge to the Iphone which has finally reached a "non-exclusive" agreement with China Unicom, which will be the initial carrier Apple works with in the mainland.

Employees of China Mobile show off different designs of OPhone
handsets at the first-issuing ceremony in Beijing, China, August 31, 2009.
(Xinhua/Yuan Zhou)

(Xinhua/Yuan Zhou)

I say... Let the competition begin. I just wonder if something shady is going going on behind the scenes because China Mobile and China Unicom are more like reflections of one another in terms of their company structure and place in the Chinese economy. Yes, China Mobile is bigger and has far great market share, and yes both company's have separate management and are traded on different tickers on various stock exchanges.

Nonetheless, the government has a heavy hand in both and I wonder how Apple is dealing. A friend of mine who is quite observant and logical once told me

"Government wants two big company's to make illusion of real competition, but read story is two company's mean more important jobs for people with connections and image of fair market."

I personally own shares of China Unicom ADR here in the states. Meaning... despite what people tell me about the real situation with telecoms in China, officially, I buy into the hype.

China Unicom (CHU) -
Year to date performance Aug 31, 2009


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Japan DPJ Election Win Brings ‘Bloodless Revolution’ -- Bloomberg

Aug. 31 (Bloomberg) -- The Democratic Party of Japan swept to power
for the first time as the nation's voters turned their backs on half a
century of single-party government that failed to reverse economic
stagnation and spiraling welfare costs.

The DPJ, led by 62-year-old Yukio Hatoyama, captured at least 306 of
480 lower-house seats, public broadcaster NHK said. Prime Minister
Taro Aso indicated he would resign as head of the Liberal Democratic
Party, which lost almost two-thirds of its lawmakers in a complete
reversal of the last election in 2005.

"This is a bloodless revolution, the first transfer of power from one
party to another in postwar Japan," said Tomoaki Iwai, a political
science professor at Nihon University in Tokyo. "The DPJ now faces the
tough task of delivering on its promises and showing the Japanese
public it can change the system."

Hatoyama, who quit the LDP in 1993, has pledged to revive an economy
emerging from its deepest recession since World War II by boosting
child-care spending, cutting taxes and curtailing the power of
bureaucrats. His grandfather founded the LDP in 1955 and became the
first of that party's 22 prime ministers.

"This election has been all about changing the government," Hatoyama
said in a nationally televised press conference. "Everything starts


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