Business / Industries

China crucial for Chilean mining sector: Chilean minister

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-09-21 13:10

SANTIAGO - "For Chile, China is a very important market as it absorbs between 47 and 50 percent of Chile's copper production," Chilean Minister of Mining Aurora Williams told Xinhua in a recent interview.

China needs Chilean copper for numerous works, including the building of new cities and the extension of existing cities, the minister said.

"The growth of the Chinese economy influences the price of copper around the world, and the slightest change in its economy will affect Chile as a commodities exporter," she added.

She recalled that China's double-digit GDP growth phase triggered a super-cycle in copper prices. "While this growth has now slowed to around 7 percent, China will always be important to us due to its sheer volume of demand for copper," she said.

After 45 years of diplomatic relations, Chile and China signed a free trade agreement in 2005, with bilateral trade now surpassing $34 billion.

While copper dominates current Chilean exports to China, "Chile has the conditions to explore other mineral reserves, including molybdenum and lithium," said Williams.

The mining industry now employs 3 percent of the Chilean labor force and contributes 12 percent to the country's GDP.

Besides mining, Chinese companies are also welcome to invest in Chilean infrastructure in other areas, said Williams, adding that recent structural reforms in Chile targeting taxes, education and working conditions have created conditions for Chinese investment.

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