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China Daily: Demise of Trans-Pacific Partnership Means Rise of China-Backed Free Trade Agreement

Nov. 26, 2016 (EIRNS)—Cui Shoujun, director of the Center for Latin American Studies and a research fellow at the National Academy of Development and Strategy, Renmin University of China, writes in an article in China Daily that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Ibero-America adds "fresh momentum" to China’s bilateral relations with those countries, particularly in the aftermath of the election of Donald Trump to be the next President of the United States. Many believe that Trump’s election signals the end of the Obama-backed Trans-Pacific Partnership.

"The Beijing-backed Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific [FTAAP], on the other hand, has gained support in the Asia-Pacific community, including Latin American countries,"

writes Cui.

"Backed by a regional economic engine, the FTAAP has great potential to reshape the geopolitical landscape and deepen China-Latin America trade ties, which started booming after China became a member of the World Trade Organization in 2001."

In less than two decades, Cui reports, China has become the second-largest trade partner and third-largest source of investment for Latin America, while Latin America is now China’s seventh-largest trade partner. And two-way trade reached $260 billion in 2014, a twentyfold increase since 2000.

"China’s non-financial direct investment in Latin American countries reached about $21.5 billion in 2015, registering a year-on-year increase of 67%, which can contribute significantly to the sustainable development of the two-way trade," Cui goes on. "In the long run, therefore, the FTAAP could be an economic boon for Latin American countries."

"The Lima Declaration on FTAAP marks a landmark achievement for all economies concerned, particularly the Latin American economies, to advance their pursuit of inclusive economic cooperation,"

Cui concludes.

"Lima, as Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said, aims to serve as a logistics hub and trade pivot linking Latin America and Asia. Other Latin American economies aspiring to get rid of their economic dependence on the have good reasons to follow as well."

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