The high growth and increasingly mutually engaged economies of Latin America and Asia offer significant new business development opportunities to law firms and other professional services firms – provided they put in place and execute plans to effectively secure new cross-border business.

Latin America – Asia bilateral trade is rapidly increasing

“Asia and Latin America should have more commercial and investment links” writes Thomas Cho in ChannelNewsAsia.com, reporting from a recent Asia Latin American Legal Summit.  “The combined population of the two continents provide a huge market for joint business opportunities.  Trade between Latin America and Asia has grown 357 percent between 2000 and 2010.  Bilateral trade between Singapore and Latin America [alone] grew 38 per cent in 2011 to US $30 billion from the previous year.” 

As the New York Times reported in 2010 in an article authored by Simon Romero: “Latin America’s growth largely reflects a deepening engagement with Asia, where China and other countries are also growing fast. China surpassed the United States last year as Brazil’s top trading partner, and is the second largest trading partner in countries like Venezuela and Colombia.”

Value of Latin American Economy

The Latin American economy is comprised of thirty three Sovereign States and 18 Territories in three distinct geographic regions:  South America, the Caribbean and North America — from Mexico in the North to Argentina in the South.  Collectively, Latin America has a GDP of approximately $4.8 Trillion US Dollars and an average collective annual growth rate in excess of 5%.   Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina, Uruguay and Peru have annual growth rates in excess of 8%.

US President Barack Obama, Speaking at the Summit of the Americas in Colombia this past week, cited Brazil as having recently surpassed the United Kingdom as the 6th largest economy in the world, a further reflection of the regions continued economic clout.

Value of Asian Economy

The economy of Asia comprises more than 4 billion people (60% of the world population) living in 46 different states, and with a combined GDP of $18 Trillion US Dollars.  Collective annual economic growth is in excess of 7%.  Geographically diverse, the region includes, among others, China, Japan, Korea, India and Indonesia.

What opportunities exist between Asia and Latin America?

The opportunities are myriad, however broadly, the demand for infrastructure projects in Latin America and Asia’s desire for energy exports are a few examples of engines driving this bilateral growth.

A specific opportunity is Brazil’s hosting of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics and the need to secure providers of goods and services to meet the needs of these events as well as other Brazilian government needs.  Indeed, the opportunities in Brazilian public procurement are substantial and will be for some time.

How Law Firms can secure new clients from Asia-Latin America Trade

At present, law firms and other professional service providers from both Asia and Latin America are well positioned to assist companies secure the services necessary to capitalize on the new and future opportunities that this mutual and integrated Asia-Latin America economic growth offers.

Interested in improving your law firm’s business development efforts?  Contact John Grimley, Editor & Publisher of Asia Law Portal, for a discussion:

Posted by John Grimley

John Grimley edits and publishes Asia Law Portal and is the author of A Comprehensive Guide to the Asia-Pacific Legal Markets. He specializes in providing writing, editing, research and strategy services to the corporate and professional services sectors. Between 2002 and 2008, he established and directed the European representative business development office of US AmLaw 100 law and public policy firm Patton Boggs LLP. At the inception of his career, he served as a writer to the President of the United States in the White House. A licensed American lawyer, he holds a Juris Doctor from the University of San Diego School of Law.

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