Premier Li Keqiang called for greater efforts in industrial capacity cooperation, which he said can boost the economy and end global recession, during a speech to Latin American and Caribbean diplomats on Monday.
Li referenced China’s economic development over the past three decades, saying that its continuous opening-up, during which the country imported various streamlined production methods from overseas, has helped improve domestic industries.
“Out of that progress, China built up its muscle in steel smelting, in addition to the manufacturing of other construction materials,” Li said. “That kind of strength has helped upgrade the industries and speed up the progress of urbanization.”
Addressing the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Li said the expansion of infrastructure construction, as well as the equipment manufacturing that goes with it, is the answer to global economic recession.
“If one country could import the needed equipment and streamlines from other countries which have an advantage in that field, it can largely reduce the cost of infrastructure construction,” he said.
In addition, such cooperation could diversify domestic industries, create more jobs and achieve a balanced development of global economy.
The premier said a major mission of his visit to Latin America, which has taken him to Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Chile, is to discuss how to push forward industrial cooperation with Latin American leaders.
Such cooperation also will be open to developed economies, he added.
“China is willing to set up plants of steel smelting, power supply and others to meet the needs of local infrastructure construction, and the key parts of some products may have to be imported from the Western economies,” he said.
During his first stop, in Brasilia, Li proposed a $30 billion fund to finance projects with Latin American countries in industrial capacity cooperation. Alicia Barcena, executive secretary of the ECLAC, said that trade between China and Latin American countries has surged in the last decade, and now China has become the region’s second-largest trade partner.
“But the good days of high commodities prices have ended, and we are faced by new challenges,” she said. “The cooperation with China should not stay with the exchange of merchandise but has to advance to the financial and infrastructure sectors.”
Wu Baiyi, director of the Latin America Institute under China’s Academy of Social Sciences, said that as the global economy transforms, both China and Latin America are faced with the prospect of industrial restructuring and optimization to spur their respective developments.
In this new stage, the interests of the two sides converge in new areas beyond trade, Wu said.
“Now cooperation in production capacity has become the new point of convergence for their (China’s and Latin America’s) interests,” he said.
The industrial transformation in Latin America is a process in which China will be able to participate with greater enthusiasm, Wu said.
China has pledged to raise investment in the region to at least $250 billion over the next decade. By the end of 2014, China’s direct investment was $98.9 billion, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
According to the ECLAC, a 1 percent increase in China’s gross domestic product would boost Latin America’s economic growth by 0.5 percent.