China’s Wen inks deals in Uruguay
MONTEVIDE CHINESE Premier Wen Jiabao has signed five cooperation agreements with Uruguay, his first stop on a multi-nation visit to South America, and left the door open to increased investment in the country.
A spokesman for Uruguayan President Jose Mujica said after Friday’s talks that the accords — on telecommunications, the environment, and economic and technology cooperation — would help “deepen the relationship.” During the nearly two hours of talks, Mujica told Wen his country hoped Chinese companies would consider investing in a deepwater port project in the southeast department of Rocha, according to the spokesman, Diego Canepa.
Canepa said Wen had conveyed China’s interest in the construction and the development of the port. A Uruguayan delegation will visit China in the next three months to present the project to potential investors, the spokesman said.
Chinese companies are keen to explore the possibility of using Uruguay as a ‘key platform’ for improving ties with Mercosur, the South American trade bloc that includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, Canepa said.
Upon his arrival in Uruguay, the first time a Chinese premier has visited the country since diplomatic ties were established in 1988, Wen noted the ‘substantial advances’ in bilateral relations during that near quarter- century. China is Uruguay’s second-largest trading partner after Brazil.
Wen is also scheduled to visit Chile and Argentina on his trip to the region. He arrived in Uruguay from Brazil, where he participated in the UN’s Rio+20 conference on sustainable development.
Beijing has in recent years been ramping up its investment in Latin America, investing in everything from agriculture to railways while satisfying its need for oil and other raw materials to fuel its booming economy.