Chile vows to strengthen trade with China

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SANTIAGO: Chile vowed Tuesday to strengthen trade with China in the face of protectionist threats from US President-elect Donald Trump, as it prepared to host the Asian giant’s president Xi Jinping.

Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz said Xi would sign an agreement to “deepen” their countries’ 2006 free trade agreement when he visits Chile later Tuesday.

He told a news conference that Xi would meet with Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet to sign a “memorandum of understanding” on trade ties.

Boosting ties with China is “an enormous opportunity to have more products coming in” to the South American country.

Latin American countries are concerned about the impact on their economies of US President-elect Donald Trump’s surprise election victory this month. Trump has threatened to put up barriers to international trade to protect US jobs.

Chile supports the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, a major trade agreement that has been thrown into doubt due to Trump’s opposition.

Chile is the world’s biggest copper producer and the second-biggest producer of salmon.

China is its biggest trade partner — it received a quarter of all Chilean exports last year. Xi cast his country as a leader of free trade cooperation during last weekend’s APEC Asia Pacific summit.

The Chile visit is the last stop on a Latin American tour that has also taken Xi to Ecuador and Peru.

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