World / US and Canada

Chilean leader sees LatAm-China ties promising

(Xinhua) Updated: 2013-01-18 13:37

SANTIAGO - Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said Thursday he anticipated fruitful relations between Latin America and China.

The bilateral relations have been important as "China is turning into Latin America's biggest trade partner, and has been Chile's (biggest trade partner) for a long time," Pinera said at a press conference.

Chile is seeking to expand a free trade agreement with China, which came into force in 2006, and is also considering promoting Chinese investment in Chile and vice versa, Pinera said.

"China is increasingly becoming an important investor in Latin America," Pinera said, adding the regional trade bloc Pacific Alliance, founded by Mexico, Peru, Colombia and Chile, would seek more opportunities in China.

In addition, Chile is seeking further cooperation with the Asian giant in energy development and education, Pinera said.

"We are making an effort to give Chilean students scholarships to study in China and to learn Mandarin," he said. "We are preparing for something that is already a reality, which is China's emergence as a world power."

Last June, during his visit to Chile, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said he expected the bilateral trade between China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) to double to $400 billion in the next five years.

China is not pursuing a trade surplus, Wen said, adding China is willing to import more manufactured and value-added products, besides raw materials to achieve more balanced and sustainable trade between the two sides.

In addition, Wen announced the creation of the China-Latin America and the Caribbean Cooperation Fund, with a Chinese contribution of $5 billion  to promote joint investment in manufacturing, high and new technology and sustainable development.

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