President Piñera signs plan to deepen relations with China: “We have moved towards strengthening and fostering friendship and collaboration”
The roadmap for relations between Chile and China for the next three years involves the implementation of an updated Free Trade Agreement and the development of areas such as electromobility, 5G technology, space policy and collaboration in the areas of science, technology, innovation and enterprise.
On Wednesday, the first day of his State Visit to China, Chilean President Sebastián Piñera highlighted the strengthening of collaboration between the two countries and the importance of new broad agreements with his nation’s foremost trading partner.
President Piñera was received with honors first thing in the morning at the Great Hall of the People, where he met with President Xi Jinping and signed the 2019-2022 Plan of Action, which covers 14 areas. The plan is meant to deepen the relationship between the two countries, establishing agreements to defend trade and promote exports.
“We signed very important agreements for the quality of life of the people of Chile,” President Piñera said. Also present were Foreign Affairs Minister Roberto Ampuero and members of Congress, who are accompanying him on his tour of Asia.
In regard to the economic aspect of the roadmap, Piñera said that a new Free Trade Agreement is to be implemented that will expand access to China for Chilean products, especially those from the agricultural sector. He also reiterated that it is important that China and the United States reach a trade agreement.
The leaders discussed the need to strengthen cooperation in science, technology, innovation and enterprise, as well as digitalization, electromobility and the 5G network.
For its part, China committed to actively participate in and promote the success of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting and the COP25 Climate Change Summit, the most important event of its kind, both of which will be held in Chile later this year.
On his first day in China, President Piñera also met with Prime Minister Li Keqiang, with whom he discussed economic relations between the two countries and addressed the importance of promoting greater Chinese investment in Chile in transportation, energy and infrastructure.
He also met with the leader of the National People’s Congress, Li Zhanshu, with whom he discussed how important it is that the relationship between the two nations go beyond the commercial and include cultural matters, increased academic exchange and professional training.
“We have moved forward in our efforts to strengthen and foster the friendship and collaboration that we have enjoyed with China over the past 50 years,” Piñera said.
Chile and China have a solid relationship. In 1970, Chile was the first South American country to establish diplomatic relations with China. In 2005, it was a pioneer in the region when it signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Asian powerhouse. As a result of that agreement, trade between the two countries is seven times greater than it was 12 years ago.
China is currently Chile’s foremost trading partner. This relationship represents 28% of the country’s total exchange with other nations, which is equivalent to US$42.791 billion.
On Thursday, President Piñera will participate in the inauguration of a Digital Economy and Innovation Forum organized by Chile’s export promotion bureau ProChile, as well as a tasting of Chilean wines and meetings with business owners.
President Piñera traveled to China with First Lady Cecilia Morel, Foreign Affairs Minister Roberto Ampuero and a group of members of Congress as part of a tour of Asia that also includes South Korea.