Uruguay hosted the largest ChinaLac Summit


Punta del Este received the XI ChinaLac summit, the edition with the largest number of attendees so far in Latin America.

The 11th China LAC 2017 Business Summit, held at the Punta del Este Convention Center from November 30th to December 2nd, brought together about 2,400 foreign and domestic businessmen, trade organizations, authorities and media from China, Latin America and the Caribbean.

This edition is the one that has reached the highest number of attendees since the creation of this trade and cooperation space that takes place every year in China and Latin America. China-LAC is promoted by the Chinese Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and this time it was organized by the country image, trade and investment promotion agency, Uruguay XXI.

More than 600 participants arrived from the People's Republic of China, 830 from Latin American and Caribbean countries, and 760 Uruguayan entrepreneurs joined the event together with many media partners from the region and China who covered the event on site.


About the Global Export Services industry

In recent years, the global tendency to globalize business and IT services has become an industry that is growing by leaps and bounds, and Uruguay has been able to capitalize on its advantages to attract this type of investment. Hundreds of companies have chosen Uruguay as a destination for their Corporate Services Centers, technological development and research centers, leveraged by a favorable business environment. The country offers a robust and top-level infrastructure, together with a supply of highly trained talent that attract companies that develop high value-added services.

During the ChinaLac 2017 summit, the Global Services panel was integrated by Orlando Dovat, President of Zonamerica; Ma Yongxia, Vice President of the Hainan Provincial Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference; Alex Chen, Director of Global Delivery Model of PWC; Gu Tao, Vice President of International Business of Beijing DiDi Infinity Technology and Development; Tomas Robertson, Manager of COFCO Services; Daniel WANG, Vice President for Latin America of Huawei Technologies and hosted by Fabrizio Oppertti, Head of the Trade and Investment Division of the Inter-American Development Bank.

The panelists discussed the new challenges that the services industry is facing when it comes to opening new markets. Orlando Dovat, referring to the new business platform of Zonamerica recently opened in Foshan, China, explained the "importance of reducing the gap that separates markets and cultures, in order to facilitate the generation of business."

In the face of this dynamic industry, Uruguay has known how to become a highly competitive player. According to Alex Chen, Director of Global Delivery Model of PWC, to whom a team of professionals in Uruguay who provide services to PWC US report, "the competitiveness of the country relies on qualified talent of great value". Similarly, Tomas Robertson, Manager of COFCO Services emphasized some tools that Uruguay XXI, the trade and investment promotion agency, implements to strengthen its talent, such as Smart Talent.

When e-commerce changed the modern history

Another topic discussed during the summit dealt with electronic commerce. This panel was integrated by high profiled participants, including Pablo Ferreri, Undersecretary of Economy and Finance of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay; Sergio Fogel, Director / Co-founder of Astropay; Carlos Cernadas, Head of Cross Border Trade at Mercado Libre; Wang Lei, General Manager of CCIC Traceability (South America); Benjamin M. Ghalmi, Vice President of Foreign Markets Jumore E-Commerce Co., Ltd; and it was hosted by Gabriel Rozman, President Chamber of Commerce Uruguay-China.

New technologies, digitization of new generations and financial inclusion stood out among the panelists. Pablo Ferreri opened the panel, referring to "e-commerce in Uruguay boosted its economy to be more efficient and socially inclusive." He highlighted that "Uruguay is the number one software exporter in Latin America, which has made the country one of the most competitive in the global services industry.”

In turn, Carlos Cernadas commented that "we see a world of opportunities and our growth happened, in part, thanks to the context of the region." In addition, the panel highlighted the importance of e-commerce to promote business and trade among SMEs from both regions: China and Latin America. According to the panelists, "this trend will certainly keep shaping relations from both regions."


Recapping on the biggest summit of ChinaLac

Uruguay’s President, Tabaré Vázquez, was the keynote speaker at the official opening, led by Antonio Carámbula, executive director of Uruguay XXI, on behalf of the organizers of the event. Vazquez valued the confidence placed in Uruguay as the host country and pointed out that "China plays a central role in the future of the region that is not defined yet, and we shall all work towards it.” 

On the other side, the vice president of the Chinese People's Consultative Conference, Ma Peihua addressed the importance of the growth of trade between China and Uruguay that "has grown by 28% in the last year" and invited entrepreneurs to expand their business with the Asian country: "We want to strengthen the synergy between the companies of China and Latin America and the Caribbean, the remoteness cannot prevent the exchange," he said.

China represents the second largest economy in the world with a growing importance worldwide that is explained, among other reasons, by having the highest rate of GDP growth in the last two decades (about 10% annual average). Specifically, the Chinese economy represented 15% of global GDP in 2016.

The Asian country is investing more and more in the region. Latin America and the Caribbean is the second region that receives more Foreign Direct Investment from China with 14% of the total.

China is Uruguay's main trading partner. In 2016, trade between both countries represented 20% of the total flow of international goods traded by Uruguay, with an exchange of approximately US $ 3,373 million. Likewise, in the first nine months of 2017, the commercial exchange between both countries grew 19% year-on-year, totaling US $ 3,250 million. In the last decade, Uruguayan exports to the Asian country increased 22% in annual average.

At the summit there where around 140 stands and exhibitions spaces representing 40 countries. The agenda also offered pre-booked B2B meetings, private meetings and on Saturday afternoon, 200 foreign entrepreneurs participated in technical visits focused on agribusiness - Garzón Winery and Olive Groves – and logistics, business and IT services - Zonamerica Free trade Zone and Antel's DataCenter.

During the China LAC celebration, the Trade Promotion Organizations (TPO) meeting was also held among 30 promotion agencies and trade organizations from 16 countries in China and Latin America and the Caribbean, which culminated in the signing of the Declaration of Punta del Este, as well as bilateral agreements of cooperation between agencies.

In 2018, Uruguay is looking forward to celebrating 30th anniversary of Uruguayan and Chinese diplomatic relations and will be holding a series of events in both countries.