After the Government announced its intention to “friendly” dissolve the partnership with a German company for the exploitation of lithium, Germany’s ambassador to Bolivia, Stefan Duppel, warned that stopping the project would be a significant setback for relations between the countries, that would affect Bolivia’s credibility for investment.
The general manager of the National Telecommunications Company (Entel), Elio Montes, reported that in 60 days Bolivia would splice its connection to the Pacific fibre optics by the border town of Desaguadero, which will allow to reduce tariffs and increase the speed internet service offered by the state firm. Bolivia currently has one of the lowest-speed and most expensive internet services in the region.
The president of the Bolivian’s Single Federation of Microelectronics Technicians, Donato López, reported on Tuesday that 50% of cell phones are “cloned” in the country and that organization works on technical methods to disable stolen mobile equipment. We estimate there are twenty million cell phones. To determine how many official and cloned phones exist in Bolivia, telephone companies in coordination with the police require a “blackout”.
Bolivia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 2.86 per cent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2019, the lowest rate in recent years. Uncertainty in international markets, political, economic and social crises adversely affected the activities of mining, crude oil, natural gas and its derivatives. Despite the adverse global environment, the Bolivian economy continues to show dynamism, registering The second highest growth rate in South America. Bolivia projected growth of 4.2% by 2020.
The Deputy Minister of Electricity and Alternative Energy, Humberto Leigue, said on Tuesday that a “friendly exit” will be sought to dissolve the partnership formed by the government of the Movement al Socialism (MAS) with the German company ACI Systems, to exploit the lithium of the Salar de Uyuni, in Potosí. It is to ask them that the deposits they made in the formation of the joint venture be recovered by Germany and Bolivia. The joint venture project had a directory in which Bolivia only by name had the majority; in fact, it had a veto from the minority companies that placed the resources.
Peru’s National Agricultural Health Service (Senasa) announced the suspension of imports of plant products and other animal products as published by El Comercio. The fact is in response to the measure imposed by the Bolivian government, which suspended the importation of Peruvian vegetables, “without technical sustenance”. Peru and Bolivia maintain a historic agricultural trade relationship, which during 2019 achieved the import of 896,000 kilos of boneless beef and was allowed to import 10,499 tons of peanuts, 1,614 tons of chia and 617,000 metric tons of soy and its derivatives.
The new executive manager of Bolivian Lithium Sites (YLB) reported that they plan strict limits on foreign investment in the metal extraction and processing. They seek to strengthen the local know-how and work with specialized international advisors. Bolivia produces 400 metric tons of lithium per year in a test plant. They expect to produce about 50,000 tons over the next five years. The agreement signed by the MAS administration for lithium industrialization with Chinese firm Xinjiang TBEA is under analysis. The project for the construction of a lithium plant with a capacity of 15,000 tons per year will remain.
The Minister of Economy and Public Finance, José Luis Parada reported that 2019 closed the with a fiscal deficit of 7.7%. The Government achieved the goal in one month and 17 days, by sorting the budget and optimizing public investment. They curbed excessive spending and sought efficiency in impact and profitability projects.
According to data from the Federation of Cattlemen of Santa Cruz (Fegasacruz), in 2019 it was able to export 3533 tons of meat worth $16.1 million. The number of producers increased from 30,000 to 32,000 last year, with 9.7 million animals across the country. The sector generated an economic movement of $us 500 million during 2019 in the domestic market. Domestic consumption is 200,000 tonnes per year, and 40,000 tonnes of surplus remains for export.
Bolivia opened technical negotiations with Argentina to amend the fourth addendum of the natural gas export contract signed in 2006 in effect until 2026 to avoid fines for non-compliance. An estimated volume between 12 and 14 million cubic meters per day (MMm3/d). Argentina currently pays an annual average of $6.7 per million BTU for the import of natural gas from Bolivia.