Chile Joins China’s Silk Road Initiative; Agreement Due For Signing Friday

Spain's King Felipe, Chile's President Sebastian Pinera and Foreign Minister Roberto Ampuero pose during their meeting at the Zarzuela Palace in Madrid, Spain, October 9, 2018. (Photo: REUTERS)

In its continuing efforts to deepen the country's economic and political cooperation with China in a region with a strong presence of US influence, Chile announced that it will be joining Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative, with the signing of the agreement due for completion this Friday, the Chilean foreign minister confirmed on Thursday.

The statement from Foreign Minister Roberto Ampuero of Chile was cited over at the New York Times saying that the decision to collaborate with China and its global infrastructure initiative is part of Santiago's efforts to make the country become more attractive for foreign investors.

This would also position the Andean nation at a favorable spot wherein it would become a key point for investments in the region of Latin America.

Ampuero said that the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two countries is set to be signed this coming Friday.

China and Chile Relations

China is by far, Chile's topmost global trading partner. A report from Fresh Plaza cited the recent study published by the General Directorate for International Economic Relations, an office under the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

As indicated in the document, the Chilean exportation of cherries and blueberries to China has been more favorable this year as the demand from the Chinese market for the goods saw a staggering increase. In fact, the average export value of these goods has set a historical record in the country.

In 2018 alone, Chile was able to export cherry products with a total value of $856 million, which is 187% increase compared to last year's export value. Meanwhile, the export value on blueberry products peaked at $485 million, which 39% increase from 2017.

In this huge volume of Chilean export products, China accounts for 90% of the exportation activity, which roughly translates to $771 million in total.

According to Business Standard, Chile's annual trade with China amounts to 26-27 percent, which is worth nearly $35 billion, of the Andean nation's total foreign trade income.

A Unified Effort To Fight Against Unilateralism

This latest move from Chile will further seal the country's political and economic relationship with China. As the minister pointed out, both nations share the same ideals to uphold and defend multilateralism and free open trade.

The BRI will help Beijing and Santiago work together at a much better and broader conceptual economic framework.

The BRI or the One Belt, One Road Initiative was first proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013 with the aim to promote trade and economic cooperation between countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and this time, Latin America, with billions of dollars worth of infrastructure investments.

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