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Belt and Road Initiative to inspire LatAm, says IDB chief

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-12-03 14:03

PUNTA DEL ESTE, Uruguay - China's Belt and Road Initiative should serve as an inspiration to Latin America and the Caribbean, President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Luis Alberto Moreno said on Friday.

Addressing the opening of the 11th China-Latin America and the Caribbean (China-LAC) Business Summit here, Moreno said "anyone who looks into the initiative will see that it is truly amazing given its scale and goal of integrating countries in different parts of the globe."

"The initiative should inspire us in this region as well to speed up our process of integration and thus transform ourselves into a major regional stage," said Moreno.

The initiative China proposed in 2013 comprises the overland Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, seeking to revive and expand the ancient Silk Road trade routes and connect Asia, Africa and Europe through better infrastructure, greater trade and enhanced people-to-people exchanges.

According to Moreno, there are elements of the initiative that Latin America can adopt, such as creating a regional free trade zone.

An LAC free trade area is a goal "we can and must reach," said Moreno, noting the integration of subregional trade blocs like the southern cone's Mercosur (Southern Common Market) and the Pacific Alliance, which gathers Pacific facing countries, can help.

"The increasing proximity between Mercosur and Pacific Alliance countries should encourage us to continue working to attain that goal," said Moreno.

As for China, the IDB head said the Asian giant "is highly likely" to surpass the United States as a leading investor in the region, and that "it is preparing to make the great leap to becoming the world's largest economy."

"We hope that more business meetings take place to deepen ties with China," Moreno said.

The China-LAC Business Summit this year, which runs till Saturday, drew some 2,500 business leaders, including 700 from China.

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