Chilean lawyer fluent in Chinese culture

Updated: 2015-05-25 06:17

By Dong Leshuo(China Daily Latin America)

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Chilean lawyer fluent in Chinese culture

Ignacio Tornero, a lawyer in Santiago, wears a pin of China and Chile national fl ags to welcome Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s upcoming visit to Chile. [MAY ZHOU / CHINA DAILY]

You have no idea how much a Chilean young man knows about China until he starts talking fluently in Mandarin. The young man is Ignacio Tornero, whose Chinese name is Luo Yan.

Wearing a pin with the national flags of China and Chile, Tornero said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Latin America is an important step for both sides.

"I think we have to appreciate it," Tornero said. "It's an honor for us to receive the Chinese premier and the delegation. President Xi Jinping came last year, now the premier is doing the same. I hope we can do the same for you," Tornero said.

"We have to ask ourselves why the Chinese premier chooses to visit four countries. Why China gives so much importance to other smaller countries like our country Chile?" Tornero said.

"It's impressive how much the Chinese know about Latin America, they speak perfect English," Tornero said. "Some of them speak really good Spanish. But we Latin American people do not know much about China.

"I hope it's a great chance for both of us to learn more about each other," Tornero said.

Chilean lawyer fluent in Chinese culture

Tornero works as a lawyer at Carey, Chile's largest law firm.

An important part of his work is to help Chinese companies and investors do business in Chile, especially in natural resources, which has been a major part of Chinese-Chilean collaborations.

The clients that Tornero has worked with include State-owned enterprises such as the China National Building Material Co and China Three Gorges Corp.

China National Building Material is the largest cement and gypsum board producer in China and also the largest glass-fi ber producer in Asia.

Three Gorges was responsible for the construction of the Three Gorges Dam project, the world's largest hydroelectric power plant, which went into operation in 2008.

Tornero also has worked with companies that have been successful worldwide, such as Yingli Solar and Hanergy.

Yingli Solar is one of the world's largest solar panel manufacturers, headquartered in Baoding, China. Hanergy is the world's largest thin-film solar power company, based in Beijing.

Tornero said one of the biggest challenges Chinese clients face is getting Chilean visas: "The visa system in Chile is not fl exible. It's really old, so we have to change it and improve it."

A student of Chinese history, Tornero observed that China is a mix between old and modern.

"It's impressive how China is changing the world, and changing China itself," he said.

Tornero first traveled to China in 2009, when he studied at Nanjing University. He had such a good experience, he returned in 2013 to study at Beijing Language and Culture University.

Tornero is looking forward to his next trip to China in a few months. This time, he is representing Carey and will be based in Beijing for a while.

Contact the writer at dong