Chinese, Chilean presidents agree to further promote cooperation under BRI
Updated 23:14, 24-Apr-2019
Chinese President Xi Jinping met his Chilean counterpart Sebastian Pinera Echenique on Wednesday, and the two leaders agreed to further promote bilateral cooperation under the Belt and Road framework.
The Chilean president is currently paying a state visit to China, whilst attending the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing later this week.
President Xi said Chile is the first country in the region that recognized China's status as a market economy. It is also an important partner in building the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the two countries should take the opportunity to deepen mutual trust and pragmatic cooperation. 
China's cooperation with Latin American and Caribbean countries are South-South cooperation aimed at increasing mutual support and benefit, he noted. 
Both countries should promote bilateral trade and investment as well as cooperation in the sectors of mining, clean energy, telecommunication, e-commerce, tech innovation and Antarctic research, Xi said. 
Pinera said Chile supports the BRI and wants to work with China to increase regional connectivity. Chile also supports multilateralism and free trade system, he said.
The two countries decided to upgrade the free-trade agreement in 2017, 12 years after the FTA was first signed, and the upgraded FTA came into effect in March 2019.
China is now Chile's largest trading partner, and official figures show that the bilateral trade exceeded 39.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, representing a 23.2-percent growth year on year.
The two leaders also witnessed the signing of a series of agreements after their talks.