Is China's development threatening Latin America?

2018-02-13 02:18:28 GMT2018-02-13 10:18:28(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

BEIJING, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- Just as the Chinese engage inshopping for the upcoming Lunar New Year, on the other side of theglobe the busiest season for Chilean cherry farmers and exportersis starting.

Like many other Latin American products, the juicy fruit hasbecome a favorite of China's rapidly expanding middle class. Today,more than 80 percent of Chile's cherry exports enter the Chinesemarket, a strong contribution to surging bilateral trade.

In 2017, the total trade volume between China and Latin Americancountries rose 18.8 percent to nearly 260 billion U.S. dollars.Trade structure is improving as China is importing moreagricultural products and manufactured goods from the region.

Meanwhile, China's direct investment in Latin America isestimated at more than 25 billion dollars, accounting for 15percent of the total foreign direct investment in the region lastyear.

The solid cooperation and benefits to the Latin American peoplestand as a perfect defense against the accusation of U.S. Secretaryof State Rex Tillerson, who said earlier this month that China was"using economic statecraft to pull the region into its orbit."

It also explained why Tillerson's assertion found little supportduring and after his five-nation trip to Latin America and theCaribbean.

In an article published last week, Argentina's leading newspaperClarin said the Argentine government had defended its links withChina.

"At this moment, China has a very important role with all LatinAmerican countries, both in the commercial and financial andinvestment fields," it said, quoting Diego Guelar, the Argentineambassador to China.

Meanwhile, Peru's Foreign Trade and Tourism Minister EduardoFerreyros also said that Tillerson's doubts about China wereattempts at deflection.

"China is a good trade partner," said Ferreyros. "We're happywith the results of the trade agreement."

While the United States asserts itself as the "steadiest,strongest, and most enduring partner" of Latin American countries,China, on the contrary, has always pursued win-win cooperationbased on equality, reciprocity, openness and inclusiveness.

"The development of China-Latin America ties does not target orreject any third party, nor does it affect the interests of thirdparties in Latin America," said Foreign Ministry spokesperson HuaChunying earlier this month.

Chinese enterprises created 1.8 million jobs in Latin Americabetween 1995 and 2016, according to data from the InternationalLabor Organization. They have invested in sectors likecommunication, real estate, food and renewable energy to improvelocal infrastructure and consumption.

"For Latin America, China's development brings opportunitiesrather than threats," said Mexican Ambassador to China JoseBernal.

"We have noticed opportunities to strengthen economic and tradecooperation, tap into the Chinese market and deepen mutuallybeneficial cooperation between the two sides," Bernal said.

At the second ministerial meeting for the China and theCommunity of Latin American and Caribbean States Forum in Chilelast month, representatives to the forum passed three outcomedocuments, including a special declaration on the Belt and RoadInitiative.

"It showed a high degree of consensus by Latin Americancountries on deepening cooperation with China," said Hua, who notedthat both sides were facing common tasks of development, andcooperation between China and Latin America was based on mutualinterests and needs. Enditem