Chile and China have celebrated 40 years of bilateral diplomatic relations at a reception hosted by the Chilean embassy in Beijing.
President Sebastián Piñera, making his first visit to China since taking office, paid tribute to the solid ties between the two nations at the reception in the Chinese capital, which was also attended by Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong.
Councilor Liu noted that Chile had been the first Latin American country to establish diplomatic links with China, Xinhua, China’s state news agency, reported. Councilor Liu said the Chinese government attached great importance to further developing relations with Chile.
Chile is China’s second largest trade partner in Latin America while China is Chile’s largest trade partner. The two nations signed a free trade agreement in 2006 that has seen exports increase significantly since.
For example, in the first six months of 2010 Chile’s exports to China totalled around US$9 billion – a 60 percent increase over the same period in 2009. Around 95 percent of the Chilean goods enter China tariff-free.
President Piñera said Chile would continue to work with China to further develop cooperation and investment between the two nations.
Following a separate meeting with China’s chief legislator, Wu Bangguo, Wu said China regarded Chile as a very important country in Latin America.
Chile has also signed a free trade agreement with Malaysia, its first such agreement with a country from within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, that will see tariffs lifted on thousands of goods traded between the two nations.