China would like to seize current favorable opportunities to further boost the economic and trade relations with Latin American countries, an official with China's Ministry of Commerce told Xinhua Tuesday.
The official gave the interview in anticipation of Chinese President Hu Jintao's upcoming visit to the Latin American countries of Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Cuba.
The economies of China and Latin American countries complement each other and share broad prospects in economic and trade cooperation, said the official.
He also noted that China attaches great importance to trade ties with Latin American countries and is willing to explore new channels and approaches to promote bilateral economic development.
"I believe Sino-Latin American cooperation in trade and other fields will stride forward by the joint efforts from both sides," the official said.
According to the latest Chinese official statistics, the bilateral trade volume between China and Latin American countries exceeded 25 billion US dollars for the first time last year, soaring to 26.8 billion US dollars, up 50.4 percent over that of the previous year.
Local experts said that China's importation of soybeans, iron ores and copper from Latin America has been growing rapidly in recent years, which works positively for the economic recovery of Latin American countries.
"China, in its process of rapid economic growth and integration into the world economy, also made contributions to the economies of Latin American countries," said Jiang Shixue, deputy director with the Institute of Latin-American Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
In 2003 China's import volume increased 40 percent, while its import from Latin America soared 79.1 percent, the highest growth rate among all parts of the world, Chinese official Statistics showed.
Chinese enterprises also invested 800 million US dollars in various projects in Latin American countries by the end of 2003. Latin American countries have poured about 30 billion US dollars into China.