China, Chile ink multi-billion-USD currency swap deal

2015-05-25 23:36:45 GMT2015-05-26 07:36:45(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English
Premier Li Keqiang is welcomed by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet at the presidential palace in Santiago on May 25. The two leaders also watched a parade of honor guards.Premier Li Keqiang is welcomed by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet at the presidential palace in Santiago on May 25. The two leaders also watched a parade of honor guards.

SANTIAGO -- China and Chile on Monday signed a host of cooperation deals including a multi-billion-US-dollar currency swap pact as the two countries move to enhance their trade and financial ties.

The latest development came after a meeting between visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, who jointly witnessed the signing of a series of bilateral business contracts and governmental accords in areas including politics, trade, finance, mining, agriculture, production capacity and science and technology.

China agreed to grant a quota of 50 billion yuan ($8.1 billion) to yuan qualified foreign institutional investors in the Southern American country, according to a joint declaration issued here Monday after their meeting.

The three-year currency swap deal worth 22 billion yuan ($3.5 billion) signed between the central banks of China and Chile is aimed at promoting the bilateral trade and investment, according to a statement on the website of the People's Bank of China, China's central bank.

The two countries agreed to explore the possibility of upgrading their decade-old free trade agreement (FTA) to further promote bilateral trade and investment, said the joint declaration.

"The two sides believe that it is necessary to explore the possibility of upgrading the FTA to push forward the lasting development of the bilateral trade cooperation," said the document, adding that teams from the two countries will start the work no later than August.

Analysts say that an FTA upgrading is expected to cover more products and bring more tax cuts within the current framework.

Chile was the first South American country to establish diplomatic ties and the first in the region to sign an FTA agreement with China.

Two-way trade between China and Chile reached $34.1 billion last year, four times greater than before the signing of the pact in 2005.

China is also Chile's biggest trade partner as well as largest buyer of copper products.

When meeting with the press, Li said that China had launched the Chilean branch of the China Construction Bank as an official RMB clearing bank, the first such organ in South America.

The two sides had also signed a pact to avoid dual taxation to facilitate bilateral trade and investment, he said.

Li noted that China stands ready to encourage Chinese enterprises to participate in the construction of Chile's "two-ocean tunnel," which connects the Pacific and the Atlantic with the world's second largest economy's rich experience in building tunnels located in the earthquake-prone areas.

Against the backdrop of the slow recovery of the global economy, the deepening of cooperation between China and Chile in areas such as finance, taxation and production capacity will promote two-way trade, investment and financing, the premier said.

In his six-point proposal to promote China-Chile practical cooperation, Li urged the two countries to advance the FTA upgrading, deepen financial cooperation to support production capacity cooperation between China and Chile and between China and the Latin America as a whole, as well as strengthen cooperation in industries where the two countries enjoy competitive edges and in infrastructure construction.

He also called on the two nations to strengthen communication and coordination in regional and international affairs and boost people-to-people exchanges.

For her part, Bachelet hailed Li's current visit as another landmark in the development of China-Chile relations.

She said that Chile is willing to consolidate political mutual trust, deepen cooperation with China in FTA agreement, enhance two-way investment and facilitate personnel exchanges so as to promote the overall bilateral relations.

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The joint declaration said that the Chinese and Chilean governments also agreed to "actively conduct production capacity cooperation and expand investment in mining, agriculture, infrastructure construction, energy and manufacturing to promote industrial connection and integration."

The two countries will continue to support each other on major issues concerning their respective interests and enhance mutual understanding and trust, it said.

Li's visit comes four months after the first ministerial meeting of the Forum of China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States in Beijing.

At the meeting, China and Latin American countries agreed to increase their trade to $500 billion by 2025. China also pledged to bring its accumulative investment in the region to $250 billion by then.

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of China-Chile diplomatic ties.

According to the joint declaration, the two countries agreed to expand cooperation in such areas as culture, education, tourism, youth exchanges, antarctic scientific research, astronomical observation and earthquake prevention and disaster reduction.

They also agreed to strengthen cooperation under the framework of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, of which both are members, and simplify visa application process to promote tourism and personnel exchanges, the document said.

Chile is the last leg of Li's four-nation tour to Latin America, which has already taken him to Brazil, Colombia and Peru.

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