by Chris Dalby
SANTIAGO, March 18 (Xinhua) -- Former Chilean Ambassador to China Fernando Reyes Matta believes the time has come for Chile and China to jointly plan their future in new areas.
"A decade has passed since the free-trade agreement between Chile and China entered force. Now, we are looking to the future," said Reyes in an interview with Xinhua.
"We want a treaty covering new spaces as well as existing ones, such as electronic commerce, a wide range of services and other areas where investment and trade are intertwined," said Reyes, who is now the director of the Center of Latin American Studies on China at the Andres Bello University.
In Reyes' view, Chile is taking a long-term approach to its future relationship with China by thinking of all avenues of collaboration, including potential projects such as the underwater fiber optic cable between Qingdao in China and Valparaiso in Chile.
Reyes spoke to Xinhua after a high level dialogue meeting of Asia-Pacific representatives in Chile this week.
"We now have to incorporate new spaces for electronic commerce, banking and finance systems, the agro-industry, and to increase digital interaction in services. Our cultural industries also have the potential to jointly generate films, videos or music," said Reyes,
Reyes said Chile also has one specific advantage. "Chile is one of the few countries that have a favorable trade balance with China."
He said the advances made in the agro-industrial area show diversification is advancing. "Wines, grapes and cherries are concrete examples of this. What Chile can offer is what the Chinese consumer wants most: quality and food safety," he said.
The Pacific Alliance, which groups Peru, Mexico, Colombia and Chile, announced it would soon release a list of countries with which it wants to quickly conclude high-quality free trade agreement (FTA), with China expected to be included.
"In political and overall strategic terms, the Pacific Alliance has a common will to develop new common ties with China in areas such as tourism," said Reyes.
Although the common interests of the region are on the rise, Reyes said, the diversity of interests within Latin America is likely to continue for a long time.