SANTIAGO — Premier Li Keqiang’s speech at the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) demonstrated Beijing’s sincerity in promoting China-Latin America cooperation for mutual benefit, ECLAC officials said.
In his address on May 25 at the Santiago-based institution, Li called for closer cooperation between China and Latin American countries on production capacity and people-to-people exchanges.
The Premier also laid out “the four pillars” of China-Latin America cooperation: cementing traditional friendship and mutual trust, upgrading win-win cooperation, expanding people-to-people exchanges and improving overall cooperation mechanisms.
“The ECLAC has been seeking to develop production capacity, and we hope to export high value-added, high-tech products,” said ECLAC consultant Anibal Severino.
“This process cannot be achieved by only one country and we need to work together to build a healthy production chain. I am glad to see that China will become a ring of the production chain,” he added.
For his part, ECLAC Deputy Executive Secretary Antonio Prado stressed that Li identified some critical points on how to boost Latin America-China cooperation.
The region needs investment in infrastructure that accounts for 5 percent of its gross domestic product, but the current input is below that figure, he said, adding that thus cooperation with China is very important to Latin America.
Obviously, he said, there is space for cooperation, as China has additional capacity in producing machines and building infrastructure, while Latin America has a shortage in this area.
“There is also the possibility of bilateral cooperation in other fields such as science and technology and culture,” he said.
“The Chinese experience of regional integration is of great interest to our region, because China has active commercial exchange with Asia-Pacific countries, which means that China boosts its neighbors,” Prado said.
ECLAC, he added, is very interested in understanding and studying this model of regional integration so as to implement it in Latin America.
On Li’s proposal that China and Latin America build a “community of common destiny,” he said that the vision is very important and that political will needs to be transformed into concrete things.
To Osvaldo Rosales, director of ECLAC’s International Trade and Integration Division, Li’s speech gave him the impression that China’s cooperation with Latin America is “wholehearted and sincere.”
The transition of China-Latin America cooperation and Li’s proposal of the three-times-three model, he said, have shown that China is ready to strengthen its investment in Latin America while paying attention to integration with local communities and protection of the environment.
The upgrade from economic and trade cooperation to production capacity cooperation and investment will address the needs of today’s Latin American and global economies, which are undergoing a transition, Rosales said.
China is the second largest trade partner of Latin America. In 2014, two-way trade hit $263.6 billion, a 20-fold increase from 2000. China’s investment in the region also surged to more than 80 billion dollars last year.
Li’s visit came four months after China and Latin American countries agreed in Beijing to increase their trade to $500 billion by 2025. China also pledged to bring its accumulative investment in the region to $250 billion by then.