Uruguay FTA talks

Pres­i­dents Xi and Vazquez also de­cide they will up­grade re­la­tions to a strate­gic part­ner­ship

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHANG YUNBI zhangyunbi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China and Uruguay agree to hold con­sul­ta­tions on start­ing joint fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies of a bi­lat­eral free trade agree­ment, di­plo­mats said.

China and Uruguay have agreed to hold con­sul­ta­tions on start­ing joint fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies of a bi­lat­eral free trade agree­ment, di­plo­mats con­firmed.

Ina joint state­ment re­leased after the meet­ing be­tween Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and his visit­ing Uruguayan coun­ter­part, Tabare Vazquez, the two coun­tries pledged com­mit­ment to “push­ing for­ward free trade part­ner­ship build­ing”.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the two lead­ers de­cided to up­grade the bi­lat­eral ties to a strate­gic part­ner­ship.

Ex­ports of agri­cul­tural and live­stock prod­ucts are an eco­nomic pil­lar of the coun­try, which is south of Brazil.

China, which has been Uruguay’s top trade part­ner in re­cent years, is its largest buyer of beef, soy­beans and wool.

Dur­ing the talks, Xi said both coun­tries should op­ti­mize two-way trade and ex­plore the ser­vices trade to boost trade growth.

Vazquez said his coun­try wel­comed ex­panded in­vest­ment by Chi­nese en­ter­prises in Uruguay’s in­fra­struc­ture and is also will­ing to em­bark on dis­cus­sions about an FTA.

Zhu Qingqiao, di­rec­tor­gen­eral of the For­eign Min­istry’s De­part­ment of Latin Amer­i­can and Caribbean Af­fairs, said the up­graded ties and consensus on study­ing an FTA were the po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic high­lights of Tues­day’s talks.

“The two coun­tries are highly com­ple­men­tary to each other on the eco­nomic front, and both coun­tries agreed to em­bark on con­sul­ta­tions at an early date for ini­ti­at­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions on a bi­lat­eral free trade agree­ment,” Zhu said.

Vazquez has been mak­ing a state visit to China from Oct 12 un­til Thurs­day.

The two lead­ers wit­nessed the sign­ing of more than a dozen doc­u­ments on out­comes in ar­eas in­clud­ing visa fa­cil­i­ta­tion, in­dus­try, agri­cul­ture, cus­toms, de­fense, cul­ture and sports.

Tang Jun, deputy head of the In­sti­tute of Latin Amer­i­can Stud­ies at Zhe­jiang In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies Univer­sity, said an FTA “would help di­ver­sify two-way trade, lower the trade thresh­old and par­tic­u­larly fa­cil­i­tate Uruguay’s ex­ports to China”.

An FTA also would help boost in­vest­ments in Uruguay by Chi­nese, Tang said.

The up­grade of the bi­lat­eral ties is “a nat­u­ral out­come”, since the two coun­tries’ co­op­er­a­tion has great di­ver­sity, and the evolv­ing ties can also be seen as part of the de­vel­op­ing China-Latin Amer­ica re­la­tion­ship, Tang added.

Chi­nese Am­bas­sador to Uruguay Dong Xiao­jun said Bei­jing is also fo­cus­ing on co­op­er­a­tion in such ar­eas as pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity, new en­ergy and in­fra­struc­ture.

“China will con­tinue to en­cour­age pow­er­ful and qual­i­fied Chi­nese en­ter­prises to in­vest in Uruguay,” Dong said be­fore Vazquez’s visit.

“The two coun­tries are highly com­ple­men­tary to each other on the eco­nomic and trade fronts.”

Tabare Vazquez, pres­i­dent of Uruguay

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