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Xi's LatAm trip to usher in new era for bilateral ties

Editor: Qian Ding 丨CCTV.com

11-16-2016 17:59 BJT

By Tom McGregor, CNTV Commentator

Chinese President Xi Jinping will embark on a whirlwind 3-nations tour - Ecuador, Peru and Chile - on Nov. 17-23. He’s scheduled to talk with South America’s top leaders at the 24th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders Meeting on Nov. 19-20 in Lima, Peru.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (2nd R) and his wife Peng Liyuan (R) pose for a group photo with Peru

Chinese President Xi Jinping (2nd R) and his wife Peng Liyuan (R) pose for a group photo with Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (2nd L) and his wife in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 13, 2016. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)

His first stop will be Ecuador, which marks the first visit for a Chinese President since Beijing established diplomatic ties with Quito in Ecuador in 1980.

During the Latin-America tour, Xi is expected to discuss the potential opening up of a regional Free Trade deal.

He will also pursue further economic cooperation projects, such as linking up in e-commerce, addressing production over-capacity, while outlining plans to build more industrial parks and infrastructure in Latin-America.

Beijing will strengthen relations with member states of the Community of Latin-American and Caribbean States (CELAC). In Jan. 2015, China signed a 5-year cooperation agreement with the organization.

More equilibrium with Ecuador

Beijing believes Latin-America can play a pivotal role as an energy exporter to China as the world’s second-largest economy continues to urbanize and transit towards a services-oriented market.

Ecuador offers favorable conditions for Chinese green energy companies to construct power plants in the nation.

China offered financial and technical support for the Coca Codo Sinclair hydroelectric plant in northeast Ecuador that is expected to generate 1,500 megawatts (MW). It’s the world’s largest hydroelectric plant constructed by a Chinese company.

China and Ecuador will also support other win-win opportunities.

“During his time in Ecuador, President Xi and President Rafael Correa will discuss issues of common concern and witness the signing of a number of important cooperation documents,” Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Chao told the Santiago Times.

He added, “New deals will be signed in the areas of production capacity, trade, finance, legal affairs and culture.”

Climbing high with Peru

When Donald Trump enters the White House in January, he’s likely to shut down global free trade deals, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Nevertheless, China could fill the void by promoting more free trade deals with Latin-America. Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski remains a supporter of globalism.

“(The TPP) can be replaced with a similar deal, but without the United States,” Kuczynski told RT last Friday. “I think it’s best to have an Asia-Pacific deal that includes China and includes Russia … it’d have to be a new negotiation.”

Peru is a land rich in mineral resources, but seeks more assistance from China to boost it’s manufacturing sector, infrastructure and to transform the economy.

Kuczynski issued a press release saying Peru welcomes Chinese investments in mining, ore smelting and mineral products. Peru hopes to produce more value-added mineral products.

Deal-making with Chile

In the past decade, China-Latin-America trade volumes had increased 2-fold to $US236.5bn. Last year. China is the second-largest trade partner and third-largest FDI (foreign direct investment) investor of Latin-America.

Latin-America is China’s seventh-largest trade partner. Chile has earned a crucial spot in generating more trade ties between China and South America, since Chile and Peru are members of the Pacific Alliance, the most active trade block on the continent.

In Latin-America, Chile was the first nation to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) deal with China.

“The FTA between China and Chile is now in its 10th year,” Chinese Commerce Ministry’s chief negotiator Zhang Xiangchen, told the Santiago Times.

He added, “A joint study to upgrade the deal has produced solid results, and the (Chinese) president’s visit is expected to bring about further cooperation in e-commerce.”

Alibaba Group is China’s largest on-line e-commerce shopping platform and this could hint the company’s founder Jack Ma is looking to tap into the South American market.

Lifting up Latin-America

Beijing has a golden opportunity to strengthen diplomatic and economic relations with the Global South, especially in Latin-America. Look to see a dramatic shift away from globalism, and major beneficiaries could be China and developing nations.

The emerging markets should work together to jumpstart their economies by arranging partnership deals with other countries across the globe. China may soon take over the mantle as leader of the international economic cooperation movement.

Tmcgregorchina@yahoo.com

 

( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )

 Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration

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