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Belt and Road Initiative key to forging shared prosperous future between China, LatAm - expert

Updated: May 8, 2018 Xinhua Print

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A staffer checks a fiber-optic cable at Latamfiberhome Plant in Duran, Guayas province, Ecuador, on Aug 26, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]

BUENOS AIRES - The Belt and Road Initiative proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 is the key to building a shared prosperous future between China and Latin America, Argentine economist Maria Cecilia Peralta has said.

China and Latin America have maintained very smooth development of ties for many years now, "as reflected by the continuous growth in trade flows, investment and relationship strategies between the two regions," said Peralta in a recent interview with Xinhua.

As part of the intercontinental initiative, which seeks to boost trade and investment among countries along the ancient Silk Road trade routes from Asia to Europe and Africa, "China is interested in investing, both in its own economy and in others," she said.

Statistics showed that Chinese banks have participated in more than 2,600 related projects, and issued loans amounting to over $200 billion since the initiative was first proposed.

The initiative foresees investment in a wide range of areas, from clean energy to manufacturing, information technology and communications, hydraulic projects as well as urban development and housing, among others,said Peralta.

China "is spearheading major projects to change the country's energy matrix by investing in solar and wind energy. Investment in this area is not just being done internally, but also at the global level," said Peralta.

Peralta said the investment in roads, ports and other infrastructure, designed "to boost connectivity" among countries along the routes, is part of a larger "strategy to facilitate trade between China and Latin America."

Official data showed that the two-way trade between China and Latin America amounted to nearly $260 billion in 2017, up by 18.8 percent year-on-year.

China has made great strides in recent years, said Peralta, adding that China's "incorporation of populations with better living conditions has created greater and more diverse demand in the food sector, generating opportunities for Latin America."

She also said that opportunities abound in myriad productive sectors, and Argentina, for example, "has been undertaking large-scale cooperation projects with China for years, and more are planned for the future."

"The majority of these (projects) are infrastructure projects, like the construction of dams in the south of the country, of a space station in Patagonia, and the Agua Negra tunnel that links Argentina to Chile, an initiative that is very beneficial for regional trade," said Peralta.


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