‘Outlook dim for Latin America trade in 2016’, but Mexico is still shining

By Gavin van Marle

Trade prospects for Latin America are looking distinctly dim this year, according to a recent Maersk Line trade report. East coast volumes are predicted to shrink as major economies continue to struggle with recession, while west coast export nations face declining demand from China.

In the face of declining demand, Latin American countries are likely to be led into increasing competition with each other, according to Omar Shamsie, President of Maersk Line Latin America and Caribbean. He added that some countries had begun to develop production of commodity sectors where they have not traditionally been present. “We have seen increased focus on, and investment in, exports, including Colombia investing in avocado production to compete with its neighbours in international markets,” he said, adding: “This has been helped by investment in reefer container technology, which controls atmosphere and temperature, allowing produce to travel further than ever.”

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Anik Trudel new Chair at Montreal Port Authority

Anik Trudel was elected by her peers as Chair of the Board of Directors of Montreal Port Authority (MPA). Her appointment took effect following MPA’s annual meeting held on May 13. She succeeds Michel Lessard, who is retiring after nine years of loyal service, the maximum allowed under the Canada Marine Act. He chaired the Board for seven of those years.

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EDC: Protectionism – in vogue again?

By Peter G Hall, Vice-President and Chief Economist

Say it isn’t so! We’ve heard the dreaded ‘P’ word enough in the past to be beyond this. Globalization has long since proven its worth, opening up new markets, and bringing efficiencies that make everyone better off. It’s why political leaders have made huge investments in trade deals, investment protection agreements, double taxation treaties and endless discussions to safeguard what has been put into place. Then, one or two things go wrong, and we lose it: globalization comes under attack as the obvious villain, and we retreat into protectionism, or at least into its vile rhetoric. Is it happening all over again?

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Seaway off to a slow start, but increased exports expected to make up for early losses

Seaway year-to-date shipments (March 21 to May 31) reached 6.5 million tonnes, down 4 per cent (282,000 tonnes) compared to the same period last year, due mainly to tonnage decreases in iron ore and imported steel. Despite the overall drop, “There are certainly some bright spots so far. Canadian exports of machinery, aluminum and dry bulk cargoes like cement have been strong. Businesses are responding to demand from the U.S. automotive and construction industries,” said Terence Bowles, President and CEO of The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation.

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