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China and Latin America promoting cooperation and exchange to achieve a win-win situation 2015-6-11 14:13

- HKND Group attended the First China-CELAC Infrastructure Cooperation Forum

On June 5, 2015, the sixth International Infrastructure Investment and Construction Forum and the first China-CELAC Infrastructure Cooperation Forum successfully conducted in Macau, China. HKND was present at this event of international significance.

Zhang Xiangchen, Deputy China International Trade Representative, keynote in the opening speech that there are broad prospects for further cooperation between China and Latin American countries, especially in the field of infrastructure construction. “Latin American countries are launching a new wave of infrastructure construction. Improving South America cross-border interconnection has become a common goal of the region”, he said.

Huge business opportunities lie in Latin America’s infrastructure market

In January, 2015, the first ministerial meeting of the China-Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Cooperation Forum was held in Beijing. During the meeting, China proposed to establish the China-CELAC Infrastructure Cooperation Forum. The two-day forum was jointly hosted by the China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), China International Contractors Association (CHINCA) and Macau Economic Services (MES). 

The China-CELAC Infrastructure Cooperation Forum is held annually in Macau in parallel with the International Infrastructure Investment and Construction Forum organized by MOFCOM. 

“The Chinese government focuses on developing  mutually-beneficial economic and trade ties with Latin American and Caribbean states”, Zhang Xiangchen emphasized, “After President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Latin America in July, 2014, Premier Li Keqiang made an official visit to the region again in May this year. During the visits, Chinese leaders introduced a number of important measures and initiatives aiming to reinforce pragmatic cooperation between China and Latin America”.  

“China has cost-effective equipment and technology while Latin America needs infrastructure construction and industrial upgrading”, Premier Li Keqiang said in his speech in the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), in Santiago, Chile on May 25, 2015, “It is the right time for the Sino-Latin American production capacity cooperation”. 

“There is a strong demand for funding in Latin America’s infrastructure construction programs, particularly in key areas such as transportation and energy.” Hans Schulz, Vice President of Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) explained in the CEO Summit of APEC held in Beijing in November, 2014. 

Schulz said: “In the Latin America and Caribbean region, infrastructure investment only took up 2.5% of GDP, while it would require a 5% to stay competitive. This investment gap represents an enormous business opportunity at a valuation of 170 billion USD each year. ”

Paul Oquist, representative of the Nicaragua delegation, delivered a speech about the Grand Canal project in the First China-CELAC Infrastructure Cooperation Forum.
Photograph: HKND Group

“The world needs a larger canal”

The Nicaragua delegation, led by Dr. Paul Oquist, Private Secretary for National Policies to Presidency of Nicaragua and Executive Secretary of the Nicaragua Canal and Development Project Commission, also participated in the forum upon an invitation by the organizing committee. During the opening ceremony, Paul Oquist, head of the Nicaragua delegation, inaugurated the forum together with ministers from other countries and regions. 

During the “Presentation of Infrastructure Plans & Projects in CELAC Countries”, a parallel panel of the First China-CELAC Infrastructure Cooperation Forum, delegates from Nicaragua were invited to give a detailed presentation on the Nicaragua Canal Project. 

In front of an audience of government delegates and business representatives from all over the world, Dr. Paul Oquist introduced the social-economic status-quo, public safety, human development and foreign investment climate in Nicaragua with an emphasis on the remarkable Nicaragua Canal Project.

According to Paul Oquist, Nicaragua has been enjoying the lowest cost of living in Latin America and the Caribbean region, while its public safety ranks the first in the region, which is also recognized by the United Nation Development Program (UNDP). In the Human Development Report 2013-2014 published by UNDP, Nicaragua stood out as a role model for Central America and the world; thanks to its excellent public security system. “A secure social environment is crucial in attracting investment and developing tourism”, Paul added. 

Paul mentioned that Nicaragua has a unique geographic location. “The macro strategy of the mega project is to build an international trade and communication waterway, transforming Nicaragua into a multimodal logistic center for the regional, global trade and vital business hub for Central and Latin America.” Apart from serving as the Private Secretary of Public Policies of the Presidency, Paul Oquist is also the Executive Secretary of the Nicaraguan Canal and Development Project Commission.

In his 70-minute long presentation, Paul pointed out that based on the development of maritime industry, it is clear that the market will be dominated by larger vessels in the future. Connecting the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, the Grand Canal of Nicaragua is able to accommodate the largest vessels in the world of today. “It is expected that the Grand Canal will capture over 5% of global maritime trade. In other words, the world needs a larger canal”, Paul concluded.

Summarizing his presentation, Paul assured the audience that the Canal Project will bring positive multiplier effects to Nicaragua’s economic, social and environmental development. “The Canal project will lead Nicaragua and its people to shake off extreme poverty, increase ecosystems resilience, gain economic independence and eventually achieve a prosperous and fairer Nicaragua.”

On the sideline of the forum, representatives from HKND and its partners met with Nicaragua delegates and exchanged views on the Canal Project progress. 


HKND management met with Nicaragua delegates in the forum
Photograph: HKND Group