BY JOACHIM BAMRUD
U.S.-based law firm Fulbright & Jaworski expects to see more business related to Latin American ties with China and the Middle East this year.
”We’ve been doing deals between China-based companies and Latin America for several years, but this past year I’ve seen more deals than I’ve seen in prior years,” says Laura McMahon, co-chairs the firm's Latin America Practice Group and a partner in the corporate and international departments. “I’m seeing increased interest.”
Fulbright is uniquely positioned to cater to that business since it was one of the first international law firms to enter China in the early 1990s and currently maintains offices in Beijing and Hong Kong, she adds. “One of the things to watch for [is] China [which has] expressed a lot of interest in investing in Latin America.”
China last November signed a free trade agreement with Peru (its second in Latin America after Chile) and is negotiation one with Costa Rica. It also signed an investment treaty with Colombia.
Another growth area is the Middle East. Fulbright’s Dubai office has seen a growing number of visits from Latin America, especially Brazil, by companies looking for investments and joint ventures. “When you see flights between Sao Paulo and Dubai and Hong Kong and Beijing, you know the business is there,” McMahaon says.
Last year represented a good year for Fulbight’s Latin America-related business, with growth compared to 2007. “Generally speaking we saw growth in [the] Latin America practice, which spans all types of legal activities,” McMahon says. “We know we’re doing more work and have more people going down to Latin America.”
Keywords: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Central America, disputes, Ecuador, IDB, Mexico