World / China-Chile

China and Chile look to expand free trade pact

By ZHAO YINAN and ZHANG YUNBI (China Daily) Updated: 2015-05-25 05:42

Agreements to be signed on cooperation in economy, trade, finance, culture and technology

Hopes have been voiced by senior officials and experts that the free trade agreement between China and Chile will be upgraded to cover more products and bring more tax cuts.

They were speaking as Premier Li Keqiang is set to begin a trip to Santiago, the Chilean capital.

As the fourth and last stop of his visits to Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Chile from May 18 to 26, Li will hold talks with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, attend a signing ceremony for cooperation pacts and meet the media with Bachelet.

Chile was the first country in Latin America to sign a free trade agreement with China, and this year marks the pact’s 10th anniversary.

Both leaders will witness the two countries signing of cooperation agreements in fields such as politics, economy, trade, finance, culture, science and technology.

In Latin America, Chile is China’s third-largest trading partner, second-largest source of imports and third-largest export market. Last year, the bilateral trade volume reached $34.1 billion.

Assistant Commerce Minister Tong Daochi said that since the China-Chile free trade agreement took effect, bilateral trade has increased fivefold. During the visit, the two countries will discuss further completing construction of the free trade area, Tong said.

The goal is to “comprehensively deepen bilateral economic and trade relations and bring more benefits to enterprises and consumers in both countries”, Tong said earlier this month.

Li Baorong, the Chinese ambassador to Chile, said the free trade agreement has additionally diversified trade, with an accompanying increase in the number of Chinese automobiles entering the Chilean market.

During the visit, Li will also attend the opening ceremony of a seminar marking the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Chile and the seventh meeting of the China-Chile Business Council.

The premier will deliver a key speech at the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Peru visit

During his visit to Peru on Friday, Li and Peruvian President Ollanta Humala witnessed the signing of 10 agreements on investment, transportation, hydropower development, agriculture and education.

A feasibility study was also launched for a railway linking Peru’s Pacific Ocean ports with those on Brazil’s Atlantic Ocean coast.

On Saturday, Li held a panel discussion with Chinese entrepreneurs in Lima, the Peruvian capital, during which he had a video chat with employees of Chinese companies in Peru.

He also attended a series of cultural exchange activities in Lima, including a visit to historical relics of the Chavin and Inca cultures and photo exhibitions on the origins of Chinese culture.

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