Latin America welcomes Asian Investment and the HKIAC

28 Aug 2013

HomeNewsLatin America welcomes Asian Investment and the HKIAC
28 Aug 2013
General News

Latin America and Asia trade relations
It has been reported widely that trade between Latin America and Asia has increased significantly over the last decade.  Reports have shown that trade between the two regions had grown at an annual rate of 20.5% since 2000 and that Asia-Pacific and Latin American trade reached US$442 billion in 2011.

Asian countries, such as Japan, have been present in Latin America for decades and continue to be important investors and trading partners.  However, the arrival of Chinese investment into Latin America over the last decade has been one of the most important driving forces behind the surge in trade and investment between the two regions.  For many Latin American countries, China is now the most important trade and investment partner.  In recent years, China has replaced the US as Brazil’s principal trading partner and China-Latin America trade surpassed US$250bn in 2012.

HKIAC presence in Latin America - ‘HKIAC in the Americas’
Having followed the strong economic indicators that demonstrate the commercial relationship between Latin America and Asia, particularly China, will continue to grow, and grow strongly, the HKIAC decided that it was the right time to launch the ‘HKIAC in the Americas’ initiative and introduce its services to Latin America.

The HKIAC’s purpose is to encourage a dialogue on commercial dispute resolution between the Latin American and Asian communities and to make parties of aware of dispute resolution options that may not have been relevant or viable before.  The goal is to support the deepening commercial relationship by discussing ways to effectively manage the risks associated with trade between the two regions and to raise awareness of Hong Kong and HKIAC as a suitable venue for dispute resolution between Latin American and Asian parties.

The programme is being led by a HKIAC consultant based in Latin America and involves learning from local practitioners and organising seminars bringing together lawyers with Asia-related experience to share their insights and experiences with the Latin American legal and business community. 

Over the last six months the HKIAC has visited six cities and organised five events in Latin America.  The initiative was launched in February this year on the eve of the 16th Annual IBA International Arbitration Day in Colombia with two events jointly hosted by the HKIAC and the Arbitration and Conciliation Center of the Bogota Chamber of Commerce, which provided attendees with practical guidance on dispute resolution with Asian parties and discussed the role of culture in the Asia-Latin American commercial relationship.

In Lima, the HKIAC teamed up with local Peruvian law firm Estudio Rodrigo, Elias & Medrano, the Peru-China Chamber of Commerce and the Chinese Embassy in Peru to discuss arbitration in Mainland China and Hong Kong.  In Caracas, the HKIAC worked with the Arbitration Centre of the Caracas Chamber of Commerce where speakers discussed the strength of trade relations between Venezuela and China, compared the business and legal culture in North East Asia with that of Latin America and provided guidance on how to draft arbitration clauses involving Chinese parties.

The HKIAC recently completed its visit to Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. In Sao Paulo the HKIAC partnered with the Arbitration and Mediation Centre of the Brazil Canada Chamber of Commerce on a full day event: Demystifying Asia – Making Deals and Managing Risks.  Speakers from Asia and Brazil explored opportunities for investment, negotiating styles and the role of international arbitration in resolving disputes when they arise.

The HKIAC also visited Ecuador earlier this year meeting with prominent arbitrators and law firms. The next ‘HKIAC in the Americas’ event will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina on 23 September 2013.

Response from Latin America
The HKIAC initiative has been well received in the five Latin American jurisdictions visited to date. The legal and business communities have been keen to learn more about doing business with Asian parties, particularly China, and how best to manage risk with this increasingly significant commercial partner. 

Given that the region’s traditional trading partners have come from the US and Europe and the distance between Latin America and Asia, we were not surprised to hear that generally there is a sense of unfamiliarity with Asian culture, which for a many Latin Americans makes dealing with Asian parties both interesting but at the same time adds a layer of uncertainty for those entering the market for the first time. 

Our experience has been that an increasing number of those dealing with international transactional work have had some experience with Asia, often acting for a Chinese investor coming into their jurisdiction.  We understand that disputes from such transactions are not high in number yet but there has been significant interest in learning about how to manage disputes ahead of time and about potential options for dispute resolution in Asia such as Hong Kong and the HKIAC.

Next Event - Argentina
Our next seminar will be in Buenos Aires, Argentina as the HKIAC will partner with the Mediation and Arbitration Centre of the Argentine Chamber of Commerce to discuss commercial dispute resolution between the Southern Cone countries and their Asian trading partners.  Experts in Asia and Latin America will come together to share their practical knowledge, experience and insights on effectively managing potential conflicts in this developing commercial relationship.

The speakers that have supported us to date include:

In Bogota, Colombia
Eduardo Zuleta, Gómez-Pinzón Zuleta
Sally Harpole, Independent Arbitrator and Attorney at Law
David Yang, Yulchon (formerly of Shin & Kim)
Cristian Conejero Roos, Philippi, Yrarrázaval, Pulido & Brunner (formerly of Cuatrecasas Goncalves Pereira)
Cameron Hassall, Clifford Chance
Christian Leathley, Herbert Smith Freehills
Dietmar Pragar, Debevoise & Plimpton
Chiann Bao, HKIAC

In Lima, Peru
Jeff Xingjian Zhao, Diaz Reus Targ
Jose Tam, Estudio Rodrigo Elias & Medrano
Fernando Canturias Salverry, Universidad del Pacifica – Lima
Chiann Bao, HKIAC

In Caracas, Venezuela
Adolfo Jimenez, Holland & Knight
Carlos Lepervanche Michelena, Tinoco Travieso Planchart & Núñez
Christopher Tahbaz, Debevoise & Plimpton
Chiann Bao, HKIAC

In Sao Paulo, Brazil
Rafael D’Avila Dutra, Barbosa, Müssnich & Aragão
Silvia Fazio, Chadbourne & Parke
Reinaldo Guang Ruey Ma, TozziniFreire
Joaquim P Muniz, Trench, Rossi e Watanabe, associated with Baker & McKenzie
Eli Whitney Debevoise II, Arnold & Porter
James Hosking, Chaffetz Lindsey
Jaime L Iglesias Gallardo, Garrigues
Joseph Tirado, Winston & Strawn
Carlo Verona, Veirano Advogados
Peter T Chow, Squire Sanders
Mark Goodrich, White & Case
Renato S Grion, Pinheiro Neto Advogados
James Rogers, Norton Rose Fulbright
Kiran Sanghera, HKIAC
Christopher K Tahbaz, Debevoise & Plimpton
Claudio Finkelstein, Finkelstein Advogados

Founded in 1985, the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre is one of the preeminent arbitration institutions in the world.  According to the Global Arbitration Review, “Regional arbitration pretty much began with the HKIAC.  No regional institution has been running so successfully for so long.”  We assist companies with their dispute resolution needs with our multi-lingual, multi-cultural Secretariat, our state-of-the-art administered arbitration rules, and our deep pool of arbitrators with a wide range of expertise and experience.  We also serve as the secretariat for the Asian Domain Name Dispute Resolution Centre, which services the domain name disputes in the region.

To learn more about the HKIAC, please visit

Media Contact
Karen Tan  
Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre
Tel: (852) 2525 2381 | Fax: (852) 2524 2171 | Email:

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