China vows to double trade with Latin America 'within 10 years'
President Xi pledged to double annual trade during a Forum in Beijing with leaders and ministers from about 30 nations from Latin America and the Caribbean. The two-day meeting aims to boost cooperation on security, finance, infrastructure, energy and technology.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - President Xi Jinping pledged yesterday to double annual trade between China and Latin America to US0 billion over the next 10 years, saying the partnership would have a significant impact on the world economy. "The relationship between China and Latin America is on an upward trend," said Xi. "Mutual political trust between the two has also been boosted."

Analysts said China's interest in the region was partly due to its energy needs, with some saying investment there was less risky than in Africa. The two-day forum aims to boost cooperation on security, finance, infrastructure, energy and technology over the next five years. China's trade with Latin America totalled US1.6 billion in 2013.

On Wednesday, China agreed to invest more than US billion in struggling Venezuela following talks between Xi and the country's President Nicolas Maduro. China has loaned the country more than US billion over the past five years, some of which has been paid back through oil deliveries. 

Xie Tao, a professor of international studies at Beijing Foreign Studies University, said Beijing's moves highlighted Washington's waning economic influence in the region, despite its continued heavy political clout. "Exports of Chinese manufactured goods to these countries are growing, reducing the demand there for US goods," Xie said. Furthermore, Xie said Latin American countries were less suspicious than those in Southeast Asia of China's rise, but the ties between Beijing and Latin America were unlikely to be more than economic.