Going to Latin America Forum Opened in Guangzhou

On February 25, 2014, the Going to Latin America Forum, hosted by China Public Diplomacy Association (CPDA), was held at the China Imperial Springs International Convention Center, Guangzhou.

Mr. Li Zhaoxing, President of CPDA; Mr. Liu Zhigeng, Vice Governor of Guangdong Province; Mr. Liu Jianchao, Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Dr. Chau Chak Wing, Chairman of the Kingold Group and a well-known leader of overseas Chinese in Australia; Mr. Andrés Pastrana Arango, Former President of Colombia; Mr. Jorge Quiroga Rámirez, Former President of Bolivia; Mr. Roberto Kreimerman, Minister of Energy and Industry of Uruguay; and other guests from home and abroad delivered warm and friendly speeches.

Government officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Commerce, the National Development and Reform Commission; diplomatic envoys from Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Columbia, Peru, Uruguay, Jamaica, Cuba and Surinam and other countries; and representatives of the corporate, academic and media sectors of China and Latin America, along with more than 200 delegates, participated in the forum. Mr. Song Ronghua, Secretary General of China Public Diplomacy Association, hosted the opening ceremony.

Mr. Li Zhaoxing pointed out in his speech that, as the Chinese saying goes, “kindred spirits always hold each dear and near, even when they are a world away from each other” – the shared aspiration for a fair and beautiful world brings China and Latin America close to each other.

In order to help Chinese enterprises better understand Latin America and facilitate their venture into the continent, this forum invited delegates from the political, business, academic, industrial and media sectors of China and Latin America to share their thoughts on how to break new ground in cooperation between Chinese and Latin American enterprises and contribute their wisdom to Sino-Latin America cooperative relations.

Introduced by Governor Zhu Xiaodan, Vice Governor of Guangdong Province, Mr. Liu Zhigeng extended a warm welcome to guests from home and abroad in his speech. He noted that as the largest province of China in terms of population, economy and trade, Guangdong has huge potential in its cooperation with Latin America. Last year, the total trade volume between the two sides reached US$37.5 billion. At the same time, Latin America has become an important destination for Guangdong enterprises investing abroad. The Guangdong Provincial Government will continue to support local companies wanting to go to Latin America and will create a favorable climate for their operations.

On behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Assistant Minister Liu Jianchao extended warm congratulations to the CPDA on the convocation of the forum and the achievements it has made over the past year under the leadership of President Li Zhaoxing. He pointed out that the forum was convened at a crucial juncture, as Latin American countries have grown into a group of important developing countries with unique advantages. The Chinese government will continue to prioritize its extensive cooperation with Latin America, to work for the early launch of the China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States Cooperation Forum within the year, and to host the first ministerial conference of this forum in Beijing. Liu expressed his hope that Chinese enterprises, in their ventures in Latin America, will fully respect the local cultural traditions and related laws and strive for win-win outcomes through joint efforts with their Latin American partners.

In his speech, Dr. Chau Chak Wing, Chairman of the Kingold Group and a well-known leader of overseas Chinese in Australia, welcomed the guests to the Imperial Springs International Convention Center, citing the famous Chinese saying “how happy we are, to have friends coming from afar.” He said that going forward he would continue to support and contribute to the nation’s master plan of public diplomacy, boost China–Latin America cooperation through non-governmental channels. and build a premium platform of international exchanges to facilitate friendly interactions between people and win-win cooperation of enterprises between China and Latin America.

Mr. Andrés Pastrana Arango, Former President of Colombia, stressed that Latin America countries, regarding China as a “brother of developing countries,” stand ready to build comprehensive partnerships with China. He said that both sides need to embrace the evolving trend of international relations and forge close ties through enhanced understanding of each other.

Mr. Jorge Quiroga Rámirez, Former President of Bolivia, pointed out that as China’s international influence continues to grow, China and Latin America should strengthen their dialogue and strategic planning in global affairs and promote greater equality and justice in international relations.

Mr. Roberto Kreimerman, Minister of Energy and Industry of Uruguay, noted that China has become the largest importer of agricultural products and minerals from Latin American countries. Both sides need to continue to pursue mutual benefit, serving as a prime example for the win-win cooperation of developing countries.

Before the opening ceremony, guests of the forum jointly planted the Tree of China¬–Latin America Friendship and Cooperation, signifying their enduring friendship.

This two-day forum saw extensive discussions on issues such as the macro-economic situation in Latin America, the investment environment and policies, and the opportunities and challenges facing Chinese companies going to Latin America.