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Chilean ambassador: Chile means great opportunity to China

By Huang Yehua (People's Daily Online)

15:09, June 27, 2012

Chilean ambassador to China, Mr. Luis Schmidt Montes in an interview with People's Daily Online. (People's Daily/ Yang Mu)

Edited and Translated by Yao Chun, People's Daily Online

“China has recognized that Latin America is a strategic area and is paying more and more attention to the cooperation with Latin America and Caribbean. There is still a great growth potential in investment and cooperation between China and Chile,” said Chilean ambassador to China, Mr. Luis Schmidt Montes, in an interview with People's Daily Online.

In Latin America, China mainly invests in Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Bolivia. Some of these countries are much smaller than Chile in terms of territorial area and economy. China has invested 2 billion U.S. dollars in Peru and only 100 million U.S. dollars in Chile last year. Meanwhile the investment amount of Chile in China has reached 3 million U.S. dollars which was a sharp contrast, according to Mr. Montes.

Promoting the people-to-people friendship is key to development of bilateral ties

Nearly on the other side of the earth, Chile is far from China, but that is not the main problem hampering bilateral investment and commercial ties. Promoting the people-to-people friendship is key to development of bilateral ties, said Mr. Montes.

Mr. Montes said that it was the common feeling of China and Chile. He mentioned that a few days ago a Chinese entrepreneur said: “We don’t run business in Chile not because it is a remote country but because we don’t know the current situation in Chile such as Chilean economic and tax policy, not to mention those big investment projects.”

Mr. Montes said as Chilean ambassador to China he has always dedicated himself to promote Chinese people’s understanding of Chile.

Chile means great opportunity to China

At present the per capita income of Chile has reached 17,000 U.S. dollars. According to economists, the number will hit 22,000 to 23, 000 U.S. dollars in 2015, 2016 or 2017. By then Chile will join the ranks of developed countries. In order to achieve this goal, Chile needs to attract foreign investments. In fact Chile has already become one of the top 10 destinations of foreign investment all over the world. But the investment mainly comes from the United States, Europe and some Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea.

Chile has the most open and preferential investment climate. China owns a great amount of disposable capital and is willing to invest in Latin America. With so complementary conditions it will be incomprehensible if China does not invest in Chile, said Mr. Montes.

The problem is that the two countries have not had a deep mutual understanding. Chile has not explained clearly its investment projects to Chinese investors, and it lacks experience in doing large-scale promotion activities, he said.

Chile means business opportunities to China. In the next six or seven years the whole investment of Latin America in mining industry will be 300 billion U.S. dollars. Though Chile is only a small country in this area, it accounts for 110 billion U.S. dollars, more than a third of the total amount of Latin America.

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