Amid a rising tide of worries over protectionism and anti-globalization sentiment, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s substantial backing for free trade and economic globalization, demonstrated during a five-day trip to Peru, has injected much-needed confidence into the world.
Xi attended the 24th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting on November 19 and 20 in Peru’s capital Lima, and later paid his first state visit to the Latin American country since 2013.
Speaking at the 24th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting on November 20, Xi highlighted the APEC’s role as a pioneer, leader and trailblazer of economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific and the world at large, and called on APEC members to leverage the Asia-Pacific’s role as a growth engine and work for an innovative, invigorated, interconnected and inclusive world economy.
On the building of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), which was launched at the 2014 APEC meeting in Beijing, Xi hailed the smooth completion of the collective strategic study this year, saying it marked a new phase in FTAAP development.
In a keynote speech at the APEC CEO Summit on November 19, Xi reassured global business leaders on China’s economic growth and opening-up strategy, saying that the country will carry out supply-side structural reform, accelerate the shifting of growth model, promote innovation-driven development, and replace old growth drivers with new ones.
The president cited that in the next five years China will import 8 trillion U.S. dollars of goods, introduce 600 billion dollars of foreign investment and invest 750 billion dollars overseas, and Chinese tourists will make over 700 million outbound visits.
It was the third and fourth time for Xi, respectively, to visit Latin America and attend the APEC meeting since his taking office in 2013.
During his week-long trip, President Xi also paid state visits to Ecuador, Peru and Chile.
He held talks with his Ecuadorian counterpart Rafael Correa and Chilean counterpart Michelle Bachelet, and they decided to lift China’s relationship with Ecuador and Chile respectively to a comprehensive strategic partnership.
Xi also met his Peruvian counterpart Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and they agreed to further enhance the comprehensive strategic partnership of the two countries, which was established in 2013.
Although there is no clear definition of the “comprehensive strategic partnership,” it is usually regarded the highest level in China’s diplomatic intimacy with other countries.
From May 31 to June 6, 2013, Xi made state visits to Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica and Mexico.
In July 2014, Xi paid state visits to Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba. Moreover, a forum between China and Latin America was established to steer the overall cooperation between China and the region.
The first ministerial meeting of the China-CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) Forum was then held in Beijing in January 2015, marking the start of a new era that features all-round cooperation between the two sides.
In 2015, the trade volume between China and Latin America reached 236.5 billion dollars, up more than 20-fold during the past decade, according to Chinese official statistics.
Currently, China is the second-largest trade partner and third-largest investment source country of Latin America, while Latin America is China’s seventh-largest trade partner, and important overseas investment destination.