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Interview: APEC meeting to further develop China-Latin American economic links
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19:38, November 11, 2008

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The 16th leaders' meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC) in Lima, Peru will mark a further development of economic ties between China and Latin America, a senior UN official said on Monday.

This year's event, scheduled for Nov. 22 and Nov. 23, will witness a series of Chinese elements, Osvaldo Rosales, director of the International Trade and Integration Division for the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), which is based in Santiago, Chile, told Xinhua in a phone interview.

A free trade agreement (FTA) between China and Peru, which has been under discussion during the last weeks, will be signed during the summit, said Rosales, adding that the negotiations for an FTA between China and Costa Rica, due to kick off next year, will be officially announced during the summit as well.

What's more, the presence of Chinese President Hu Jintao at the summit as well as his state visits to Costa Rica, Cuba and Peru will undoubtedly bring the ties to a new level.

"This is a time to think about what could be presented at this stage of development of ties, after Hu gave a boost to the commercial ties between China and Latin America at the 2004 APEC summit in Chile," Rosales said.

In 2004, Hu attended the APEC summit and visited Latin America for the first time, and since then, China-Latin American relations,in the economic field in particular, have developed rapidly.

"We must remember that when Hu visited Latin America in 2004, he proposed to have the trade volume surpass 100 billion U.S. dollars in 2010, and that target was met as early as in 2007, whenthe trade volume reached 104 billion dollars," Rosales said.

The business ties have been further consolidated during the 2ndChina-Latin American Entrepreneur Summit held in October in Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang in northeastern China, he said.

Now that the trade volume has been showing significant progress, it is time to enhance investment, said Rosales.

He called for more Chinese investment in Latin America, pointing out that the "Chinese bank is the one with more international reserves" and that Chinese investors are ready to invest when there are opportunities.

However, at present the Latin American countries do not have enough projects for investors, which makes it difficult for the investment to come, he said.

Regarding the current global financial crisis, Rosales said that China is already helping with its own economic growth by keeping the prices of basic products low.

"The best help that China could give to Latin America is to keep a growth over 8 percent," he said.

Commenting on China's 30 years of reform and opening up, Rosales hailed the "Chinese economic reform "spectacular."

"With an average growth of about 10 percent during the past 10 years and today's export level and technology power, China's reform proves itself to have 'hit the nail on the head'," Rosales said.

Source: Xinhua

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