A China-Latin American business summit kicked off Tuesday in Mexico's second-largest city of Guadalajara to seek ways to boost ties and explore business opportunities in new fields.
Officials and nearly 2,000 business leaders from China and 24 Latin American and Caribbean countries gathered for the two-day summit to discuss cooperation in technology, innovation, energy and agriculture, among other areas.
Addressing the opening of the summit, Mexico's Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo praised Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Chinese President Xi Jinping for strengthening bilateral ties.
Thanks to their leadership, "the relationship has been growing," said Guajardo, adding China is now Mexico's second-biggest trading partner, after the United States. Francisco Gonzalez, head of Mexico's export and investment promotion agency ProMexico, said "this event represents an excellent opportunity to strengthen trade and investment between 24 Latin American countries and China."
Luo Fuhe, vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), underscored the growing China-Latin America commercial ties, noting two-way trade has increased from 1.26 billion U.S. dollars in 1979 to 263.6 billion dollars in 2014.
"Latin America and the Caribbean are an important part of the global development of the emerging economies," said Luo. The region is currently holding negotiations on boosting inter-regional connections, said Luo. He added that countries have entered a new stage of development in telecommunications technology, as well as renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and nuclear power, the areas in which China can be "highly complementary."
As China's economy is expected to grow at a rate of 6 percent to 7 percent a year, the bilateral trade in goods still has room to grow, Luo said. China's goal is to double the trade to nearly 500 billion dollars in 10 years.
The summit, the ninth of its kind, was organized by Mexico's ministries of Foreign Affairs and Economy, in conjunction with ProMexico. China is Latin America's second-largest source of imports, and the third largest destination for exports, according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).