Chile builds on trade with China

Updated: 2014-11-17 06:15

By Zhang Yuchen in Beijing(China Daily Latin America)

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Chile builds on trade with China

Chile's President Michelle Bachelet and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Nov 12 before they have the bilateral meeting. Zhang Duo / Xinhua

The partnership between China and Chile is very important, with Chile's role as port as well as bridge for China to further its participation in regional trade with Latin American countries, said the president of Chile.

Michelle Bachelet, re-elected in March to a second term as president, said the platform of the APEC meeting for the Asia-Pacific regions is promising and positive.

"We are closer to be able to really achieve the particular momentum and to really think about the free trade agreements in the area that will be put into enforcement in the future," she said in an exclusive interview with China Daily on Nov 12, one day after the meeting ended.

Chile is playing an increasingly important role in the affairs of the region and bringing together partners for their mutual benefits, she said.

So far the country has signed 23 free trade agreements with 63 countries around the world.

"Come to Chile as a platform means to get a better connection with other countries in the region," the president said. "China can, through the pacific alliance which Chile participates in, facilitate the trade with other places at the time including the Atlantic side of the region."

In 2006, Chile signed a free trade agreement with China. Since then, the trade volume between the countries has increased fivefold. However, 10 years ago when Bachelet visited China for the first time, only 15 Chilean companies could be found doing business in Shanghai. Now the Chilean presence, with its wine, agricultural products and other exports, can be seen in many cities in China.

At the same time, China and Chile have shown their willingness to expand bilateral cooperation in agriculture, mining, finance and infrastructure construction, as well as humanities and science and technology, based on remarks made during the APEC meeting last week. Energy and infrastructure investment are welcome, Bachelet said, because of the inspiring APEC meeting in Beijing.

"I have heard it (the future FTAAP) for many years and now I can see a clear decision on the start of the comprehensive studies on the roadmap that will lead us, sooner or later, to the free trade area of the Asia-Pacific," said Bachelet. "It is about what we can implement in concrete when [we] go back home; think about improving ports and airports."

Faced with a slowdown in the domestic economy, Bachelet said she would expect the increasing international trade to help the market become robust; at the same time, she still considers the policymaking in the framework of inclusiveness in her reform plan and looks forward to seeing the real change that will benefit all groups of people in the country.