Chile and China to double bilateral trade by 2015

The world’s biggest copper producer and its second largest economy to reach US$60 billion in trade, as the Pacific nations sign 11 new trade deals.

Bilateral trade between China, the world’s largest metals consumer, and number one copper producer, Chile, will double to as much as US$60 billion by 2015.

The surge in commercial relations was announced by Chilean President Sebastián Piñera and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during the latter’s visit to Chile in June.

«The president and I have agreed to double bilateral trade by 2015, to reach US$60 billion in volume,» Wen said during a joint press conference with Piñera.

The Chinese premier’s visit was aimed at increasing his nation’s investments in Chile and boosting strong commercial relations between the two countries, which already share a free trade agreement.

Ending a six-day continental tour in Santiago, Wen signed 11 new trade agreements with Piñera, including a deal which will give investors security for their investments in either of the two countries.

“This meeting has allowed us to make great steps between the collaboration of both countries.” Piñera said. “Some will facilitate investments for Chileans in China and others for Chinese in Chile”.

More than just copper

China’s voracious demand for natural resources has already seen trade between the two Pacific nations hit US$30 billion, much of it fueled by Chile’s copper exports.

But for the Andean nation, the new agreements are about moving beyond the current arrangement, and promoting its booming wine, salmon, fresh produce and forestry industries.

«These are two countries that can perfectly complement each other, most of all because Chile is a highly rich country, intensive in commodities that China is going to need to continue growing at the same rhythm,» said Benjamin Sierra, financial markets economist at Scotiabank in Santiago told Reuters.

Immediately following the official visit, Chile’s export promotion agency, ProChile, announced plans by Chinese renewable energy company Sky Solar, the China Development Bank and Chilean industrial group Sigdo Koppers to create a US$900 million solar energy in the country’s north, an investment which will be the biggest to date by a Chinese firm’s biggest in the Andean nation.

For further details on the Chinese premier’s visit to Santiago, see the Santiago Times report.