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  • 9 May 2020 3:40 PM | Anonymous

    Mauricio Montalvo is currently the Ambassador of Ecuador to Australia.

    Ambassador Montalvo is a senior career diplomat with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  He entered to the Ecuadorian Foreign Service as Third Secretary in 1982 and continued his career in different posts locally and oversees.  He was promoted to the rank of Ambassador in 2005.

    He has served overseas as Ambassador, Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva (2006-2011), Deputy Head of Mission at the Permanent Delegation to UNESCO in Paris (1996-2001), First Secretary at the Permanent Mission to United Nations in New York (1990-1992) and Second Secretary at the Permanent Mission to OAS in Washington DC (1987-1989).

    At the Ministry, he was most recently Under-Secretary for International Cooperation (2018-2019), Under-Secretary for Multilateral Affairs (2011-2014) and Under-Secretary for International Organizations (2005-2006).  Previously and during several years he served as Coordinator, Director General, Spokesperson and Diplomatic Officer.

  • 30 Apr 2020 3:43 PM | Anonymous

    International students will receive a relief payment of up to $1,100 as part of a Victorian Government emergency support package that will help tens of thousands of people across our state.

    International students are a vital part of our education system, our economy and our community. They give so much to Victoria – not just through the fees they pay, but also through the economic activity they generate for our businesses, and the contribution they make to our vibrant, inclusive society.

    Like so many people during this pandemic, international students have been affected by casual job losses in retail and hospitality, making it even tougher for them to make ends meet. Many have also fallen through the cracks of Federal Government programs – unable to access the support they need to support themselves.

    To ensure Victoria’s international students can buy the basics and get through to the other side of the crisis, the Victorian Government will establish a $45 million International Student Emergency Relief Fund.

    The fund will provide a one-off payment to students in need while expanding emergency provisions for those experiencing exceptional circumstances.

    Up to 40,000 international students enrolled at Victorian universities, TAFEs, private vocational education and training providers and English language colleges who have lost wages and work due to the coronavirus pandemic could benefit from the relief payment, which covers demonstrated lost income up to $1,100.

    The payments, which will require co-contributions from university hardship funds, build on existing Victorian Government support provided to international students through the Study Melbourne Student Centre such as free legal aid and mental health services.

    More than 150,000 international students currently living in Victoria are also eligible for the Victorian Government’s rent relief program, including subsidies of up to $2,000, and those legally allowed to work in Victoria are eligible for the Working for Victoria initiative, which helps people who have lost their jobs to find new employment.

    International education generated $12.6 billion revenue for Victoria last financial year, supporting around 79,000 jobs, with most students coming from China, India, Nepal, Malaysia and Vietnam.

    For more information about the relief fund and other dedicated support, go to

    Quotes attributable to Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade Martin Pakula

    “International students give so much to Victoria – it’s only fair we support them in their hour of need.”

    “This virus doesn’t discriminate and neither do we – we are in this together and we will get through it together.” 

    Quote attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino

    “It’s important that we back the people who have made such a strong commitment to our state, and we will make sure that our education providers can emerge from the other side of this crisis in a position to quickly rebuild.”

    Quote attributable to Minister for Training and Skills and Higher Education Gayle Tierney

    We’ll continue to work closely with the sector to give international students the support they need so they can continue to focus on their studies.”



  • 22 Apr 2020 3:46 PM | Anonymous

    WEG announced the signature of a technology transfer agreement with LEISTUNG Equipamentos Ltda., Manufacturer of Medical-Hospital Equipment, to produce artificial ventilators that will be used by patients tested positive for COVID-19.

    The contract, signed between the companies, grants WEG the license to produce the ventilator based on the mechanical ventilation device “Luft-3” from LEISTUNG.

    WEG will use the current structure of its factories in Jaraguá do Sul, in the state of Santa Catarina, to produce ventilators and works with the possibility of adjusting the project to speed up production.The plan is to immediately purchase all required components in order to produce 500 ventilators. Once the production line is installed, WEG will have an estimated capacity to produce 50 ventilators per day and deliver in mid-May.

    We now depend on obtaining electronic and pneumatic components, many of which are imported and are currently in short supply in the market”, says Manfred Peter Johann, Managing Director of WEG Automation.

    The implementation of the production line will follow all heath hygiene protocols and other protective measures recommended by health authorities for all industries.



