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Xi pledges Latin America, Caribbean investments of US$250 billion

  • Written by News Jamaica-Telesur
  • Published in World News
Featured China's President Xi Jinping speaks at the opening ceremony of the 1st Ministerial Meeting of China-CELAC Forum at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. | Photo: Reuters China's President Xi Jinping speaks at the opening ceremony of the 1st Ministerial Meeting of China-CELAC Forum at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. | Photo: Reuters
BEIJING, Cgina Thursday January 8, 2015 - Chinese president Xi Jinping Thursday opened a historic meeting between his nation and the countries of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) by pledging US$250 billion in new investment in Latin America over the next decade.

The meeting is the first of its kind between CELAC and Beijing, and is set to span two days. The Chinese leader said the talks mark a “new beginning and new opportunity” for both Beijing and CELAC.

“China is willing to work with the Latin American and Caribbean states with a long-term and strategic perspective, to build the new platform of collective cooperation between the two sides. Let's take the meeting as a new starting point, seize the new opportunity of collective cooperation, and work for a new phase of the China-CELAC comprehensive partnership of cooperation and promote new development of bilateral ties based on a higher level,” he said.

The summit is expected to lead to close to US$50 billion in new investment between China and CELAC, in areas ranging from energy to scientific research.

Representatives will also agree on a four year road map to deepen trade and other ties. CELAC, which unites all 33 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, launched in Venezuela in 2011 when representatives of each country signed the Declaration of Caracas.

The declaration seeks to consolidate integration within the Americas, and to reduce the influence of the United States in the region.

China is expected to enter into new deals with CELAC member states worth billions of dollars by the end of the summit in Beijing.

China is "the world’s financial superpower" with investment funds of over US$4 trillion that can help develop the Latin American economy, a Chinese economy expert tells teleSUR on the eve of the CELAC-China summit.

China is taking its relationship with Latin America very seriously because the two blocs are at a similar level of economic development, making trade between the two more mutually advantageous, according to John Ross, a Senior Fellow at the Chongyang Institute at the Renmin University of China. Ross was formerly London's Director for Economic Policy under Mayor Ken Livingstone when former Venezuelan President Chavez signed a trade deal with the U.K. capital in 2006.

Ross also explained that the processes of Latin American integration, spearheaded by Chavez in recent years, are key to developing the region’s economies. Ross says that the economies of scale achieved by creating a unified Latin American market can substantially boost growth.

He added that the very rapid levels of growth in China in recent years, averaging nearly 10 percent, came from “very high level of investment,” and “very high level of state investment.” He said the strong growth in countries such as Bolivia and Ecuador “is also based on high levels of investment.”

Although China’s economy is likely to slow over the next few years to an average of 7 percent, “it will still be, by far, the world's most rapidly growing economy,” which is “growing three times as fast the United States,” and therefore offers plenty of opportunities for Latin America to expand its exports.

Last modified onThursday, 08 January 2015 07:08