Promoting Agricultural ties between China, Chile

Updated: 2015-03-16 03:51

By Yang Yao in Beijing(China Daily Latin America)

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Promoting Agricultural ties between China, Chile

A flying utility drone works in a farm in the Three Gorges Reservoir area in Southwest China's Chongqing municipality on March 2. Technology has become a highlight in cooperation between China and Latin American countries. [Photo by Tang Yi/Xinhua]

As agriculture becomes one of the keys of cooperation between China and Latin American countries, technology in agriculture becomes a highlight, the Chinese business newspaper 21st Century Business Herald reported.

"Chile is now working toward promoting the two countries' cooperation in agricultural mechanisms, seed production, and so on," Carlos Parra Merino, Chile's agriculture counselor to China, was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

In July 2014 during the Forum of China and Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), China proposed to jointly build a new "1+3+6"cooperation framework.

The "1+3+6" plan means one plan, three engines and six fields. One plan is to build China-Latin American Countries and Caribbean States Cooperation Plan (2015-2019), and three engines are promoting the comprehensive development of China-Latin America practical cooperation with trade, investment and financial cooperation as the impetus, striving to promote China-Latin America trade to scale up to $500 billion and the investment stock to Latin America up to $250 billion within 10 years and promote the expansion of local currency settlement and currency swap in bilateral trade.

"Six fields" refers to boosting China-Latin America industry connection with energy and resources, infrastructure construction, agriculture, manufacturing, scientific and technological innovation, and information technologies as cooperation priorities. Under the forum, $50 million is scheduled to help promote agricultural cooperation.

In 2014, China signed a contract to import cattle from Chile, making Chile the fifth country, after Australia, New Zealand, Uruguay and Romania that can export cattle to China. On Jan 27, the first herd of over 7,100 Chilean dairy cows arrived in the port of Tianjin.

"China is now the third largest international market to Chile and I think in five to 10 years, it will become the largest import market of meat," Merino told 21st Century Business Herald.

He said that the Sino-Chile demonstration farm is a successful example of the two countries' cooperation.

In September 2014, the Chilean agriculture minister, in his visit to China, signed contracts with China, including for nuts and avocado.

Merino said that besides the cooperation on the policy level, there are also good dynamics in technology and private sectors.

"The two countries' quarantine departments conducted in-depth cooperation in regards to the trade of dairy cow," he said. "We wish to further the cooperation in agricultural mechanisms and seed production."

Merino said that the Chilean embassy is now promoting cooperation with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Mechanization Sciences (CAAMS) and Chinese Aeronautical Establishment.

According to him, CAAMS has aligned with Chile in the research and application of wind and solar power generation system, as well as the fruit and vegetable product safety monitoring and vacuum freeze-drying technology. Other ongoing projects include the research and applications of Chilean seafood vacuum freeze-drying technology.

Merino said that in the next step, they wish to promote the mechanization of small-scale farms in Chile and develop clean energy by using wind, solar, tide, volcano, terrestrial heat, etc.

"Chinese agriculture search institutions have strong potential and we hope they can establish research and sales centers in Chile and bring their findings to the market," he said.

"As the cooperation becomes more prevailing, we now need to explore the deeper aspects, including innovation, agricultural research, and related services. There are chances along the chain, from producers to consumers."

Official data from China's Commerce Ministry shows that in the first quarter of 2014, the size of import-export trade from Chile to China is over $5 billion, increased by 22 percent compared with the same period a year ago.

Last year, the Chilean and Chinese authorities signed a record 28 agreements that certified Chilean meat products and living animals exported between the two countries. The draft of importing the heifers agreement was signed last April, and gained momentum last September, and the final edition of the agreement was completed during the APEC meetings.