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Closer ties with China benefit LatAm development, say regional experts

Updated: Jun 4,2018 11:08 AM     Xinhua

MEXICO CITY — Strengthening ties with China can boost economic diversity and spur development in Latin America and the Caribbean, experts say.

“China is opening a door in Latin America and the Caribbean that leads to progress in development, and provides opportunities for countries like Mexico, Brazil and Argentina that need to diversify their economy,” Mexican expert on international relations Ulises Granados told Xinhua.

Granados, who is coordinator for the Asia-Pacific Studies Program at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico (ITAM), said China’s interest in the region offers “a roadmap to strengthen Chinese-Latin American cooperation and integration toward progress on both sides.”

Argentina’s Pablo Sanguinetti, corporate director of economic analysis and knowledge for development at the CAF-Development Bank of Latin America, said “China-Latin America ties provide an opportunity” for the region’s economic growth.

Like Granados, he believes China would continue to be an engine of global growth in the coming years, despite a more moderate growth at home.

To make the most of “this opportunity and expand its offer of products beyond raw materials, Latin America and the Caribbean should invest more in the capacity and skills of its human resources, innovate its development policies, and expand financial flows earmarked for regional integration and infrastructure,” said Sanguinetti.

He said it was up to Latin American countries to direct Chinese investments to where needed, citing infrastructure. “The great news is that it depends on us.”

Mariana Escalante, who teaches at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and the University of Anahuac, noted LatAm-China relations offer “great opportunities, and also major challenges,” such as in trade.

“There are opportunities to generate a greater capacity, and the challenge is how to do that,” said Escalante, adding: “It requires greater infrastructure and better connections.”

What would make cooperation easier, she said, is that Latin America and China are complementary in several ways, not just economically, but also academically and culturally.

The experts made the remarks on the sidelines this week of an international seminar titled “Latin America and the Caribbean and China: conditions and challenges in the 21st century.”

Some 130 experts from countries across the region and China attended the seminar organized by UNAM’s Center for China-Mexico Studies, discussing issues including economy, trade and investment, political and international relations, as well as environment protection.

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