Chile seeks to access China through Hong Kong region
Updated: 2012-04-14 15:52
SANTIAGO - Chilean companies can better access the Chinese market with the help of Hong Kong, said Chile's Consul in Hong Kong Mario Ignacio Artaza said Friday.
Artaza is currently back in Santiago to facilitate ongoing visit to Chile of Donald Tsang, chief executive of the Hone Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of China.
The consul sees the visit as part of Hong Kong's strategy to enhance its cooperation with "the emerging markets of America's subcontinent," adding that the region is an "offshore" market for the Chinese currency Renminbi, or yuan, in its internationalization process.
"Chile is an open economy with a free and secure market based on rules, and Hong Kong appears in our radar as an interesting and intelligent option within this equation of success in our interaction with Asia Pacific," said Artaza.
The consul believed the Renminbi will occupy a very important position in the world economy in the future.
"There is no doubt that the Chinese currency will soon occupy a role, as other foreign currencies, as the US dollar or the euro, on the condition that it fulfills all the requirements of convertibility," he said.
The Chilean consul also said his country is analyzing "the potentiality of Hong Kong's stock market, which is a very interesting source to collect capital for Chilean and Latin American companies that seek to use this capital to maximize their business in China."
Chile is also mulling entering the metal exchange market, because in Hong Kong, there is a platform for future gold transactions, which will be extended to silver, iron and copper.
During Tsang's visit, a second round of negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA) between the HKSAR and Chile is underway in the country's capital.
"An FTA between Chile and Hong Kong requires necessarily a more powerful interaction through the flow of tourists and business agents...and that is why an agreement on air services is being considered," said Artaza.
According to Hong Kong's figures, trade between Chile and Hong Kong exceeded $850 million last year.
If signed, the Chile-Hong Kong FTA would be the first such agreement reached between Hong Kong and a Latin American country.
"We believe this agreement can trigger or be an important factor to attract funds from China, via Hong Kong, toward Chile, and vice versa," said Artaza.