Trade with Latin America set to soar

November 05, 2023

China, Latin America, and the Caribbean states will build a community with a shared future and further strengthen economic and trade cooperation, officials and business leaders said on Thursday.

They made the remarks during the two-day 16th China-Latin America Business Summit in Beijing. This was China’s maiden institutional economic and trade promotion platform for Latin America that was held for the first time in the national capital.

“We will continue to strengthen cooperation with the Inter-American Development Bank and drive the development of China-Latin American economic and trade cooperation toward a larger scale, broader fields and higher level,” said Ren Hongbin, president of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.

Beijing is building itself into an international center of consumption, and the city will continuously improve the scale and quality of economic and trade cooperation with Latin America, hoping to jointly deepen cross-border tourism cooperation, said Yin Yong, mayor of Beijing.

During the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held last month in Beijing, Chinese and Latin American enterprises signed 26 project cooperation agreements involving a total value of $6.23 billion.

Latin America is one of the key regions for cooperation between China and developing countries. Currently, China is the second-largest trade partner of Latin America, and Latin America is the second-largest destination for Chinese foreign investment, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Last year, the total value of trade between China and Latin America reached $485.8 billion, up 7.7 percent year-on-year. China’s exports of mechanical equipment and new-energy products to Latin America have maintained rapid growth, the Commerce Ministry said.

Representatives of China and 26 Latin American and Caribbean states attended the summit. During the opening ceremony, the China-Latin America and the Caribbean Business Cooperation Beijing Initiative was unveiled.

According to the initiative, the two sides will boost exchanges and cooperation in digital economy, including digital transformation of traditional industries, and advance agricultural cooperation, as the two sides are highly complementary in agriculture, and the prospect for cooperation is promising.

China and Latin American countries will also reinforce cooperation in culture and tourism by supporting tourism cooperation and developing new sustainable tourism routes and products.

The two sides will also tap the potential of the green economy by strengthening cooperation in clean energy, low-carbon transportation, energy-saving buildings, green technology and climate actions, as per the initiative’s proposed roadmap.

Ana Maria Ibanez, vice-president of the Inter-American Development Bank, said she is impressed by Beijing’s transformation since she last visited China 18 years ago.

Latin America aims to become a clean energy powerhouse and help the world meet its net-zero goals. Clean energy transformation requires minerals, and Latin America is expected to export minerals worth $50 billion annually by 2050, she said.