MEXICO CITY, May 24 (Xinhua) -- Following more than a decade of closer relations, China has become a leading partner in Latin America's development under South-South cooperation, political analysts have said.
Latin American growth over the past 15 years was to a large degree driven by China's purchase of commodities, especially at the turn of the 21st century, Patricio Falconi, an Ecuadorian expert in international relations, told Xinhua on Tuesday.
In 2017, China's imported volume from Latin America reached 127.02 billion U.S. dollars, up by 23.68 percent from 2016, according to data from China's Ministry of Commerce.
Regional countries used that revenue to finance strategic infrastructure projects for development, with additional help from Chinese investment and financing.
The region needs to seek new bilateral and multilateral agreements in order to "emerge from the situation it is currently bogged down in," he said, referring to sluggish growth and uneven development.
"We need support and we cannot overlook the opportunities offered by China, a country that is economically complementary and that has proposed South-South cooperation for mutual benefit," said Falconi.
In the meantime, the expert also highlighted China's own development model, which he thinks should serve as an inspiration for Latin American countries.
"One of the societies that has seen exponential growth is China, so much so that its presence around the world is unquestionably important," said Falconi.
As it has developed, China has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, he said. "It is the only country in the history of humanity to achieve such an unrivaled feat," said Falconi.
The expert also said that China has succeeded in addressing problems as they arise, such as launching an anti-corruption campaign over the past years to fight graft.
"China's positioning is global, not just through its promotion of global economic development, but also its promotion of peace," he said.
FUTURE OF LATAM-CHINA TIES
Regional experts agree that the cooperation between China and Latin America has been based on common interests and mutual needs.
China's commitment to continue to open up to the world means Latin America "has the opportunity to consolidate its ties" with the Asian country, said Falconi.
Manuel Agosin, dean of Business and Economics at the University of Chile, told Xinhua earlier this week that China's continued growth and development, as well as cooperation schemes, will have positive repercussions in Chile and other parts of Latin America.
"China has become increasingly competitive, with an ever-growing and varied range of manufactured goods. It has conquered important markets in the region," said the Chilean economist. "I think that is going to continue, along with the growth and diversification of Chile. That's why it makes sense for (China) to have a greater presence in Latin America."
Agosin also said Latin America needs to try and orient investment towards developing "more sophisticated exports in the region."
Resource-rich Latin America has long relied on its raw material exports to generate revenue, but to ensure long-term sustainable development, it must strive to manufacture more value-added goods, Agosin said.