China’s Ambassador in Montevideo Wang Gang Wednesday underlined his country’s “open attitude” towards a trade agreement “either bilateral or en bloc” with Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay) “when Uruguay or the bloc as a whole are ready.”

The diplomat made those remarks as Uruguayan and Chinese negotiators and experts exchanged their views in a virtual forum on the likelihood of the South American country drawing further investments from the Asian giant.

Diplomats, economists, and technicians expressed their concurring viewpoints in what was a part of the activities marking the 35th anniversary of the Uruguay-China Chamber of Commerce (CCUCH) as bilateral relations grow stronger.

The event was co-hosted with MM&A Global Consulting, a provider of legal, accounting, and commercial services in America, Europe, and Asia.

Uruguay’s Bilateral Economic Affairs Deputy Director Gabriela González underlined that “we always see China as a priority partner.” She also stressed that in 2020 the XX Mixed Economic-Commercial and Cooperation Commission between both countries was finalized and “we are already collecting some of the fruits” of that instance in new areas of commercial exchange beyond the traditional ones such as meat, soybeans, and cellulose.

González also pointed out that China is “our main trading partner” and “we want to continue working in this area so that it can be deepened.” China bought one-quarter of all of Uruguay’s export requests between January and April 2021 by closing deals worth 658 million US dollars.

Meanwhile, Uruguay’s Ambassador to Beijing, Fernando Lugris, said that “we are in a year of good performance” with “very important growth” and good performances in all sectors, except wool. He added that “we are detecting areas of complementation” in terms of “win-win” and the dairy sector “is a good example” of coordination at the public-private level.

Lugris indicated Uruguay must promote its strategic position in the region and offer its legal stability and its free zone regimes in ports and airports to attract investment from Chinese companies and also be ready to welcome a wave of Chinese tourists arriving in Latin America after the coronavirus pandemic.

On the other hand, Wang Gang stressed that in the last three decades a “great leap” has been observed in all spheres of bilateral ties and that China is since 2012 Uruguay’s main trading partner in addition to which it has also become its largest cooperator.

The ambassador pointed out that there is much to do at the investment level and that the framework of the memorandum of the Belt and Road initiative should help companies from both nations identify the projects with the greatest potential and solve the problems that may arise to make them concrete.