LatAm calls for stronger economic ties with China

Representatives and ambassadors from Latin America are calling for more investment from China, and looking for a stronger and more friendly relationship that goes beyond economic ties, they said during a forum held in Beijing on Tuesday.

The forum, called Win-Win Cooperation for Common Development of China-Latin America and the Caribbean, was organized by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC).

Ambassadors from countries including Chile, Colombia and Guyana to China were present at the event to explain their advantages and areas where Chinese investment would be welcomed.

Videos featuring the culture, tourism sector and business aspects of Uruguay, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Argentina and the Bahamas were also presented.

Chinese firms – from carmakers such as Shenzhen-based BYD and Chongqing Chang’an Automobile and telecommunications technology giant Huawei, to China Railway Construction – also joined the forum in hopes of gaining more opportunities in the emerging region.

“The US still adheres to an outdated Cold War mentality and plays a zero-sum game … and it plunges the world into a never-ending, life-and-death struggle. Whether to step onto the path of win-win cooperation and common development, or follow the old path, people of insight in the world will make their correct choices,” Lin Songtian, president of the CPAFFC said during the opening remarks at the forum on Tuesday.

Lin said that China and Latin American have vast cooperation prospects. China will provide a huge consumer market for products from Latin America and the Caribbean region, and more Chinese firms and people are hoping to travel, start a business or invest in the area.

Latin America is China’s second-largest destination for foreign investment and an important partner in international production capacity cooperation. According to statistics from the Ministry of Commerce, from January to May this year, China’s direct investment in Latin America reached $10.38 billion, a year-on-year increase of 40 percent.

More than 2,500 Chinese firms already have a presence in the region.

Participants at the forum also discussed the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Lin said that it is under the lead of the BRI that China and Europe have closely connected the continents of Asia and Europe, connecting 23 countries and 168 cities in the area, and becoming the lifeline helping Europe fight the epidemic and a driver in its economic recovery.

Latin America and the Caribbean region are natural extensions of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and an important reference method for the joint construction of the BRI, said Lin.

China has signed cooperation agreements with 19 Latin American countries to jointly build the BRI.

Customs data showed that in the first half of the year, trade between China and Latin America and the Caribbean countries was about $203 billion, a year-on-year increase of 45.6 percent. Trade with Brazil, the largest economy in the region, increased by 42.8 percent year-on-year.

Observers said that bilateral trade growth under the epidemic reflects the vigor and great potential of bilateral cooperation. Moreover, China’s continued efforts in further opening-up and optimizing its trade structure have become stabilizers for trade between the two, and they also play an important role in stabilizing global trade.

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