SANTIAGO - Chile's government is focusing on rapid growth in its bilateral trade, investments, and tourism with China, the country's finance minister said Sunday.
Chilean Finance Minister Felipe Larrain told Xinhua that Chile is confident that China's economy will maintain a 9 percent growth this year, paving the way for further growth in bilateral trade between the two countries.
"Chile expects China's economy to continue growing steadily ... which would be very good for the world economy and for Chile's economy as well," Larrain said.
China's economy recorded a 12 or 13 percent growth in the last couple of months, he said.
The Chilean senior official said China is now Chile's main trade partner. But a decade ago, only a few Chilean companies and business people explored the opportunities China had to offer because China was not among Chile's top ten trade partners.
In 2009, about 23 percent of Chile's exports were shipped to China, and Chile-China foreign trade reached $17.4 billion, Larrain said.
"Chile welcomes China and Chinese businessmen to take part in Chile's infrastructural reconstruction process for the damages of the February 27 earthquake," he said. An 8.8-magnitude earthquake and consequent tsunamis have caused heavy casualties and damage in Chile last February.
Larrain said China is also a main market for Chile's copper export, and the government intends to expand its copper export to China.
The finance minister said Chile is one of the countries with a surplus in foreign trade with China, hence Chile "welcomes China to export more badly-needed goods to Chile."
He said the Chilean government greatly appreciates the measures taken by the Chinese government to expand bilateral trade between the two countries, such as the gradual revaluation of the Chinese yuan, which will increase China's purchasing power and allow China to import more goods from Chile.