LatAm faces historic opportunity to promote ties with China

Updated: 2015-01-09 15:13


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LatAm faces historic opportunity to promote ties with China

President Xi Jinping and guests attend a photo session during the opening ceremony of the first Ministerial Meeting between China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States. FENG YONGBIN / CHINA DAILY

SANTIAGO -- Economic reforms underway in China offer Latin America "a historic opportunity to make a qualitative and quantitative leap forward in its economic and trade relations with the Asian power," the UN said in a report on Thursday.

According to the report published by the Santiago-based UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Latin America as a whole should seize this good opportunity to improve infrastructure, promote innovation and training, raise productivity and competitiveness, and diversify exports throughout the region.

"While national initiatives are necessary, they are clearly insufficient when it comes to becoming a relevant economic and trading partner for China," the UN agency said, praising the regional bloc for acting in unison to expand ties with China.

The report, issued to coincide with the first ministerial meeting of the Forum of China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, which was held in Beijing this week, was presented by ECLAC Executive Secretary Alicia Barcena at the gathering.

Since 2012, China's economic growth has slowed down slightly, but the country has been moving toward a development model based more on domestic consumption, rather than exports and investment, noted the report.

"These changes should lead to greater capital outflows from China," which Latin America could attract as foreign direct investment (FDI) in such sectors as services, infrastructure, energy, transport and logistics, said ECLAC.

Latin America, for example, "could play a strategic role in China's food security," said the UN agency, mentioning that the Asian country is home to 22 percent of the world's population, but has only 7 percent of its arable land and 6 percent of its water resources.

The region's FDI toward China, meanwhile, could flourish in agroindustry, tourism services, entertainment, architecture, urban planning, environment management and services for senior citizens, said the report.