China is a source of development opportunities for Latin America, and the concepts of mutual benefit and shared gain that mark bilateral ties will lead to increasing cooperation and progress for both sides, an Argentine international relations expert has said.

“Beijing is a leading trade partner for countries in the region and a major investor in key economic sectors such as infrastructure, energy, transport and mining,” Carla Oliva, coordinator of the China and Argentina study group at the National University of Rosario, told.

“In addition, within the framework of the strategy to internationalise its currency, the renminbi, Beijing offers (foreign currency) swap loans that are vital to the economies of Latin America.

The most well-known case is Argentina, which has systematically resorted to such swaps with China since 2009,” she said. Economic and trade ties between China and Latin America have steadily grown in recent years, based on more balanced trade in both goods and services.

Since the start of this century, trade between the two sides has continuously expanded, with annual trade exchange surpassing 300 billion U.S. dollars in 2018.

Today, China is Latin America’s second-largest trade partner, and Latin America has become China’s second-leading investment destination.

The service sector has become a new engine for growth, with China diversifying its investment in this area.

China’s investment in the region “tends to be accompanied by Chinese capital loans, particularly from the China Development Bank and Export-Import Bank of China.”

Chinese companies have created 1.8 million jobs, thanks to the opening of some 2,500 subsidiaries in Latin America in a wide range of such sectors as energy, infrastructure, agriculture, automotive and the digital economy.

“Throughout 2019, China and Latin America made progress in institutionalising ties through the Belt & Road Initiative, a proposal that represents great opportunities to expand bilateral trade and investment,” she said.

The expert said several countries in the region have expressed their interest in joining the initiative besides the ones that have already signed memorandums to participate.

For instance, Argentine President Alberto Fernandez has promised to make efforts to join the initiative

“Chinese President Xi Jinping’s vision of a community with a shared future for mankind underlines our common goals for growth and sustainable development,” said Oliva.

“The community of common destiny is one of the great proposals in China-Latin America bilateral ties. In recent years we have seen a notable increase in cooperation on strategic matters such as renewable energy, sustainable development, transportation networks and the application of new technologies,” she said.

Editor’s Note: The article reflects the author’s opinion only, and not necessarily the views of editorial opinion of Belt & Road News.