Monday, March 30, 2009

Latin America hopeful for more Chinese investment

The Governor of the People's Bank of China, Zhou Xiaochuan was in Colombia this weekend rubbing shoulders with the head honchos of Latin America's governments, intellectuals and business leaders.

Chinese Central Bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan
attends the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)
meeting in Medellin, Colombia, March 28, 2009.
(Xinhua/David De La Paz)

Most major media outlets from North America and Europe picked up Zhou's pledge that China would actively support the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other multilateral lending organizations such as the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

This naturally means China will want a legitimate voice in these institutions. Hopefully a Chinese voice will be for the better, not worse. Giving the Chinese a shot after all the foul-ups with U.S led efforts in the IMF shouldn't be too much to ask.

After reading through comments and quotes from various media reports on Zhou's speech, the consensus is clear. China plans on continuing the promotion of South-South Cooperation between developing nations—and is particularity optimistic about the prospects which lie ahead in regard to Sino-Latin American cooperation..

“South-South cooperation is all the more important amid the current financial crisis, and China will expand its trade with and increase its investment in Latin American countries after it joined the IDB, he said.”

"We see huge potential for economic ties and trade between Latin America and China," he said, noting that China has a free-trade pact with Chile, has concluded negotiations for such a pact with Peru and could have one with Costa Rica.

"The potential for China to make foreign direct investment in the region is huge," he said, adding that some sectors of special interest are in pharmaceuticals, computer software, aeronautics and biological products.

Trade between China and the greater Latin American region has been growing at an average rate of 40% in recent years and hit a record high of $143.3 billion in 2008 according to Xinhua News Media.

Zhou was in Colombia attending the 50th annual meeting of the IDB, which it joined in January this year.