Foreign Affairs Minister Teodoro Ribera and International Economic Relations Undersecretary Rodrigo Yáñez held a virtual meeting this morning with the Minister of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, Zhong Shan, to review the main aspects of the trade relations between Chile and China. They also addressed the challenges that COVID-19 represents to bilateral trade, and spoke about the role of trade as a tool for early sustainable economic recovery.
Minister Ribera stated, “the importance that Chile places on our bilateral ties with China, especially our economic-commercial ties, has been shown through important milestones over recent decades.” He highlighted that Chile was the first Latin American country to support China’s entry into the WTO in 1999, the first in the region to acknowledge China as a market-based economy, and also the first in the region to sign a trade agreement with China in 2005.
During the meeting, the officials highlighted the recent Joint Statement on Enhancing Cooperation under the FTA and Combating COVID-19 agreed on between the two ministries. They stated that this is a fundamental step towards supporting the free flow of goods and services, connectivity, and keeping supply chains open.
Minister Ribera highlighted that the pandemic has had a profound human and economic impact on Chile and the rest of the world. “In this context, we would like to emphasize the importance of bilateral and multilateral trade. Today, more than ever, we need to join forces to fight the pandemic, but also to fight any attacks on free trade and to oppose protectionism,” he said.
The officials discussed the challenges that each country has had to address in order to keep supply, logistics and production chains open while also safeguarding workers’ health and safety.
They also reaffirmed their commitment to bilateral trade and their willingness to collaborate closely to foster and promote bilateral trade between the two countries. They underscored the political, economic and cultural ties between both countries, and the ties of mutual understanding and trust that have characterized our bilateral relationship.
“China is Chile’s foremost trading partner and our two countries share almost identical principles in terms of our trade policy, maximizing our efforts to establish open, free and fair trade. This is why we have modernized the Free Trade Agreement, which has been in place since 2006, updating a few chapters and incorporating two new ones. The first one is on the environment, and the second one on e-commerce,” explained Undersecretary Rodrigo Yáñez.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the ministers signed a Memorandum of Understanding to set up a Trade Fluidity Group. This will boost cooperation to help grow bilateral trade and will function as an expedite channel for consultations and the exchange of information between the two countries.