News

November 5, 2018

China Looks To Latin America To Shore Up Supply

Published on Law360 on November 2, 2018

By Carolina Bolado

Law360, Miami (November 2, 2018, 9:26 PM EDT) Chinese money is expected to flow into Chile and Mexico as the country looks to invest in manufacturing and agricultural development abroad to secure its food supply, according to experts at a Latin America legal conference in Miami on Friday.

At the Akerman LLP-sponsored U.S. Latin America Legal Summit, James Hoffman, managing director of Gunster Strategies Worldwide, said China is looking to facilitate large scale agriculture in Latin America, particularly Chile, to create resiliency in its supply chain of food thanks in part to U.S. tariffs threatening its access to soybeans and other food products.

Chile, because it is in the Southern Hemisphere with the opposite growing season as China, is especially attractive.

“China is making investments in that,” Hoffman said. “[Latin Americans] understand the American jurisdiction and American requirements, and the Chinese have mapped a lot of their requirements on what Americans did.”

And Chinese companies that want to open manufacturing plants in Latin America will likely look to Mexico, which has a well integrated supply chain and trained workers, said Mark Y. Liu of Akerman. Mexico and Brazil are particularly well positioned for Chinese expansion in automobile manufacturing, Hoffman said.

Latin America is an attractive market for Chinese trucks and heavy equipment because these products are half the price of those that are compliant with stringent U.S. or European environmental requirements, but are almost as good in terms of quality, Hoffman said.

The investment push is part of the Chinese government’s One Belt, One Road development strategy of funding infrastructure and other investments in countries along several land and maritime trading corridors like the Silk Road. The plan, Hoffman said, is the “first step of a global resilient economy initiative.”

He added that one of the routes Americans don’t often discuss is the maritime one to Latin America.

“The west coast of the Americas is part of what they see as the silk road,” Hoffman said. “The galleons used to go from Manila to Mexico and South America. In the Chinese mind, working with Chile for agricultural purposes is rational.”

Bill Liao, the head of the ASEAN and China Services Desk at BDO USA LLP, said the Chinese government regularly sets out strategic five year plans that focus on certain investments that will drive the economy. Before, Chinese money went into real estate, hotels and sports clubs, but the government is now discouraging those types of investments and pushing instead funding biotech and life sciences companies, construction, and infrastructure, he said.

The top-down directives from the government are typical for Chinese companies, both private and state owned, according to Hoffman, who suggested to the attorneys gathered that, before they work with a state-owned company, they make sure its investment plan was blessed by the government.

Liao added that cultural differences may have to be taken into account when working on a deal with Chinese investors.

“Westerners will say we’re spending too much time walking around or doing karaoke, but they want to develop a relationship with you,” he said. “It’s very relationship driven. You have to understand that type of very different culture.”

He also said people in China work long hours and have expectations that if they send a request or a question, they should have a response within 12 to 24 hours.

“Sometimes it’s very difficult for people in the U.S. and other countries to accommodate,” he said.

—Editing by Adam LoBelia.

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August 22, 2018

Gunster Strategies Worldwide Partners with Chapman University on Internship Program

August 22, 2018 (Washington, D.C. and Orange, Calif.) – Gunster Strategies Worldwide, the award-winning public affairs firm specializing in issue advocacy, has created a partnership with Chapman University to establish an internship and mentorship program designed to meaningfully connect and immerse Chapman students with real-world, hands-on experience, working closely with Gunster Strategies staff members on a selection of campaigns.

“Chapman’s goal to make students’ education personal, relevant, and engaged in the larger world is perfectly aligned with Gunster Strategies’ goal of providing world-class issue advocacy to the groups with which we work,” Gunster Strategies President Jonathan Stember said. “We look forward to being part of a talent development pipeline between Chapman and the wider ecosystem of public affairs and contributions to regional and global issue advocacy.”

The university has matched more than a half-dozen students and recent Chapman graduates as potential fits for this new internship partnership, with final decisions being made in time for students to begin contributing starting with the fall semester of the 2018-2019 school year.

“At Chapman, we pride ourselves on preparing students to hit the ground running after graduation,” Chapman University President Daniele Struppa said. “Our partnership with Gunster Strategies opens up a new world of opportunity for our students to get invaluable hands-on professional experience.”

About Gunster Strategies Worldwide

Gunster Strategies is an award-winning public affairs firm that is committed to delivering winning strategies for corporate responsibility, state, federal, and international advocacy campaigns. Gunster Strategies Worldwide represents U.S. and internationally based clients. The firm’s lineup of senior executives includes seasoned staffers and an in-house creative department. Gunster Strategies is headquartered in Washington, DC, with offices in London and Cairo.

About Chapman University

As an academically distinguished center of learning, Chapman University attracts extraordinary students and faculty from around the globe. Its ten schools and colleges foster a vibrant intellectual community, and provide extensive opportunities for students to learn, grow and discover alongside remarkable faculty. The University is home to some 8,000 students pursuing bachelor, master and doctoral degrees, and is alma mater to more than 40,000 alumni found throughout the United States and the world. Now celebrating its 158th year, Chapman is known for its distinguishing strengths in leadership and civic engagement, in the arts and entertainment disciplines, and in specialized sectors of technology and science. The University is comprised of its main campus in Orange, California, and the Rinker Health Science campus for graduate health science programs in Irvine, California. Visit us at www.chapman.edu.

Contact Information:

Kelsey Dentinger

(202) 293 – 5870

[email protected]

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