Chile foreign minister starts China visit to boost trade ties

Chile foreign minister starts China visit to boost trade ties 

The Foreign Minister of Chile Roberto Ampuero attends a joint press briefing with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (not pictured), after their meeting in Berlin, Germany, Jul 18, 2018. EPA-EFE FILE/OMER MESSINGER

Beijing, Sep 13 (efe-epa).- Chile’s Foreign Minister began Thursday a three-day official visit to China with a meeting with the Chinese Minister of Commerce.

During the meeting, Roberto Ampuero and Zhong Shan discussed further progress regarding the bilateral free trade agreement between them, Chilean diplomatic officials told EFE.

Ampuero and Zhong discussed a possible date for the coming into effect of the agreement extending the free trade deal between them.

The free trade agreement between Chile and China has been in force since 2005. The two countries signed an agreement over deepening the pact in November last year.

The agreement widened their access to one another’s markets and hoped for further simplification of customs processes to promote trade between the two countries.

The two ministers also discussed the trade war between Beijing and Washington and its possible consequences for trade relations between Chile and China.

Ampuero was slated Thursday to meet with representatives from Chinese mining firm Minmetals, significant in bilateral trade ties due to the importance of copper purchases by China. Fifty-five percent of Chinese copper imports come from Chile and Peru, according to 2016 data.

On Friday, the Chilean foreign minister will meet with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, as well as Vice President Wang Qishan.