China-Chile FTA talks smooth
By Jiang Wei (China Daily)
China and Chile are satisfied with the achievements of their first round of talks for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
"The negotiation went smoothly in the three-day talks," said Carlo Furche, the Chilean General Directorate of International Economic Relations Director-General, at a press conference on Friday.
"We have jointly established a trade negotiation committee for further negotiations."
A general outline and a set of working procedures for the following negotiations have been set in the first round of talks, which concluded on Thursday.
In addition, Furche, who headed the Chilean negotiation team, said they started negotiations on trade of goods and the dispute-resolution mechanism for bilateral trade.
Meanwhile, talks were held between related authorities from both sides to discuss the quarantine of animals and plants, which often raises concerns.
The Chilean side expected to tap the Chinese market with its agricultural products, particularly seafood.
"Chile expects to diversify our exports to China with fruit, forestry products and seafood," said Furche.
"We are confident that our products are able to meet the health quarantine standards of China," he said.
Officials said the next round of FTA talks was scheduled to start in the final week of April in Santiago, capital of Chile.
The second round of negotiations will enter into more sophisticated and specific areas, such as trade of services, and investment.
Group negotiations will be held in specialized areas in the second round of talks to replace the all-member conference in the first round so as to speed up the negotiation.
The Chilean officials said they hoped zero tariffs would be implemented on all goods traded between China and Chile.
China’s current tariff on imports from Chile is about 10 per cent on average and Chile’s tariff on Chinese goods is 6 per cent.
The Sino-Chilean FTA negotiation was officially launched by Chinese President Hu Jintao and his Chilean counterpart Ricardo Lagos Escobar during their meeting in Chile last November.
It is believed that the agreement will further strengthen business ties and increase trade volume between the two economies.
Moreover, as Chile is the first Latin American country which launched FTA talks with China, the Chinese Government expects it will become a successful model for China’s relationship with Latin America.
Yi Xiaozhun, Chinese assistant minister of commerce, said he believed the development of Sino-Chilean relations would enhance the country’s co-operation with other Latin American countries.
The two countries witnessed brisk growth in bilateral trade: China has become the third-largest trade partner of Chile and Chile the third-largest trade partner of China in Latin America.
Both sides are active in FTA talks. Chile has already signed free trade agreements with a number of countries in America, Europe and Asia while China is also involved in several FTA negotiations with its neighbours and close trade partners.