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Four-point Plan on Economic Cooperation with Chile
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Top legislator Wu Bangguo offered a four-point proposal on Wednesday for the further development of China-Chile economic and trade cooperation.

Delivering a speech at the Chile-China Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum Wu said the economies of the two countries were highly complementary and he hoped they would further improve economic ties in four specific areas.

Implementing free trade agreement

Chile is the first Latin American country to recognize China's full market economy status and it's the first Latin American nation to have reached free trade agreement (FTA) with China.

Wu said the FTA signed by the two governments covered all the content of commodity trade and its core objective was to reduce tariff and non-tariff trade barriers and improve market access conditions. 

Implementation of the FTA would facilitate commodity trade between the two countries and boost the development of relevant industries, Wu said. He urged the two countries to fully use the favorable conditions created by the FTA, continuously improve the pattern of commodity trade, enhance exchanges of information on markets and products and assist each other to promote products in the Asian and Latin American markets.

Enhancing copper cooperation

Wu highlighted China-Chile cooperation on copper resources saying that cooperation in this area was of key status in bilateral trade. Statistics show that copper trade accounted for nearly half of the total trade volume between China and Chile which stood at US$7 billion in 2005.

Last February China Minmetals Corporation and Nacional del Cobre de Chile signed a joint venture deal to mine copper resources in Chile. According to the deal the first-phase investment for the project involves US$550 million and the total sum will reach US$2 billion by the final phase of the contract. 

The deal represents the first major copper mining project between China, the world's biggest copper consumer, and Chile who are the world's No.1 producer.

Wu said he hoped the governments of China and Chile would jointly ensure the project was implemented smoothly. He also expressed his hope that the two countries would enhance dialogue on policies and improve coordination to ensure bilateral cooperation on copper resources was developed in speedy and healthy way.

Expanding cooperation on infrastructure construction

Wu said both China and Chile were developing countries and were faced with great tasks on the construction of infrastructure. He said China had accumulated valuable experience in construction of transportation and telecommunication facilities.

He said that with the growth of their economies China and Chile both had increasing demands for infrastructure construction which could become a new field for bilateral cooperation.

Wu urged the two sides to take the opportunity and make use of each other's experiences and advantages to further upgrade the bilateral cooperation on infrastructure projects. 

Promoting cooperation between enterprises

"Enterprises are the principal part of the market in investment as well as bilateral economic and trade cooperation," Wu said. Primary products and commodities of low technology took a large proportion of the China-Chile trade and two-way investment and cooperation between enterprises was relatively weak, he observed. 

Wu said to improve cooperation between these enterprises was the key to upgrading the quality and level of bilateral economic and trade cooperation. He urged the two countries to jointly promote two-way investment and push the bilateral economic and trade cooperation to extend from commodity trade to two-way investment and industrial and technological cooperation.

"The Chinese government encourages China's enterprises, which are competitive and credible, to seek business opportunities in Chile and we also welcome Chilean enterprises to invest and expand business in China," he said.

Statistics show that by the end of last June, Chilean enterprises had invested in a total of 98 projects in China with contract value of US$125 million. Twenty one Chinese enterprises had invested in Chile with the contract value of US$27.8 million.

(Xinhua News Agency September 7, 2006)

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