Chile and China to strengthen cooperation across the Pacific

President Piñera met with his Chinese counterpart this month with the goal of furthering ties and building new connections between the two countries.

Chile and China have had a strong relationship for decades. The Andean nation was the first in South America to establish relations with China in 1970, and since then the relationship has continued to develop and strengthen.

President Sebastián Piñera and President Xi Jinping met for a bilateral meeting as the world’s economic leaders gathered in Bali for the 21st meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). A strategic partnership and a new free trade agreement between Chile and China were drawn up at the meeting.

While meeting with Piñera, Xi noted that Chile has been taking the lead in Latin American-Chinese relations. He also brought up the success of Chile and other regional leaders in creating the Pacific Alliance adding that he looks forward to working with the regional group in the future.

Among the various agreements and cooperation goals discussed between the two leaders were both economic and cultural cooperation plans.

Regarding the business sector, mining and trade between Chile and China is as important as ever, with Chile being the largest producer of copper in the world, and China being its largest market for this metal export. they also discussed new technologies and innovative ways to improve the industry.

Chile has been making major strides to incorporate sustainable and green energy practices into their major industries, including mining. In fact, the country’s arid north where the vast majority of Chile’s mines are located, is a hotbed for solar technology with some of the world’s best energy firms, including Chinese company Sky Solar,  head to the desert to set up massive solar farms.

Along side these business and technology topics were discussions about increasing cultural exchanges between Chile and China. The fourth point in Xi’s five point proposal to Piñera was about creating people-to-people exchanges, particularly with the countries’ youth. Chile already has this a similar with New Zealand which has met with high praise praise and enthusiasm.

This latest agreement with China comes as Chile continues to assert itself as a player on the world stage. In a recent ranking by Forbes magazine Chile was named one of the best places for business partly for its many  bilateral or regional trade agreements, which it claims to have more of than any other country. This month alone Chile has sign agreements with Thailand, India and now China.