Agreement signed during visit to Chile by the Vice-President of the National Development and Reform Commission of the People’s Republic of China, Zhang Xiaoqiang.
Chile and China began a new stage in their economic relations with the signing of an agreement between Zhang Xiaoqiang, Vice-President of the National Development and Reform Commission of the People’s Republic of China, and Pablo Longueira, Minister of the Economy, Development and Tourism, during a visit to Chile by a delegation of Chinese government officials. The document forms part of the commitments undertaken by President Sebastián Piñera and Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao during the latter’s visit to Chile in June.
Under the agreement between the two ministries, Matías Mori, Executive Vice-President of the Foreign Investment Committee was named as the Chilean representative to lead conversations and coordinate dialog between the Ministries of Economy, Energy, Mining, Public Works and Transport and Telecommunications.
“This meeting is of great importance to Chile as it marks the path to deepening investment between our countries” said Economy Minister Pablo Longueira. He added that while diplomatic and trade relations between the two countries remain excellent, Chinese investment in Chile remains low.
According to CIE figures, China invested just US$94.7 million in Chile between 1974 and 2011, the equivalent to just 0.1% of total foreign direct investment in Chile during this period. Last year, CIE received investment requests totalling US$205 million and this year, the committee expects to receive requests for around US$1.3 billion.
“Since 2010, CIE has implemented a strategy aimed at attracting investment from Asia, and China in particular, which is beginning to show results. Our website, information and publications are all available in Chinese and we also have a Chinese staff to work with investors” highlighted CIE’s Executive Vice-President Matías Mori.
This first meeting was also attended by Energy Minister Jorge Bunster, the deputy ministers for the Economy and Tourism, Tomas Flores and Jacqueline Plass respectively, as well as representatives from the Ministries of Public Works, Mining, and Foreign Relations, the Chilean Copper Commission (COCHILCO) and the Office of International Economic Relations (DIRECON), who presented the main challenges and projects in their respective sectors.
“We are now very well informed about Chile’s development strategy and its priority projects. And your interest to encourage and attract Chinese investment to Chile has been made clear to us” Vice-President Zhang said at the end of the meeting.
He added that Chinese foreign investment totalled US$60 billion and that Latin America had seen the biggest increase, of almost 90% compared with the previous year. “There is significant potential for mutual investment in the future and we can complement each other in a number of areas, especially mining, energy, infrastructure and transport” he concluded.