Americas Brief newsletter: 3-9 April 2019
This version of the Americas Brief newsletter looks at vehicle delays on the US-Mexico border, anti-government protests in Venezuela, and flooding in the capital of Paraguay.
United States & Canada
- Canada - Third rapeseed firm at risk of Chinese import ban
- United States - Storm system to bring heavy snowfall to north-east, plains
- Cuba, Venezuela & United States - New US sanctions target oil supply
- Mexico and United States - Delays at border amid agent redeployment
- Argentina - Andes L'neas A'reas cancels flights today amid labour disputes
- Brazil - Bridge collapse in northern state heightens risk of export disruption
- Colombia - Government and indigenous groups make deal to end blockade
- Paraguay - Authorities declare emergency over capital flooding
- Venezuela - Opposition leader announces protests on 10 April
United States & Canada
Canada ' Third rapeseed firm at risk of Chinese import ban CANADA ' Political risk: Minor
2 April: The Canadian government announced that Chinese authorities have filed a non-compliance notification against a third, unidentified, rapeseed firm.
Why it matters: The complaint is likely concerning allegations of contamination. While it does not constitute an import ban, it follows China's blacklisting of Richardson International Limited, one of Canada's largest grain processors and the largest fully Canadian-owned exporter on 1 March, and Viterra Incorporated, a further Canadian grain processor, on 26 March. China is Canada's largest customer for rapeseed; it receives around 40 per cent of Canada's exports of the product, accounting for 17 per cent of all Canadian exports to China. The bans are likely reprisals over Canada's ongoing extradition of Chinese technology company Huawei Technologies' CFO Meng Wanzhou to the United States. Reprisals have also included the detention of Canadian citizens resident in China. A2 Global reiterates its advice to U.S. and Canadian companies operating in China to factor in the possibility of reprisals. These could include delays in granting licences, processing shipments, and approving visas, as well as the detention of Canadian or American citizens in China. A2 Global advises U.S. and Canadian business executives and travellers to assess whether their business activities or relations with Chinese regulatory authorities might provide a pretext for detention or increased scrutiny.
United States ' Storm system to bring heavy snowfall to north-east, plains UNITED STATES ' Natural hazard risk: Elevated
9 April: A major storm system will bring heavy snowfall, high winds and widespread flooding to the north-eastern and north-central states on Wednesday (10 April) through to Friday (12 April). Up to a metre of snow is possible in some areas of South Dakota, north-eastern Nebraska and southern Minnesota. The temperature in Omaha, Nebraska, is forecast to fall from around 26.5C on Monday to around 4.5C on Friday. The main flood risk is likely to occur along the Mississippi River.
Why it matters: A2 Global warns the storm system will cause widespread disruption to air and road travel, with many regional airports forced to either temporarily cease or limit operations. Passengers booked to fly into or within the region in the next few days are advised to check with their carriers before travelling to the airport. We also advise against non-emergency road travel for the duration of the storm and its immediate aftermath.
Mexico, Central America & Caribbean
Cuba, Venezuela & United States ' New US sanctions target oil supply CUBA, VENEZUELA & UNITED STATES
5 April: The US has imposed new sanctions targeting Venezuela's supply of oil to Cuba, it announced on 5 April. The US Department of the Treasury has placed sanctions against 34 vessels owned or operated by Venezuela's state oil firm PDVSA, as well as one commercial vessel, the Despina Andrianna, owned by Liberia-based Ballito Bay Shipping Incorporated, which transports oil to Cuba. Sanctions have also been imposed on Ballito Bay Shipping Incorporated and another firm which operates in Venezuela's oil sector: Greece-based ProPer In Management Incorporated.
Why it matters: The US has imposed a series of sanctions since January 2019 in an effort to restrict funding and support for the government of Venezuela's de facto president Nicol's Maduro. The latest measures seek to constrain Caracas' ties with Havana, Venezuela's foremost regional ally. Compliance officers of firms which operate in Venezuela's oil sector should factor the measures into sanctions programmes.
Mexico and United States ' Delays at border amid agent redeployment MEXICO ' Travel risk: High UNITED STATES ' Travel risk: Medium
2 April: Cargo vehicles entering the US from Mexico faced up to 12-hour delays after approximately 750 US border agents were transferred to immigration duties amid an uptick in migrant arrivals, mostly from Central America. According to a report from the Reuters news agency, delays were particularly severe for commercial traffic at the crossing between Ciudad Ju'rez in Mexico's Chihuahua state and the US city of El Paso, Texas, while there was also disruption at the Tijuana-San Diego and Nuevo Laredo-Laredo crossings. The staff transfers, announced the previous week, were not a direct consequence of US President Donald Trump's 29 March threat to close the border.
Why it matters: Commercial traffic at the US-Mexico border is worth USD1.7 billion per day, and delays at the border have a significant impact on just-in-time industries, including manufacturing, as well as agriculture. In the one-week outlook, there is a high risk that delays will persist as fewer officials oversee commercial traffic. Businesses whose operations and supply chains cross the border should factor likely disruption into operational planning. Notify customers of delays, and, where necessary, consider alternative means of transport such as air cargo.