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Central China woos Latin American investors

By He Yini in Zhengzhou (chinadaily.com.cn)

Updated: 2013-05-20

Central China's Henan province said on Saturday it will try to create a more amicable investment environment for Latin American countries, in a bid to further lure investors from the Caribbean adjacent region amid China's economic slowdown.

"We will continue to open up fields including education, medical care, finance, aviation, and modern services to foreign investors and this will be a great opportunity for Latin America," said Deng Yongjian, vice-chairman of Henan provincial advisory body, when addressing the Latin America Business Forum at the Expo Central China 2013, a three-day event ending Monday.

Henan has stepped up efforts to draw foreign investment and push forward economic restructuring amid industrialization, urbanization and agricultural modernization, in order to ride the wave of China's booming central region.

The central region, covering the six inland provinces of Shanxi, Anhui, Henan, Jiangxi, Hunan and Hubei, is expected to be a new growth engine in time to underpin the country's flagging economy.

Statistics show Henan's foreign trade volume surged 58.6 percent year-on-year to hit 51.75 billion yuan ($8.43 billion) in 2012, which bucked the nationwide slump trend while topping the other five provinces in the central area.

Provincial trade with Latin America grew 33.66 percent to reach 2.9 billion yuan in the first three quarters last year, with an export volume standing at 1.81 billion yuan, up 26.86 percent year-on-year.

"Latin America is a strategically important trading partner of great potential for Henan province and China at large. We welcome investment of all kinds from the region to help fuel the province's economy," said Deng.

"We hope Henan will grab a larger piece of the growing pie in years to come amid China's business relationship with Latin America," Deng later added.

The country has become the third trading partner of Latin America after the European Union and the United States, with a trade volume exceeding $240 billion in 2012.