China’s Foreign Minister ended a Latin American tour Friday in Brazil, stressing Beijing’s goal of investing in the region as he prepared the way for a July visit by President Xi Jinping.
“There is a complementary economic relationship between China and Latin America and the Caribbean,” said Wang Yi.
“We would like to deepen cooperation via the China-CELAC forum which will start this year,” added Wang, who earlier visited Cuba, Venezuela and Argentina.
The Chinese president’s upcoming July visit coincides with the sixth BRICS summit of developing nations, which will bring together the emerging economic powers of Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa.
Xi will also use the occasion to make an official bilateral visit to Brazil, South America’s biggest economy.
And he will be in town during a meeting of representatives of the 33-strong CELAC group of Latin American and Caribbean states.
Wang said China was particularly seeking to invest in infrastructure projects — chiefly roads, railways and power generation — and he touched on the proposed creation of a “high value fund to aid infrastructure construction in Latin America and the Caribbean.”
Energy-hungry China also has plans to increase investments in major oil producer Venezuela, as well as in Brazil, where last October a multinational consortium with Chinese participation won rights to develop Brazil’s biggest oilfield.
With its recent mass buying of commodities from the region, China is a vital trade partner for Latin America, and in 2009 it surpassed the United States and Argentina as Brazil’s number one trading partner.
Wang identified strong potential for Chinese investment in Brazil and its neighbors beyond the $16.5 billion in investment the region received from Beijing in 2013.
“We are talking about means of widening trade, which is already intense, and increasing investment of both countries,” Brazilian Foreign Minister Luiz Alberto Figueiredo said.