There’s no doubt that China is the big dog among the emerging markets of Asia. However, the country is keen to extend its influence to emerging markets in other parts of the world, especially Latin America.
Next week, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will officially visit China’s four major economic trade partners in Latin America, said Vice Foreign Minister Wang Chao and Assistant Minister of Commerce Tong Daochi on Wednesday.
Li’s visit, from May 18 to 26, is to deepen China’s commitment to diversifying trade with Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Chile. The four countries made up 57% of the total trade volume between China and Latin America in 2014. Li’s visit will focus on bilateral industrial and technology cooperation, infrastructure development, human resources training, and financial support.
Brazil is China’s largest trading partner in Latin America. Last year, China invested $18.94 billion in the country. The two cooperate on agriculture, mining, energy, minerals, electric power, industry, equipment manufacturing, infrastructure, finance, and service industry, Tong said.
“It is not just about resources. China’s trade with and investment in Brazil is showing a tendency of diversification in areas of manufacturing and aviation,” Tong said.
During his visit to Brazil, Li will attend a business summit and meet Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, the president of the Federal Senate of the Brazilian National Congress and president of the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies. He is also expected to sign agreements relating to politics, trade, finance, technology and agriculture.
Although they’ve had diplomatic ties for 35 years, Colombia just recently became a much bigger trading partner with China. In 2014, bilateral trade volume reached $15.64 billion, Tong said. Li will meet with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to sign agreements on investment, finance, infrastructure, manufacturing, agriculture, communication, culture and education.
Peru’s trade volume with China reached $14.32 billion in 2014 in the wake of the signing of a 5-year bilateral free trade pact. Last year, China’s investment in Peru hit $14.24 billion, Tong said. In addition to holding talks with Peruvian President Ollanta Humala Tasso, Li will meet with Chinese enterprises in Peru.
China and Peru are expected to sign agreements relating to trade, infrastructure, technology, the aerospace industry and communication. Tong said the two countries will also sign cooperation pacts on industrial capacity cooperation, access of agriculture products, and human resources training.
In 2005, Chile became the first Latin American country to sign a free trade pact with China. Since then the bilateral trade has seen rapid growth, hitting $34.1 billion in 2014. Chile and China have had diplomatic ties for 45 years.
Li will hold talks with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet Jeria and deliver a speech at the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Santiago, Wang said. The two countries are expected to sign agreements on economic and trade.