1. 2020 is a fateful year. All countries are facing grave circumstances that are affecting the international economy as a consequence of the Covid-19 Pandemic. I will not be the only one to point out that the projections of the fall in global GDP would be -4.5% by 2020.
Latin American economies reached the pandemic, with the exception of a few cases, after half a decade of minimal growth. In the first quarter of 2020, GDP was already negative in nine out of twenty Latin American countries as a result of low external demand, with China in the midst of the crisis at the time.
During the first half of the year and part of the second, the pandemic restrictions, with the consequent partial or total paralysis of the production of goods and services, only aggravated that negative figure. In addition, household spending deteriorated as a result of the mandatory confinement imposed by the authorities in many countries, and household inflows fell resulting from the loss of sources of work.
In parallel, Latin America has suffered a significant deterioration in its prospects abroad, both due to falling commodity prices – which remains its main source of foreign exchange – and because of the crisis in its main commercial partners.
According to the United Nations, food and metal exporting economies will be less affected, and the good news is that unlike other major recessions in the past, the economic slump is not yet producing a domino effect on banks. The financial crisis seems, for now, to be ruled out. Inflation is also under control except in a couple of countries that have been dragging their own inflationary dynamics long before Covid-19 began to sound in the media.
3. This second half of 2020, the international economy experienced a slight uptick as a result of the relaxation of strict containment measures and confinement in the peak months of Covid-19 in many countries and the consequent economic revival.
We hope that if there is a resurgence of the pandemic in the coming months, this slight recovery will not be affected in the eventuality of the implementation of new restrictive measures.
At global level the economic growth is expected to reach 5% by 2021. However, all this is still uncertain and depends on the evolution of the pandemic and the availability of a vaccine.
According to a last analysis of the Focus Economics Consensus Forecast LatinFocus, the projected growth of GDP in Latin America will increase, on average, 4.1% in 2021, 2.9% in 2022 and 2.8% in 2023.
4. We must now work on building confidence for recovery.
To do this, countries are adjusting strategies for economic reactivation, flexibility in fiscal and financial support policies, employment, and strengthening the health sectors, among others.
The objectives and priorities set out are to continue efforts to contain the pandemic and mitigate its impacts, to support individuals and businesses to overcome the consequences of the pandemic, restore the economy and return to normal in the region.
5. I thank ALABC for the digital meetings it holds, which prove that it is possible to realise economic connectivity, create a productive and business environment, and take advantage of new opportunities.
I also thank those who have preceded me in the floor for giving impulse to the Australia-Latin American relationship, and for agreeing that it is important to respond to the immediate impact of the pandemic by keeping goods and services markets and investment open, and supporting the central role of trade in the economic recovery.
Thanks, ALABC for working on new initiatives in the context of the economic recovery.
Thanks, Australia, for remind us that is a global and moral responsibility, that the vaccine must be share far and wide, safe, available to all, and affordable to all.
Thank you all of you again, and now I have the honour to give the floor to our esteem Minister of Trade, Tourism, and Investment, Senator the Honourable Simon Birmingham.
Latin America is ready to answer your calls, dear Minister.
On Oct. 25, Chileans will vote to reject or approve the start of creating a new constitution. The citizens of more countries should do the same. The country’s current Constitution, written under the authoritarian rule of the dictator Augusto Pinochet, has protected conservative interests and the military and has suppressed political dissent for 40 years.
Chile’s struggle with its authoritarian past is not unique. Countries with recent democracies like Myanmar, South Korea and Turkey have operated under authoritarian constitutions for years or even decades. My research indicates that more than two-thirds of political transitions to democracy since World War II — in more than 50 countries — occurred under constitutions written by the outgoing authoritarian regime. In some countries like Argentina that have flip-flopped between democracy and dictatorship multiple times, several democratic transitions have been guided by authoritarian-penned constitutions.
Persistent authoritarian influence under democracy is a recipe for inequality and democratic discontent. Democracies with authoritarian-era constitutions have weak political accountability and not enough citizen involvement in forming policies. And their political systems favor elites tied to the former regime rather than common citizens.
