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Wednesday, November 16, 2016, 09:44

Opportunities await Xi on Latin American visit

By An Baijie

He will seek deeper cooperation during stops in Ecuador, Peru and Chile

Opportunities await Xi on Latin American visit
Source: China Daily (XIA DIWEN / CHINA DAILY)

President Xi Jinping will leave Beijing on Wednesday for a three-stop South American tour that will deepen cooperation with Ecuador, Peru and Chile, despite global economic headwinds, analysts said.

On his visit, Xi will discuss cooperation in multiple areas, including e-commerce, production capacity, industrial parks and infrastructure, according to the Foreign Ministry. Xi will also attend the 24th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders' Meeting in Lima, Peru, on Saturday and Sunday.

The president's third Latin American trip comes at a time when opportunities abound to expand relations in the region

Xu Shicheng, senior researcher of Latin American studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

Most Latin American countries are at an initial stage of industrialization, and they need capital and technology to improve manufacturing capabilities, reduce dependence on the export of raw materials and boost economic transformation, said Xu Shicheng, a senior researcher of Latin American studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The president's third Latin American trip comes at a time when opportunities abound to expand relations in the region, since China has advantages in capital and equipment as well as experience in infrastructure construction, Xu said.

Xi has already visited the region twice since becoming president in March 2013. He traveled to Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica and Mexico in 2013, before visiting Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba in 2014.

Jorge Heine, Chilean ambassador to China, said that Chile hopes to export to China more food and agricultural products, including cherries and wine.

"We have 26 Chilean companies in Qingdao. We are diversifying our exports to China," he said early this month.

Heine said the Chilean government welcomes more investment from China.

"We are keen to have more Chinese investment," he said.

According to the ambassador, Chile's SQM, one of the world's leading producers of lithium, iodine and nitrates, is for sale. The two contenders to buy the company, which is worth US$4 billion to US$5 billion, are both Chinese companies, he said.

Wu Baiyi, director of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Latin America Institute, said Latin American countries "are currently affected by a weaker global market and the falling prices of commodities, and as a result, China's investment will be of great importance".

China's excellent production capacity, especially in areas including high-speed rail, hydropower and telecommunication, could be exported to Latin America to improve the infrastructure there, he added.

anbaijie@chinadaily.com.cn

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