SANTIAGO — China will become the leading destination for exports from Latin America and the Caribbean in 2017, with growth of 23 percent this year, according to a new report by the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
ECLAC’s executive secretary, Alicia Barcena, unveiled the annual report on the region’s trade on Oct 30 in Santiago and said that exports would bounce back by 10 percent in 2017, after five years of slowdown.
“I think there have been many important steps between China and Latin America and the Caribbean. Now, the most important (objective) is to diversify the basket of exports so Chinese companies invest in our region,” Barcena told Xinhua during a news conference.
According to Barcena, future increases can be seen between China and Latin America by adding value to agricultural goods, which are in high demand.
“Foodstuffs are very important to China and what better than to produce them here, where agriculture must be a sector large enough to continuously be worked on,” she said.
Barcena also referred to technology, a sector which is booming in China, and called on countries to seek mutual benefits.
“China has made great advances in this direction recently. Our task must be to seek cooperation plans in this area. We must take advantage of ‘The Belt & Road Initiative,’ which must first connect Asia to Europe and then expand to us. We must continue with positive plans, such as the (undersea) cable that will unite China and Chile,” she indicated.
ECLAC pointed out that exports of Latin America and the Caribbean have increased all around the world, rising 17 percent to Asia and 9 percent to the US. However, the region’s trade with Europe is not performing as well, only growing by 6 percent.
Another positive mark is that imports also stopped a four-year fall and are set to rise by 7 percent in 2017, a good sign at a time of economic and geopolitical uncertainty, said the report.