HK, Chile begin 2nd round of free trade talks

Updated: 2012-04-12 13:42


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SANTIAGO - Chile and China's special administrative region of Hong Kong Wednesday began a second round of negotiations to draft a Free Trade Agreement aimed at boosting bilateral trade.

The meeting in Chile's capital of Santiago coincided with the visit of Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang, who is scheduled to meet with Chilean officials and private sector representatives from Thursday to Sunday.

Rodrigo Contreras, chief of the Chilean delegation, said that "Hong Kong is an attractive market for Chilean exporters, because traditionally it has been the entrance and departure gate of the People's Republic of China."

Contreras said Hong Kong's population has a high living standard, with a per capita Gross Domestic Product of $34,393 in 2011, which represents ample export opportunities for value added Chilean goods, especially from the agricultural sector.

Hong Kong is also on the leading edge in many commercial aspects and the agreement would allow Chile to learn important lessons in exporting, Contreras said.

The fact that Hong Kong has similar consumption patterns to western countries, for historical reasons, facilitates trade with Chile, he added.

Additionally, the agreement might help Chile to obtain preferential treatment in Hong Kong's services industry and access to public sector purchases.

In 2011, Chile exported $314 million's worth of goods to Hong Kong and imported $30 million, representing a surplus balance of trade of $284 million.