DA NANG, Vietnam – Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, on Saturday witnessed the signing of a bilateral deal on upgrading the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Vietnam.
Bachelet congratulated Xi on the success of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China and wished that greater achievements would be made in the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative.
She said her country will carry forward the pioneering spirit and advance the practical cooperation between the two sides.
Xi underlined that this is China’s first FTA upgrade completed with a Latin American country.
China and Chile signed their FTA in 2005, the first such agreement China inked with any single country. Bilateral trade has increased fourfold, reaching 31 billion US dollars in 2016 since then.
The upgraded agreement will unleash new impetus for the practical cooperation between China and Chile and set a new benchmark for China’s cooperation with other Latin American countries as well as a new role model to the world.
The signing of the upgraded agreement came after four negotiating sessions this year, and both sides have agreed on protocol dealing with disciplines such as e-commerce, government procurement and competition policy.
The overseas trip is Xi’s first after the 19th CPC National Congress. After attending the APEC meeting in Da Nang, he will then pay state visits to Vietnam and Laos from Sunday to Tuesday.
APEC is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific. This year’s APEC Economic Leaders’ Week is held under the theme of “Creating New Dynamism, Fostering a Shared Future.”