left corner left corner
China Daily Website

Dialogue to enhance China’s relations with Latin America

Updated: 2012-08-09 23:48
By Cheng Guangjin ( China Daily)

China will hold its maiden dialogue with foreign ministers of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States Troika in September. The dialogue will become a regular occurrence, which analysts said will help deepen cooperation between China and the 33 CELAC nations.

Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi held talks with ministers from the three countries that make up the premier grouping of CELAC, known as the Troika, in Beijing on Thursday. Yang met with Chilean Foreign Minister Alfredo Moreno Charme, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro Moros and Cuban Vice Foreign Minister Rogelio Sierra Diaz.

The two sides agreed to establish a regular dialogue between foreign ministers from China and Troika, and will hold their first meeting in September, according to a press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

They also agreed to expand and deepen China-Latin America pragmatic cooperation in all areas and promote the early establishment of a China-Latin America cooperation forum.

The two sides agreed that establishing ties between China and CELAC and developing dialogue and cooperation will benefit both sides and enhance their comprehensive cooperative partnership based on equality and mutual benefits.

“A regular dialogue will promote mutual understanding and ensure cooperation is carried out smoothly and deeply,” said Qi Fengtian, an expert on Latin American studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Qi said learning about each other’s needs and concerns and respecting local laws is the best way for Chinese to avoid risks when doing business in other countries.

Cooperation between China and Latin American countries has developed quickly in recent years, especially in trade, investments, infrastructure construction and cooperation on energy.

The CELAC countries, especially the Troika, with well developed domestic economies, are willing to welcome more Chinese investments and deepen the existing cooperative projects, Qi said.

CELAC, a new leading regional bloc, was formed on Dec 3, 2011. Latin American leaders proposed the grouping in February 2010 in Mexico, more than 60 years after the start of the Organization of American States.

It consists of 33 sovereign states of Latin America and the Caribbean region. Chile currently holds the rotating chair of CELAC.

Premier Wen Jiabao said in his speech at the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean on June 27 that China would like to set up a regular foreign ministers’ dialogue mechanism with the Troika and hold the first round of dialogue this year.

Trade between China and Latin America amounted to $241.5 billion in 2011, a year-on-year increase of 31.5 percent. China is the third biggest trading partner of Latin America, after the United States and European Union.

While giving a speech at the CELAC headquarters during his official visit to Latin America late June, Wen called for the two sides to increase bilateral trade to $400 billion in the next five years.

Wen also announced the creation of a cooperation fund with $5 billion to spur the development of the region’s manufacturing industry, as well as a $10 billion credit line for infrastructure cooperation.

Latin American experts are going to publish a book later this year on Wen’s proposals for China-Latin America relations, Xinhua News Agency reported.

“Economic trends in the first half of this year show specific China-Latin America ties are solid and preserved in fundamental areas,” said Fernando Reyes Matta, director of the Santiago-based Center of Latin American Studies on China, in an interview with Xinhua.

It was also notable that the region’s combined export volume to China is expanding fast while China’s investment in the region is also rising, he added.