APEC 2019: Chile focuses on market diversification, digital economy
Updated 14:58, 03-Sep-2019
CGTN Global Business

When trade gets tough, the tough gets going. That's the plan for Chile, Latin America's most prosperous nation. The trade-dependent country is seeking new markets while reinforcing existing ones – via a visit to India and hosting Chile Week in China. Chile's vice minister of trade, Rodrigo Yanez, said diversified market is necessary and Chile entails to be successful in the emerging economies. 

This is the fifth Chile week in China since 2015. Apart from deepening cooperation with China, Chile is also embracing the digital trade in the new era – e-commerce. Yanez commented that China is a good example in this area and a model on how e-commerce could be thriving. 

"We are very happy to have become a trusted and main supplier for China of goods like cherries, copper, wine, salmon," he said. "But now I think it's time to face, and also together, the tasks and challenges of the digital era in trade. There is extremely large potential on SMEs in engaging them with e-commerce."

VCG Photo

VCG Photo

Digitalization is also one of the main themes at the upcoming APEC Summit. Chile, as the host economy of APEC 2019, has chosen four priority areas to achieve concrete deliverables in 2019, and digital society is one of them. Yanez said this year's APEC motto is connecting people, building the future since the rapid evolution of the internet and digital economy have exerted such a large influence over the world. 

"This is something of course we have to do, bridging the gaps in the digital also divided area, and how we are able to engage (in the era) and create capacities for our people, for our SMEs, and to connect people to people," he said. The rest of the three priorities are Integration 4.0, Sustainable Growth, as well as Women, SMEs and Inclusive Growth. And Yanez fully expected to reach consensus for statement during this year's APEC Summit.  

As last year's APEC summit in Papua New Guinea failed to produce a final statement, Yanez hoped that members could reach consensus during the summit this year given that building consensus at a time of trade conflict will be challenging.

Meanwhile, as APEC members reached consensus in the ministerial meeting this year – the first time in five years, Yanez regarded it as due to the "good mood. ""And if we have a consensus around the role of APEC in supporting the WTO that international trade is relevant for growth and regional development, we are off to a good start," he added.

Yanez said APEC has to remain a vital forum for the future of Asia-Pacific. Chile has 16 free trade agreements (FTA) with 21 members of APEC, which were signed during APEC meetings. It was also the first Latin American country to sign a modernized FTA with China. Meanwhile, the country is starting to negotiate to deepen preferential trade agreement (PTA) with India, just as the vice trade minister said – to "make the pie bigger." 

(CGTN's Cheng Lei also contributed to the story.)