Inequality in Chile is at similar levels to the Pinochet era, while influence peddling by the wealthy — some of whom gained their fortunes through connections with Mr. Pinochet and insider privatizations — is pervasive.
Read full article here: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/19/opinion/chile-constitution-referendum-protests.html
A water molecule is composed of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. Through a chemical process known as electrolysis, the hydrogen atom can be separated from the water molecule and used as fuel. When this process is fed by renewable energy, it produces what is known as green hydrogen — a clean, zero-emission fuel that is environmentally friendly.
Chile has great potential for developing green hydrogen thanks to our country’s increasingly renewable energy matrix. This matrix is the result of Chile’s tremendous natural resources for generating solar and wind power, such as the Atacama Desert in the north and the winds blowing along our thousands of kilometers of coastline.
Green hydrogen, also known as the “fuel of the future”, will play a fundamental role in achieving Chile’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. Estimates suggest this power source could mitigate carbon dioxide emissions by between 17% and 27% by that date and will help us reduce our dependence on fossil fuels like oil and gas.
According to the Energy Ministry, the domestic green hydrogen industry could become a new hub of progress for Chile, similar to today’s copper industry. Currently, the government is working on a National Green Hydrogen Strategy, to be presented in November. Once unveiled, Chile will join the small group of countries with a road map on this topic, which is key for sustainable economic development and environmental protection.
Read the full article here: https://marcachile.cl/en/chiles-enormous-potential-for-developing-green-hydrogen/
Under the Global Talent Program, highly skilled Latin Americans have made Australia their home, and are advancing their careers and supporting critical Australian business sectors. While the closure of our international borders has been critical to our success in slowing the spread of COVID-19, the Department of Home Affairs is prioritising the processing of visas under the Global Talent Program.
Launched in November 2019, the Global Talent Program offers a streamlined, priority visa pathway for highly skilled and talented individuals to work and live permanently in Australia. Target sectors include: AgTech; Space and Advanced Manufacturing; FinTech; Energy and Mining Technology; MedTech; Cyber Security; and Quantum Information, Advanced Digital, Data Science and ICT.
Juan Reyes Lega and Margarita Torres are internationally recognised entrepreneurs, and were recently granted visas to live and work in Australia.
“We feel very honoured for being part of the Global Talent program. It has been a great achievement for our company and for our personal careers as well. Our aim is to continue producing creative and unique digital content while supporting the development Australian digital games ecosystem. This will be possible thanks to the Global Talent program which was incredibly fast and whose officers were extremely supportive during our application process.” - Juan Reyes Lega and Margarita Torres, Colombia.
To support interested businesses and candidates, the Department also has a dedicated Global Talent Officer for the Americas region.
The Global Talent Program is available to those who are offshore and seeking migration to Australia, as well as many of those who are already onshore and are enthusiastic about continuing their stay in Australia to further grow their industry experience here. Successful candidates can bring their immediate family with them. There are also no State or Territory planning levels, and no age limit.
Candidates should have the ability to attract a salary at or above the Fair Work Commission’s high income threshold, which is currently AUD153,600. This includes current work, employment offers and Australian labour market research. Candidates’ talent credentials will need to be proven via a simple nomination process. Standard health, character and security checks also apply.
For more information, interested businesses and candidates can contact the Global Talent Officer for the Americas region. Once candidates are ready to formally test their eligibility, they should submit an Expression of Interest via the Department’s website.
According to PwC’s Mine 2020 report (covering the top 40 global miners by market capitalisation) released in June, in some respects, the mining sector is well-situated to recover from the impact of COVID-19. For example, despite uncertainty regarding Brazil’s ability to continue mining in some areas, iron ore prices have risen, potentially limiting the total impact on the sector. Disruption in mining operations has also occurred in Chile and Peru. However, mining companies in general have strong finances and are mostly still operational, albeit with increased levels of precautionary controls.
The pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities of the approach of driving down the cost of mining, (as has a focus on hyper-efficiency, lean principles and just-in-time techniques). At least for their most critical supply chains, companies may need to consider an alternative approach: improved inventory management combined with globally diversified or locally sourced and financially viable resources. This would not only de-risk mining companies against a similarly disruptive event but also help develop and build resilience in local communities. Many are already doing it; Anglo American, and BHP, among others, have announced initiatives to increase support for their domestic suppliers as a result of the pandemic.
Read PwC’s Mine 2020 report at:
Since the first releases of Wolbachia-carrying mosquitoes in Queensland, Australia in 2011, the World Mosquito Program (WMP) has been working to implement its method to eliminate mosquito-borne diseases in places at risk all over the world.
A major arm of the operation is situated in the Americas – with active projects running in Mexico, Colombia and Brazil. While the global pandemic has temporarily delayed the opening of WMP’s third hub-office in Panama, projects in these three countries remain key pillars for the organisation’s ambitions to protect 100 million people globally within the next five years. “We remain committed to sustainable growth – plain and simple,” says WMP Regional Director Janina Khayali. “If we succeed with national roll out in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico alone, we will have achieved the Americas portion of this goal, but our eyes are always on the horizon to achieve far beyond that.” WMP began working in Brazil in 2012. In Rio de Janeiro and Niterói, Wolbachia-carrying mosquitoes have been released in an area covering a population of around 1.3 million people. While data from the releases continues to be analyzed, plans are ramping up to roll out projects in Belo Horizonte and Campo Grande. In Colombia, releases have taken place in Bello and Medellin, protecting over 2.5 million people. The cities of Cali and other municipalities within the Valle de Cauca are next in line. While in Mexico, the project will re-establish city-wide releases across La Paz later this year with national roll-out in motion.
The program paused releases of mosquitoes in communities due to the pandemic in order to help keep staff and communities safe. With a growing body of evidence to support the success of the method, the focus for the program has shifted to the question of how to scale – how it can protect as many people as possible quickly, efficiently and cost effectively. The recent spread of the novel CoronaVirus together with alarming numbers of dengue cases have provided a grim reminder of the impossible task of controlling multiple outbreaks simultaneously.
Progress is positive in the three countries mentioned above, but there are plenty of other countries, cities and communities in which diseases spread by Aedes aegypti is a common and debilitating threat. Khayali names Peru, Paraguay, El Salvador and the Virgin Islands as places where discussions have begun. But as long as diseases like dengue, Mayaro Zika and chikungunya continue to surface, there will be keen interest in getting things rolling across the entire continent. “Our model is designed to build the capacity in communities so they can protect themselves from mosquito-borne disease. This requires building trust and developing strong relationships across the region. If we can achieve this, we’ll be one step closer to a world free from the devastating health and economic burdens these diseases continue to inflict.” The World Mosquito program is very interested in building strong partnership and building support for its work so more people can be protected.
If you are interested in learning more or supporting the World Mosquito Program’s work please contact Enrica Longo, Director External Relations.
Enrica works with the global team from Vietnam.
The Embassy of Panama in Australia and Pro Panama invites businesspeople to attend Panama’s first virtual, multi-sectorial, international trade exhibition. This virtual exhibition will provide a chance to see the products and services that participating companies have to offer in the areas of: ·
Coffee – Cocoa - Chocolate
Seafood – Aquaculture - Meat Products
Over the five days, there will be two conferences held per day with the first beginning at 9:00 am GMT –5 and the second at 2:00 pm GMT -5.
Benefits for visitors
1. Without complex registration processes.
2. Secure and immediate access.
3. Compatible with all mobile devices.
4. Availability 24 hours.
5. No congestion, no lines.
6. No visual or auditory contamination.
ExpoVirtual is a virtual international business platform that will help us to improve trade and the economic development of Panama, the region and the world. Join us at the 1st ExpoVirtual and take advantage of all the great business opportunities that it will provide.
