An article posted today on Ecns.cn points out why it is imperative that law firms in Latin America become aware of, understand, and respond to the growing role of China in Latin American business.
The same arguments are equally important for Chinese law firms.
Law firms in both regions are failing to respond to trends that could be profoundly important for their futures.
Trade between China and Latin America has increased by 16 times -- 1600% -- since 2000, and now accounts for 6% of China's total foreign trade volume.
The article cites three factors that are driving this growth:
- Free trade agreements throughout the region
- Bilateral economic and trade consultation
- The predicted emergence of Latin America from its recession in 2017, returning to 1.3% growth
Brazil is an example. Even with the recent economic disruptions in Brazil, China remains Brazil's largest trading partner, with Chinese companies investing more than $30 billion in 2016. There are now more than 200 Chinese-funded enterprises in Brazil, in a range of fast-growing economic sectors, such as oil, mining, and electricity.
These considerations support our firm's view that any law firm in Latin America that wants to continue to have a significant international practice must develop a well-informed, focused "China strategy."
Likewise, law firms in China need to start doing serious planning and documentation of how they can better serve their clients and potential clients with respect to interests and opportunities in Latin America. They need a "Latin America strategy."
These inquiries are not time-consuming or expensive undertakings; but they do require the investment of time, sharply focused intellectual energy, and a cost-effective facilitation by an external expert. The return on such an investment can be compelling. The failure to make that investment can be fatal.
If you are an Asian law firm that wants to be ready to get the best return on your strategic investment in Latin America, consider the Walker Clark Latin America Strategic Assessment.
If you are a Latin American firm that wants to understand and plan for how Chinese investment in Latin America will affect your firm's continued success, contact us about our Asia Strategy Review.