China becomes "outstanding actor in trade agenda" for Latin America: UN official

China had become an "outstanding actor in the trade agenda" for Latin America and it was time to grow the relationship further, a UN regional commission official said here Thursday.

Chile-based Osvaldo Rosales, director for trade and integration at the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), was presenting a paper, "The eruption of China into the world economy. Impacts and possibilities in Latin America," at an event here.

He said China's involvement in the region had developed during the past decade and it was currently going through a phase of change which had transformed not only Chinese society but the entire world.

Rosales is also a Chilean economist and was the country's chief negotiator on free trade agreements with the United States in 2002 and South Korea in 2003.

He said China was the main market for exports from Brazil and Chile and the second largest market for exports from Argentina, Peru, Cuba and Costa Rica.

Moreover, China is expected to overtake the European Union as the biggest export destination for Latin America in 2013, ECLAC figures show.

With investments likely to continue to grow at a significant rate, it was an important opportunity for the region to define an agenda based on a close relationship with China, Rosales said.

The strong demand from China is likely to continue for a long time, "probably for at least another decade," he said, proposing Latin American countries continue to advance regional integration to better take advantage of the opportunities in China.

[Source: Xinhua, Buenos Aires, 12May11]

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