As weighty political meetings held annually across China, the local "two sessions" are drawing more attention from abroad.
Local "two sessions," the annual meetings of provincial-level lawmakers and political advisors, discuss local economic and social development in the last year and make plans for the year ahead.
The "two sessions" meetings of southwest China's Chongqing Municipality were held from Jan. 20 to 25. More than 20 consular officials from 12 countries including the Netherlands, Italy, Ethiopia, and Uruguay were invited to watch the opening ceremony through live broadcasting at the Chongqing Foreign Affairs Office. For COVID-19 reasons, they were not invited to the site.
Wearing a mask, Agustina Casavalle Bonilla, acting consul general of Uruguay in Chongqing, listened carefully to the Chongqing 2020 government work report delivered at the opening session of the municipal people's congress, while writing down the main points in her notebook.
"This is the second time I am attending the local two sessions of China. I have learnt much more about Chongqing's development and its 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025)," Bonilla said. "What impressed me most is that the report says Chongqing is transitioning from high-speed development to high-quality development."
The government work report showed that the city's gross domestic product (GDP) has reached 2.5 trillion yuan (about 386 billion U.S. dollars), with an average annual growth rate of 7.2 percent over the last five years. The municipality's per capita GDP last year exceeded 10,000 U.S. dollars and the poverty alleviation goals and tasks have been completed as scheduled.
"The rapid development of science and technology in China deeply impressed me. The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly indicated the vital role of science and technology. We look forward to cooperation with Chongqing in the field of big data," Bonilla said.
Chongqing is a major manufacturer of cars and motorcycles in China. The Uruguayan consul general said her country welcomes Chinese investors in the motor industry, including electric vehicles.
The consulate general of Uruguay that opened in Chongqing in 2019 is the country's fifth consular institution in China. It is also the first consulate general of Latin American countries and Spanish-speaking nations in Chongqing.
"Uruguay has always attached importance to cooperation with western China and has cooperated with Chongqing in agricultural products export and automobile manufacturing," Bonilla said. She hopes more Chinese will invest in Uruguay, and more Uruguayans will come to China for work and study.
"We also hope that Uruguay can become the gateway for Chinese investors to the South Atlantic ocean and the Latin American region," she added.