The schedule of conferences is as follows:
The competitiveness of export SMEs in the new business context. Hosted by Diego Frediani – General Manager, Red Globlal de Exportaciones How to do business with Canada? Hosted by Marysabel González – Project Manager, Latin America and the Caribbean / Trade Support Services TFO – Canada.
How to do business with Australia?
Hosted by Marcelo Salas – Chief Executive Officer, Australia-Latin America Business Council (ALABC). How to do business with Israel (FTA)? Hosted by Salvador Aviad Cattan – Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture Panama – Israel; Roberto Spindel – President Israel - Latin American Chamber of Commerce.
Wednesday 8th Technology:
Blockchain for exporting business.
Hosted by David Proenza – CEO de Foodchain. E-commerce to boost your business exports. Hosted by Raquel García – Assistant Vice President of E-commerce – Credicorp Bank, CAPATEC’s President.
Market value chains and its benefits. Hosted by Eduardo Espinoza – Director of the Centre for Studies on Economic Integration – SIECA. The new productivity, a decision not an option for the export sector. Hosted by Alex Atencio – CEO of iaConcepts.
Creative Industries, an alternative for development. Hosted by Leda Peralta – Economic Affairs Officer (ECLAC). The fashion industry as a development motor. Hosted by Samantha Tams – Co-founder Latam Fashion Summit – LAFS.
People, who are interested in attending, can use this link to register:
contact our diplomatic mission in Canberra:
Phone: +61 61346737
Address : Suite 2, level 2, 99 Northbourne Avenue, Turner, ACT 2612, Canberra, Australia.
Social Media: @embpanamaaustralia
PDF Annual Report 2020.pdf
On May 13, the Inter-American Dialogue hosted the online webinar “Innovation and Technology in Latin America’s Post-Pandemic Recovery” with the participation of Carmen Pagés-Serra, Chief of the Labor Markets and Social Security Unit at the Inter-American Development Bank, Andrés Cadena, Senior Partner at McKinsey & Co., Ángel Melguizo, Vice President, External & Regulatory Affairs at AT&T DirecTV Latin America, and Victor Muñoz, National Innovation and Digital Transformation Advisor at the Colombian Presidency. The session was moderated by Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue.
Muñoz began by emphasizing the necessity and importance of telework, telemedicine, and tele-education. While the present situation has forced many companies to quickly adjust in order to survive, the resulting shift to digital platforms also provides access to new forms of learning for people all over the world. As an advisor to the Colombian president, Muñoz and his team have been working on a digital transformation strategy for the last two years, including the creation of a center in Medellín focused on artificial intelligence. With the pandemic, new instruments have emerged from his department such as the “Coronapp” which allows citizens to receive daily information from the government without consuming data. Muñoz identified Colombia’s main challenge to be connectivity, and he intends to work to increase access in vulnerable areas in the next two years. He ended his remarks on a hopeful tone: while the job market will be very different after the pandemic, it will also present an opportunity to reinvent a new world supported by technology and innovation.
Mauricio Montalvo is currently the Ambassador of Ecuador to Australia.
Ambassador Montalvo is a senior career diplomat with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He entered to the Ecuadorian Foreign Service as Third Secretary in 1982 and continued his career in different posts locally and oversees. He was promoted to the rank of Ambassador in 2005.
He has served overseas as Ambassador, Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva (2006-2011), Deputy Head of Mission at the Permanent Delegation to UNESCO in Paris (1996-2001), First Secretary at the Permanent Mission to United Nations in New York (1990-1992) and Second Secretary at the Permanent Mission to OAS in Washington DC (1987-1989).
At the Ministry, he was most recently Under-Secretary for International Cooperation (2018-2019), Under-Secretary for Multilateral Affairs (2011-2014) and Under-Secretary for International Organizations (2005-2006). Previously and during several years he served as Coordinator, Director General, Spokesperson and Diplomatic Officer.
Australia-Latin America Business Council
Suite 14.02 Level 14,
14 Martin Place
Sydney, NSW 2000
Copyright © 2020 The Australia-Latin America Business Council