    WEG to produce ventilators1.pdf

  • 15 Apr 2020 4:03 PM | Anonymous

    The World Bank has just published its semi-annual report on Latin America and the Caribbean. The report seeks to assess how Latin America should respond to the health and the economic crisis in 2020, whether it should maintain or implement general or targeted measures to contain the COVID-19 surge, how deep will the recession be in Guatemala, Argentina, Mexico, Uruguay, Chile, Suriname and other 20 countries in the region and who should bear the losses that will stem from this economic calamity.

    Its assessment of economic performance highlights that:

    • “The growth performance of the region had become lacklustre after the end of the Golden Decade, and the year 2019 had not been an exception in this respect. But after months of social unrest in many of the countries and a new oil shock, the Covid-19 epidemic and its impact on the world economy raise the prospect of a calamitous year for 2020.
    • The bone-chilling perspective of 2020 GDP growth by country:




    St. Lucia












    El Salvador




    St. Vincent and the Grenadines








    Costa Rica
























    • “Because of the unusual depth and unprecedented characteristics of the ongoing economic crisis, real-time measures of economic activity are needed.”

    On health and economic costs it explains that:

    • Three areas may help understand and address the shock.
    • “Assessing the economic cost per life saved requires an estimate of the death toll Covid-19 would have imposed in the absence of containment measures. For example, the influential epidemiological study by the Imperial College in London predicted 2.2 million deaths in the US in the absence of decisive action to contain the epidemic. If 2 million deaths could be avoided thanks to containment measures, the economic cost would amount to less than USD 0.5 million per life saved (this is USD 1 trillion divided by 2 million). Given that the estimates for the statistical value of a life in the US fall in the range of USD 6-9 million, the cost of the containment measures adopted is totally justified.”
    • “Governments in developing countries could use similar back-of-the-envelope calculations to get a sense of the economic cost that could be justified in their case to contain the Covid-19 epidemic. The calculation would involve two key figures: the assessment of the number of deaths the epidemic would cause if left uncontained, and the value of statistical life used by agencies in charge of developing transport infrastructure, developing health and safety standards or setting environmental policy.”

    On addressing the economic crisis, it states that:

    • Moves to prevent a financial crisis, to protect jobs and to revitalize private investment, “will entail a change in the relationship between the public and the private sector, leading to a greater role of the state for possibly quite some time.”
    • “The process of acquiring and managing assets needs to be perceived as transparent and professional to maintain confidence in the government. This may also allow decision makers to take urgently needed measures without fearing prosecution in the future.”
    • “In the medium term, the priority has to be the divestiture of state assets to the private sector. Individual cases will need to be reviewed, and balance sheet repair solutions be designed. Benchmark-linked sales of government shares in companies will have to be arranged. While this is not an immediate priority, government should communicate clearly on the direction of travel, establishing a timeline and setting up sunset clauses wherever appropriate.

    Please read the full report below:

    The LatAm Economy in the time of Covid-19_World Bank.pdf

  • 15 Apr 2020 3:57 PM | Anonymous

    • Amid the coronavirus pandemic, lockdowns and aggressive social-distancing measures are required to save lives and countries across Latin America and the Caribbean have put them in place.
    • As a result of the changing macroeconomic conditions, financing costs for emerging markets have risen and commodity prices have fallen.
    • There will be large drops in GDP, but this is not a normal recession, so typical countercyclical demand management, both fiscal and monetary, is likely inconducive.
    • Policies should be aimed to provide relief, maintain economic stability and the core of the economy intact for the recovery.


  • 9 Apr 2020 4:25 PM | Anonymous

    In early March, the Victorian Department of Jobs, Precincts and Jobs’ Global Victoria hosted three female leaders from Latin America to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) and promote collaboration between the 60 international delegates that visited overall and Victorian stakeholders. 

    Claudia Bobadilla, Executive President of the Industrial Telecommunication Association in Chile and CSIRO Board Member and Juanita Rodriguez, Vice-Chancellor of Innovation at EAN University in Bogotá participated in the Global Victoria Women’s Business Summit (GVw) from 5-8 March 2020 which showcased Victoria’s world-class capabilities in STEM; Transport/Infrastructure; Sport and Medical Technology and Pharmaceuticals. Claudia learnt about the work of Monash University, CSIRO and the Australian Synchrotron in driving world-leading research, and partnership opportunities. Juanita visited the Melbourne Metro Tunnel project at Parkville and experienced first-hand the innovative and sustainable Arup engineering office in the Docklands as part of the infrastructure program. Both had the opportunity to connect with influential female leaders from women driving key medical research projects to women leading major road projects in Victoria as part of the state’s $70 billion infrastructure program. 

