World Insights: Win-win cooperation energizes China-LatAm ties amid global challenges

MEXICO CITY, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and drastic changes in the world, China and Latin American countries continue to join forces to promote economic and trade cooperation, consolidate pragmatic cooperation in infrastructure development and energy, and tap the potential growth in emerging sectors so as to jointly build a China-Latin America community with a shared future.

TRADE DRIVES ECONOMIC RECOVERY

As the global economy faces a tightrope walk to recovery, the two-way trade between China and Latin America and the Caribbean has been growing.

According to data released by China's General Administration of Customs, in 2021, the total trade value between China and Latin America and the Caribbean exceeded 450 billion U.S. dollars despite growing economic uncertainty worldwide. In the first three quarters of 2022, the figure increased by 12.5 percent over the same period last year.

Take Brazil, China's largest trade partner in Latin America. Bilateral trade exceeded 100 billion U.S. dollars for four consecutive years, and China continued to be Brazil's largest trade partner for 13 straight years.

The trade volume between China and Brazil continues to break new records, said Luiz Augusto de Castro Neves, president of the Brazil-China Business Council.

Noting that Brazil's exports to China reached a record high in 2021, he said bilateral trade showed resilience this year and economic and trade cooperation remains robust.

Brazil's agricultural product exports to China also soared during the pandemic, which contributed to the hike in bilateral trade, said Milton Pomar, a Brazilian agricultural expert and consultant on China-Brazil institutional relations.

In the past decade, he added, the economic and trade cooperation between China and Latin American countries has also been enhanced.

Besides, China is also working with such Latin America countries as Ecuador to boost economic recovery through anti-pandemic cooperation.

The Chinese COVID-19 vaccines arrived "at the right time" and were "a blessing for Ecuador because they really allowed activities to continue," Vicente Wong, executive president of Ecuador's second-largest banana exporter Reybanpac, told Xinhua in an interview.

According to the Ecuadorian Ministry of Health, more than half of the country's COVID-19 vaccines came from China. Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso said China's assistance was crucial for the South American country's economic recovery and social development.

PRAGMATIC PROJECTS FOR BETTER LIVES

The Cauchari Solar Power Project, financed and built by Chinese companies in northwest Argentina's Jujuy province, started generating solar energy two years ago, bringing new development opportunities to poverty-stricken local villages.

The construction of the solar park provided nearly 1,500 jobs to a few surrounding villages. Since its opening, the project alleviated electricity shortages and ensured power supply for local residents.

Currently, the project generates an annual revenue of about 50 million dollars for the province, which has improved people's lives and promoted local economic development.

"Cooperation with China is very important to Argentina," said Roberto Salvarezza, Argentina's former minister of science, technology and innovation. He said that China has been promoting infrastructure construction through investment and technological exchanges, which helped Latin American countries speed up their energy transformation.

Luiz Eduardo Osorio, a manager at Brazilian mining company Vale, expressed his belief that infrastructure and clean energy projects financed by China have improved the living standards of people across Latin America. Such projects include the Nestor Kirchner-Jorge Cepernic hydropower plant and the renovation of the Belgrano Cargas railway in Argentina, the Bogota Metro construction project in Colombia, and the Punta Sierra Wind Farm in Chile.

BROADER COOPERATION SPURS GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT

In 2019, a young Mexican man called Andres Diaz Bedolla arrived in Bainiu, a rural village in Hangzhou, the capital of China's eastern Zhejiang Province. Surprised and inspired by the dynamic digital economy in the rural community, he decided to bring China's development experience to his own country.

In three years, about 1,500 small and medium-sized Mexican companies have embraced e-commerce and the rural Chinese model has benefited many in Latin America.

"Before, we struggled a lot to sell (our goods), but now they sell very well through social media. They are also out there in China," said Mexican artisan Tomas de Anda Hernandez, referring to the traditional Mexican mortar and pestle made of volcanic rock.

There are broad prospects for cooperation between China and Latin American countries, including Brazil, particularly in the sectors of digital economy and new energy, said China-Brazil relations expert Pomar.

As technological cooperation deepens, Latin America is expected to gain more from China's cloud technology to cut expenses and store data with greater security.

China's artificial intelligence and cloud technology also helped Chile to protect the endangered Darwin's Fox in the country's Nahuelbuta coastal mountain range.

Eduardo Tzili-Apango, professor at the Metropolitan Autonomous University in Mexico, said pragmatic cooperation must continue to create new opportunities, which will be conducive to building a new type of relationship between China and Latin America.

The proposal of building a China-Latin America community with a shared future reflected China's responsibilities within the framework of global governance, said Ignacio Martinez, a researcher and academic at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

China has shared successful development plans and experience with other countries, and has put forward global governance solutions to make notable contributions to the development of the world, he said. 

Editor: Jiang Feifan
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