China, Chile expected to double trade
Updated: 2012-06-28 03:16
By Qin Jize in Santiago, Chile and Cheng Guangjin in Beijing (China Daily)
China and Chile on Tuesday elevated ties to a strategic partnership with a target of doubling bilateral trade to $60 billion by 2015.
Analysts said the China-Chile relationship, the leading one among South American nations, has great potential to be further enhanced.
Premier Wen Jiabao and Chilean President Sebastian Pinera witnessed the signing of agreements in trade, education and telecommunications, including a five-year plan to elevate the level of agricultural cooperation.
The two countries are expected to double their trade in three years, Wen said, during a meeting with Pinera. He was on the last stop of a South American tour that also took him to Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.
Bilateral trade was more than $29 billion in 2011, a year-on-year increase of 17.4 percent, according to statistics from Chilean Customs.
Wen urged the early signing and approval of a supplementary agreement on investment within the bilateral free trade agreement, and the completion of the establishment of a China-Chile free trade zone as soon as possible.
China and Chile signed a free trade agreement in November 2005, the first between China and a Latin American country.
While increasing trade volume, the two countries should also promote trade in services and two-way investments, Wen said.
In the mining sector, the two countries should break the trade model of primary products and establish a long-term, stable and high-level partnership for all-around cooperation, Wen said.
Taking advantage of the two countries' rich agricultural resources, they should boost trade in agricultural products, Wen said.
China is ready to participate in infrastructure construction in Chile and promote the transportation network in Latin America together with Chile, Wen said. Wen also suggested that the two countries increase financial cooperation and cooperation in polar regions, ocean, space and natural disasters.
Hailing China as a sincere friend and reliable partner of Chile, Pinera said Chile welcomes Chinese companies to increase investments to Chile and have closer coordination and cooperation in regional and international affairs.
Huang Shikang, former Chinese ambassador to Chile, noted that Premier Wen's visit has achieved a breakthrough in China-Chile trade, which is expected to bring in more business in services and high-level cooperation in resources, in addition to trade in goods and primary products.
"The China-Chile relationship has been taking the lead among South American nations," Huang said.
Chile was the first South American nation to establish a diplomatic relationship with China in 1970.
Huang noted that China has fewer trade frictions with Chile than with other South American nations, as the two countries' economies are highly complementary.
Developing its relationship with Chile also helps China to enhance relations with other nations in South America, as Chile has been an influential country on the continent, according to Huang. "The two countries can further increase communication and cooperation in regional and international affairs," Huang said.
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