- Title: China's Xi seeks more cooperation with Pacific Alliance bloc
- Date: 22nd November 2016
- Summary: ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** VARIOUS OF BACHELET AND XI WITH MEDIA
- Embargoed: 7th December 2016 23:40
- Keywords: Chile China President Michelle Bachelet President Xi Jinping economy trade bilateral relations
- Location: SANTIAGO, CHILE
- City: SANTIAGO, CHILE
- Country: Chile
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00259J3NET
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday (November 22) said China is willing to strengthen its dialogue and cooperation with Latin America's Pacific Alliance trade bloc, during an official visit to Chile to boost bilateral ties.
Xi's visit to Santiago comes after APEC where Chile alongside countries like Colombia, the United States and Peru vowed to fight protectionism.
Santiago and Beijing have enjoyed a decade of a free trade deal between the two nations, with China taking advantage of Chile's exports of its rich mineral resources.
Speaking in the Chilean capital, President Michelle Bachelet said free trade between the countries has been of mutual benefit.
"As you all know, ten years ago our countries signed a free trade agreement which has brought very significant benefits to both sides. Currently, China is our main economic partner and Chile is China's third business partner in Latin America. Today, 97% of Chilean merchandise enters China duty free and Chile has freed up the entry of 98% of Chinese products," she said.
Xi has vowed to further deepen trade ties between Chile and China.
"I have made this visit to Chile because, like President (Bachelet), I come in search of friendship and cooperation. President Bachelet and I have just had a fruitful meeting, exchanging in depth opinions on Chinese-Chilean relations and other issues of common interest, reaching important consensus in areas to promote development in the longer term with bilateral ties. We have decided to strengthen bilateral relations with the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and turn a new page in the links between China and Chile. We have agreed to strengthen this exchange at a high level and to consolidate mutual political trust," said Xi.
The Chinese president's Chile visit is timely and comes as the world looks to Beijing to lead on global free trade.
U.S. president-elect Donald Trump has promised to pull out of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, and also threatened to impose steep tariffs against China and Mexico.
Whilst China is not a member of the TPP, it has touted a stronger trade relationship with the Pacific Alliance bloc since the APEC summit.
"We agree that as important members of the large Asia-Pacific family, China and Chile should push the fruits of the APEC summits of recent years, including the APEC Summit in Lima which has just finished, so as to push for the development of a free trade zone for the Asia Pacific, to build an open world economy and to make greater contributions to the stability and prosperity of our world," added Xi.
China is not part of the TPP and has been pushing an alternative vision of free trade in Asia under the so-called Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which does not currently include countries in the Americas.
But in Santiago Xi did confirm China's economic interest in Latin America and the Caribbean nations.
"We have also exchanged various points of views regarding relations between Chile, Latin America and the Caribbean. China has not changed (its position) on the development of Latin America and the Caribbean. China firmly supports the efforts of the countries in this region to defend the stability, unity and development of this region," he added.
Last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged $250 billion in investment in Latin America over the next ten years as part of a drive to boost resource-hungry China's influence in a region which has long dominated by the United States.
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