China, Chile sign services free-trade pact

Business Materials 13 April 2008 18:00 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - China and Chile signed an agreement on free trade in services on Sunday, following talks between the two presidents.

The two nations committed themselves to opening up their service sectors in accordance with World Trade Organization rules, under a supplementary agreement to their formal free-trade pact signed in 2005.

The services free-trade agreement covers 23 sectors in China, including computers, management consulting, mining, sports, environment and air transport, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Legal services, architectural design, engineering and real estate are among the 37 Chilean service industries listed in the agreement, the agency said.

The agreement was signed in the southern island resort of Hainan by Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming and Chilean Deputy Foreign Minister Alberto Van Klaveren, with the target of implementation on January 1, 2009, it said.

The signing followed talks in Hainan earlier on Sunday between Chinese President Hu Jintao and his Chilean counterpart Michelle Bachelet.

Hu and Bachelet agreed that the two countries should increase cooperation in culture, education, technology, personnel exchanges and in international forums such as the United Nations.

State media quoted Bachelet as saying Chile wanted more cooperation with China in politics, trade, investment, agriculture, Antarctic scientific exploration and climate change.

Bilateral trade soared by 65 per cent year on year to a value of 14.7 billion dollars last year, following the implementation of the free-trade agreement in October 2006.

Chilean exports to China rose to 10.3 billion dollars, boosted by trade in copper and wine, according to Chinese statistics.

Bachelet and Hu attended the Bo'ao Asian economic forum in Hainan on Saturday, when Bachelet made a speech calling for "closer cooperation between Asia and Latin America in the trend of globalization to achieve mutual development".

Bachelet travelled to Beijing later Sunday for meetings with Premier Wen Jiabao and other Chinese leaders.