World / Latin America

Chile Week promotes China-Chile trade

By Zhang Yuchen ( Updated: 2015-09-01 14:55

The largest ever delegation from Chile to give a whole week of promotion in China presented its business goals at the celebration of the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Around 150 businesspeople and officials came to celebrate the first edition of Chile Week in Shanghai and Beijing on Aug 26-28. 65 of the delegation are from the private sector and the rest are representatives from ten different ministries of Chile. During the week, about 30 trade promotion activities were held in the two major cities.

"Our idea is to show the Chinese stakeholders and private sectors (Chinese companies and government) that we are interested in our relations. We are trusted partners to do business in Chile,"said Andrés Rebolledo, Vice Minister for Trade and General Director of International Economic Relations.

In 2014, the trade volume between China and Chile reached $32.7 billion, accounting for 24 percent of Chile's foreign trade volume. Since 2002, as estimated, the current trade balance is slightly inclined to Chile and in 2014, there was a trade surplus of $4.204 billion.

At the same time, from 2002 to 2014, the average annual growth rate of bilateral trade grew by 24 percent, with Chile's exports to China increasing by an average of 25 percebnt annually. Of the 20 billion dollars worth of exports to China each year, 70 percent was copper.

But the main goal for the delegation is to attract more Chinese investment to Chile, mainly in two areas: infrastructure and energy, said Jorge Heine, the Chilean Ambassador in China. By the end of 2014, the investment from China amounted to $308 million, only 0.3 percent of the total foreign investment in the country.

The profit to be gained from investments in Chile is not high while the competition is quite tough, said Chen Taotao, executive director of Luksic Group.

But Chile is more optimistic about opportunities for cooperation. Former Chilean president H.E. Eduardo Frei said it was the best time to enhance bilateral ties between the two countries and he believed Chinese companies have adequate capacity.

The series of events in the week also take place to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Chile-China Free Trade Agreement, the first FTA China signed with a single country. Since this January, all products from Chile are sold duty free in China, which benefit Chile's main products of fresh grapes, wine, fish, frozen trout, salmon, olive oil, refining iron and so on.

The Latin American country is also looking at the e-commerce strategy in the market. During the week, Chile and the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba signed an agreement to promote Chilean products on platforms that the company has on the Internet, said Andres Rebolledo.

Another challenge is to promote the private sector which is also active in the market. Among 984 Chilean companies in China, almost 50 percent are small or medium sized companies but the proportion of non-copper products is very small.

Chile Week follows the May visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the country. During the visit, the two countries agreed to avoid double taxation which opens up more opportunities to future projects.

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