Xi's trip new chapter for China-Latin American ties

(By chinca)

Updated: 2015-08-31 14:05:08

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BEIJING - Chinese President Xi Jinping's ongoing trip to Latin America and the Caribbean has ushered in a new chapter in the region's fast-growing bilateral relations with China.
The trip also proves that the two sides can be each other's opportunities in their long-term comprehensive cooperation.
In the past decade,the development of bilateral trade testifies to the win-win cooperation China and its Latin American partners have vowed to seek.

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto shakes hands with President Xi Jinping during a news conference at Los Pinos Presidential Palace in Mexico City June 4, 2013.

China is now the second largest trading partner of Latin America and a leading source of investment in the region. It is the largest trading partner of Brazil and Chile. Free trade agreements have been signed between China and Chile, Peru as well as Costa Rica respectively.
Even amidst the global economic downturn and the European debt crisis, bilateral trade reached $261.2 billion in 2012, increasing by 8.1 percent year-on-year. It is expected to reach $400 billion in 2017.
It is undeniable that China's demand for commodities revived the growth engine for resource-rich Latin America in recent years. However, Latin America is not just China's raw material corner, nor is China Latin America's one-time bonanza.
To enhance cooperation across such geographical distances is not bricolage. The trade structures of China and Latin American countries are highly complementary. They offer a wide range of cooperation opportunities which have been expanded beyond energy to include, among other things, finance, agriculture, infrastructure, science and technology, aerospace, and tourism.
The economic exchange between China and Latin America has also found a balance between trade and investment, evolving from the trade-dominated mode at the very beginning.
China's investment in Latin America has reached around $65 billion and created much needed jobs in the region. The infrastructure projects funded by Chinese banks and built by Chinese contractors set good examples that China and Latin America have already been on track for comprehensive cooperation in the long term.
Meanwhile, China and Latin America are also facing common challenges during their development.
Rural-urban migration, sustainable development, environment protection and the widening wealth gap have been or are on the two sides' agenda.

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