China becomes Chile’s largest trade partner, assisted by FTA: Commerce Ministry
Published: Dec 10, 2020 05:28 PM

Photo taken on June 6, 2020 shows the electric buses manufactured by Chinese company BYD heading for Santiago from the Port San Antonio in Chile. (BYD Company Limited/Handout via Xinhua)

China has become Chile's largest trade partner, source of imports, destination of exports and biggest buyer of its agricultural produce, which is facilitated by the China-Chile free trade agreement, and the two countries are eyeing for huge potential in extending bilateral trade and economic cooperation, a spokesperson from China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said on Thursday.

Over the past two consecutive years, trade between China and Chile surpassed $40 billion each year. This year, the two countries have jointly combated COVID-19 while expanding bilateral trade value by 5.1 percent from January to October year-on-year. In particular, China's imports from Chile during the period soared by 10 percent compared with last year. 

Driven up by closer cooperation brought about by the Belt and Road Initiative and China-Chile free trade agreement, bilateral trade value has grown nearly five times since the free trade pact between the two countries took effective in 2006. 

Following the upgrade to the bilateral free trade agreement in March 2019, the number of products exempted from tariffs in the two countries hit 54. 

At the 3rd China International Import Expo (CIIE), the intended transaction turnover of three Chilean firms has reached $286 million, up 16 percent year-on-year. 

The two countries are now extending their cooperation in infrastructure, medical care, agriculture and energy. So far, the value of contracts signed by Chinese firms in Chile has surpassed $2.5 billion, according to the commerce ministry official. 

"China and Chile share strong economic complementarity, solid cooperation basis, and significant potential to strengthen their cooperation," the spokesperson noted, adding China is willing to work together with Chile to strengthen links between the two countries.

2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations. Chile was the first South American country to establish diplomatic relations with China, the first Latin America country signing bilateral agreement when China joined WTO; and the first Latin America country acknowledging China's full market economy status; also, the first Latin America country signing bilateral free trade pact which has since been upgraded.  

Global Times