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China’s Xi woos Latin America with $250 bln investments

China’s Xi woos Latin America with $250 bln investments
By By Megha Rajagopalan

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged on Thursday
$250 billion in investment in Latin America over the next 10 years as
part of a drive to boost resource-hungry China’s influence in a region
long dominated by the United States.
Leaders of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, or
CELAC – a 33-country bloc that does not include the United States or
Canada – gathered in Beijing for the first time for a two-day forum on
Xi said two-way trade between China and Latin America was expected to
rise to $500 billion in 10 years.
“This meeting will … give the world a positive signal about deepening
cooperation between China and Latin America and have an important and
far-reaching impact on promoting South-South cooperation and prosperity
for the world,” Xi said.
China and Latin America are cooperating on energy, infrastructure
construction, agriculture, manufacturing and technological innovation,
Xi said.
Deng Yuwen, a Beijing-based political analyst, said China was interested
in the region’s resources and markets.
“Obviously, China has the intention to compete with the U.S. for a
greater sphere of influence in the region,” said Deng. “But whether this
strategy will weaken U.S. influence now is hard to judge.”
Matt Ferchen, resident scholar at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for
Global Policy, said China’s push would not alarm Washington with
improving U.S.-Cuba ties set to boost U.S. influence.
“The reality of economic-social ties, people-to-people ties, between any
country in the region and the United States are so much deeper than
anything that exists with China,” Ferchen said.
“The Cuba deal changes everything in terms of how the United States can
set a positive agenda in the region,” he said.
China, the world’s second-largest economy, is buying oil from Venezuela,
copper from Peru and Chile, and soybean from Argentina and Brazil.
In return, China has invested billions of dollars.
On Wednesday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said he had secured
more than $20 billion in investment from China, while Ecuador said it
obtained a total of $7.53 billion in credit lines and loans from China.
“To repeat what (former) President Hugo Chavez said, China is
demonstrating to the world that a country does not necessarily seek
hegemony as it grows stronger,” Maduro said in a speech.
The cooperation comes despite some in the region retaining diplomatic
ties with Taiwan, which China regards as a renegade province. Out of 22
states that recognise Taiwan, 12 of them are in Latin America and the
(Additional reporting by Michael Martina and Beijing Newsroom, Writing
by Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Jeremy Laurence, Robert Birsel)

Source: China’s Xi woos Latin America with $250 bln investments – Yahoo
Maktoob News ––business.html

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