Foreign Minister Alfredo Moreno started a tour of Asia on Friday to meet political and economic representatives and to strengthen Chile’s presence on the continent. Moreno will visit the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), India and China.
The first stop of Minister Moreno’s tour will be U.A.E. capital Abu Dhabi, where he will meet with the secretary of state and other ministers and dignitaries. Then he will travel to India where he will meet, among others, business and industry and energy ministers. Finally he will travel to China, where he will also meet with ambassadors of several other Asia Pacific nations.
The Middle Eastern and Asian markets have become an increasingly important source of business for Chile. China is currently Chile’s top trading partner, representing 23.8 percent of its exports and 13.6 percent of imports, and Chilean exports to the U.A.E. increased by 45.5 percent in 2011 compared to the previous year.
Minister Moreno will also be meeting representatives as part of his role in the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), alongside Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolás Maduro and Cuban vice Foreign Minister Rogelio Sierra. The three men, acting as representatives for CELAC, will hold various meetings with Chinese and Indian Ministers in order to strengthen the cooperation and political connections between CELAC and Asian countries.
The meetings will be important for the Cuban and Venezuelan ministers, particularly as China is the second-most important trading partner for both countries. However, the firmly established trade partnership between Chile and China will likely draw much more attention from the Asian giant: China’s trade with Chile
totalled US$17.4 billion in 2009, the third-highest in Latin America and more than double Chinese trade with Venezuela
CELAC, a relatively new organization, was created in 2010 and has 33 Latin American and Caribbean countries as its members. Chilean President Sebastián Piñera assumed
the provisional presidency of the organization last year.
**Tom Murphy (email@example.com)