    Claudia Bobadilla also featured as the keynote speaker at the ALABC boardroom luncheon held on 6 March 2020 at Global Victoria’s International Chamber House which included participation by Australia’s Ambassador to Colombia and Venezuela HE Sophie Davies. Claudia shared her insights on drivers behind the recent social unrest in Chile following 40 days of being completely immersed amongst the most affected communities. A key lesson Claudia took away was the importance of companies incorporating social values in their business plans and strategies to ensure dignity for all. 

    Following GVw was the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival (VAMFF). Dr Maria Carrasco, a leading fashion commentator in Chile and practising Psychiatrist travelled to Melbourne to attend a full program of activities during VAMFF including attending exclusive runways shows; meet and greets with Melbourne designers; visits to the RMIT design studio and fashion school LCI as well as walking through the latest exhibit at the National Gallery of Victoria.

  • 8 Apr 2020 4:29 PM | Anonymous

    Orica boss Alberto Calderon has been charting the global spread of coronavirus on a daily basis from his deserted office in east Melbourne. 

    With operations in over 100 countries, staying a step ahead is proving no small feat. 

    "It's been crazy," Calderon tells The Weekend Australian. "Governments around the world are making decisions and the consequences could not be any bigger." The next phase will likely see governments make some tough decisions on segregation, according to Calderon. 

    As Australian corporates scramble to draw up emergency plans to deal with business shutdowns, Calderon has been focused on ensuring the explosives maker can keep operating through the market turmoil. 

    Half of Australia's mines depend on Orica to keep their production running through its supply of bulk explosives and detonator systems. 

    In recent days Calderon has spoken to his former colleague Mike Henry at BHP, Rio Tinto's Jean-Sebastien Jacques and Newcrest Mining chief Sandeep Biswas to trade the latest intelligence on the global mining market. 

    The nation's big resources players have been tracking COVID-19 closely since its emergence in China, given the country accounts for half the world's commodity demand. 

    Calderon has also been working to match up each country's official virus data with anecdotal reports from his 12,000-strong workforce scattered across the globe. Encouragingly, many of the world's major mines - including Australia's iron ore, coal and gold industries — remain open and at peak production with backing from the federal government to operate as an essential service. 

    Orica says it's critical the flow of mining exports and supply chain routes can keep trading their way through unprecedented volatility. 

    "I'm in permanent communication with our big clients. We have said to the government we understand we need to keep people safe but we also need to keep this industry open or the whole thing will collapse," Calderon said. 


    200403 AC The Australian v2 (2).pdf

  • 8 Apr 2020 4:27 PM | Anonymous

    For political junkies in Mexico used to a president hogging the spotlight, the rise to household-name status of Hugo López-Gatell, a once-obscure health undersecretary, has been breathtaking.

    Each evening Mr López-Gatell holds a press conference in which he reveals Mexico’s daily covid-19 figures and exhorts Mexicans to stay in their homes. Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the populist president, has at times resembled Donald Trump in playing down the pandemic. So Mr López-Gatell has earned a reputation similar to that of Anthony Fauci in America: a by-the-book health bureaucrat who must contend with an unhelpful boss.

    Yet Mr López-Gatell himself is controversial. His critics fret that too little is being done. The total number of coronavirus test results that Mexico has processed until now, 11,357 as of April 4th, is roughly what the United States goes through every two hours. Like many countries, Mexico uses a sentinel model for tracking the disease, using only a few high-quality testing centres, with narrow criteria for testing eligibility. This is a reliable way to track overall trends, but it almost certainly leads to a drastic undercount of the pandemic’s true spread. Unlike in most countries, Mexico’s quarantine measures have been lax and unenforced. I interviewed Mr López-Gatell on April 3rd. Below is the transcript, lightly edited for brevity and clarity.

  • 6 Apr 2020 4:47 PM | Anonymous

    Please visit ALABC news page to access the latests articles reporting on the current state of COVID-19 across Latin America. This collection of information includes official information from Latin American and Australia governments, health industry professionals and other reputable sources across multiple sectors. To access the information, please click on the link below.

Championing Business Growth across the Pacific

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