Latin American countries want to build even closer ties with China to strengthen their cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, a senior official from the Southern Common Market, a South American regional trade grouping, said on Thursday.
The regional economic organization, also known as Mercosur, will serve as a bridge to boost cooperation with China in fields such as infrastructure, logistics, railways, aviation and ports, Miguel Lujan Paletta, president of Mercosur’s chamber of commerce, said in Beijing.
He made the remarks at a ceremony for the opening of Mercosur’s representative office, which aims to push for its members to participate in the BRI as well as promote trade cooperation between China and Latin American countries.
Future cooperation will be focused on energy, minerals, agriculture, science and technology and finance, he said, adding that Chinese companies are welcome to develop trade and investment cooperation in the region.
The regional grouping was initially established by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, and Venezuela subsequently joined.
China is finding success in strengthening its ties with some South American economies. Uruguay signed a memorandum of understanding on the BRI with China in August, becoming the first Mercosur country to participate in the initiative.
Chile and Peru also signed cooperation documents with China in November and in April.
Brazil’s Vice-President Hamilton Mourao is currently on a visit to China. During talks with Vice-President Wang Qishan on Thursday, the two nations agreed to align the development strategy of Brazil with the BRI.
Levy Fidelix, president of the Brazilian Labour Renewal Party, said in an interview that his country looks forward to deepening cooperation with China on the BRI.
Brazil has yet to sign a cooperation document with China on the BRI, but Fidelix said an official signing is only a matter of time.