US Crisis Takes Chinese to Brazil and Latin American Neighbors

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping Currently visiting Argentina, Chinese Vice-Premier Hui Liangvu signed accords to boost cooperation in agriculture, mining and bilateral trade though Argentina's Banco de la Nación and the China Development Bank.

"The Argentine government is intent on strengthening relations" with "such an important player on this new world arena," said chief minister Sergio Massa after hosting a cabinet meeting with the visiting Chinese leader on Monday.

Massa signed the memorandums of understanding acting in President Cristina Kirchner's stead, as she is on an official visit to Spain.

Hui Liangvu visit is seen as part of Beijing's effort to strengthen ties with Latin America.

Chief Argentine exports to China include food, beverages, minerals, and chemical and tobacco products. Chinese imports include shoes, metals, textiles, plastic and rubber.

On political exchanges, they said they will strengthen dialogue, consultation and high-level contact, and continue to staunchly support each other on major issues related to their respective core interests.

Argentina will unswervingly adhere to the one-China policy on issues concerning Tibet and Taiwan, added Massa.

Concerning economic and trade cooperation, the two nations vowed to keep up the growing momentum in bilateral trade, and give full play to mechanisms such as the China-Argentina Joint Committee on Trade and Economy.

Vice-Premier Hui Liangyu who besides Argentina has been to Ecuador, Barbados and the Bahamas is not the only Chinese top official in the region: Vice-President Xi Jinping is visiting Jamaica, Colombia, Venezuela and China's two biggest trading partners in the region, Brazil and Mexico.

China's export markets in Europe and North America have shrunk substantially in the global financial crisis and Beijing is desperate to open up new markets in the region of more than half a billion consumers, and maintain market share for China's export machines in 2009.

China is the third largest trading partner for Latin America, with bilateral exchange reaching 100 billion US dollars in 2007. China is also closed linked to the commodities export boom of the region that has seen unparalleled growth in recent years.

In January this year, China joined the Inter-American Development Bank with a donation of 350 million US dollars paving the way for Chinese companies to take part in infrastructure projects there.

Beijing published its first ever policy document on the region last November before the country's president visited Costa Rica, Cuba and Peru.

The Chinese government believes the current economic downturn presents a good opportunity for Beijing to play a bigger role internationally and particularly in Latin America.

Mercopress

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