Chinese Premier Li Keqiang addresses the opening of an economic and trade seminar marking the 45th anniversary of the establishment of China-Chile diplomatic relations and the seventh meeting of the China-Chile Business Council in Santiago, capital of Chile, May 26, 2015. (Xinhua/Ding Lin)
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said in Santiago Tuesday that China is willing to expand bilateral trade with Chile, unlock the free-trade dividends and continue to upgrade the China-Chile free trade area.[Special coverage]
Li made the remarks at the opening of an economic and trade seminar marking the 45th anniversary of the establishment of China-Chile diplomatic relations and the seventh meeting of the China-Chile Business Council.
Noting that this year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties and the 10th anniversary of the birth of the free trade area between the two countries, Li said China and Chile enjoy traditional friendship and China's relationship with Chile is among the best between China and Latin American countries.
Li said he hoped the two sides would consolidate mutual trust, deepen cooperation and take infrastructure construction as a foothold in strengthening production capacity cooperation, namely industrial and investment cooperation.
The two countries should promote cooperation in equipment manufacturing, focus on development of the real economy, jointly respond to the downward pressure of economy and promote world economic recovery, he said.
Li pointed out that the China-Chile Free Trade Agreement is between the world's largest developing country and a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which means that the two economies are highly complementary, each with its own advantages.
"We should hold high the banner of free trade and resolutely oppose protectionism," said the Chinese premier.
China is committed to maintaining the current reasonable and effective mechanisms and rules of international economics and trade, and is willing to constructively participate in and promote related reforms in order to improve the multilateral trading system and promote liberalization and facilitation of bilateral and regional trade, said Li.
Li stressed that China is willing to participate in Chile's infrastructure construction in different ways such as official and non-official cooperation, franchising and turnkey projects.
During Li's visit, the two countries signed a currency swap agreement and an agreement for China to set up a renminbi clearing bank in Santiago, the first in Latin America. The premier said the two countries should seize the opportunity to strengthen financial cooperation and build a financial service platform to provide strong support to production capacity cooperation between China and Latin America.
Li also called on the two countries to deepen people-to-people and cultural exchanges, share governance experience and strengthen exchanges on disaster monitoring, early warning and relief. He also urged the two countries to boost cooperation and contribute to the protection of the environment and biodiversity in Latin America.
Entrepreneurs from China and Chile should seize the opportunities to work together for bilateral economic cooperation and exchanges and make greater contributions to the economic development in China, Latin America and the world, said the Chinese premier.
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, who was with Li at the function, said that Chile-China relations have been constantly developing with increasingly closer exchanges and cooperation in the past 45 years.
She said her country is willing to work with China to upgrade the bilateral free trade agreement and take full advantage of the agreement on the avoidance of double taxation.
She called on the two countries to expand mutual investment and strengthen cooperation in infrastructure construction, energy and other areas, deepen cultural exchanges, expand financial cooperation and promote the internationalization of RMB in Latin America, so as to jointly lift the bilateral relations to a new height.
Chile is the last leg of Li's four-nation tour to Latin America, which has already taken him to Brazil, Colombia and Peru.