纽带:拉美、加勒比地区对中国发展的看法 - 2023-07-23


The world's economy is deeply interconnected with mutual benefits, even between the most distant regions.

It usually takes around 40 hours to fly from Shanghai to the Ecuadorian city of Jaramijo, but the seafood company Puertomar S.A. there has been using Chinese packaging and food additives for years. Now it is eying Shanghai for its headquarters to enter the Chinese and Asian markets.

"Importing packaging from China gives us a very competitive price when exporting," Kathya Sayonara Reyna Arias, the company's manager of product development, told Shanghai Daily in a recent interview in Shanghai.

"In that sense, globalization, or interdependency is very important, and China is a great strategic partner."

Ecuador was the latest country in Latin America to sign a Free Trade Agreement with China in May, joining Chile, Costa Rica and Peru.

Chinese ties with the region date back centuries, but China developed close economic relations with the region in just the last two decades or so. Data from China's general administration of customs shows that the trade value between China and Latin America and the Caribbean exceeded US$450 billion in 2022, a sharp rise from around US$12 billion in 2000.

Though so far apart, Chinese residents are getting to know about the region better from the increasing number of products in local markets, including Ecuadorian shrimp, blueberries from Peru and Colombian hydrangeas.

Participants taste Chilean wine at the 2nd China International Import Expo in Shanghai in 2019.

A staffer shows off cherries from Chile at the food and agricultural products area of the 2019 CIIE.

Increasingly more Latin Americans and people from the Caribbean are also visiting China, hoping to discover the secrets behind its rapid economic growth, Chinese modernization and developments in the latest technologies.

Ecuadorian seafood manager Sayonara Reyna Arias was among the latest to hit Shanghai. Early this week, she finished a three-week Science & Technology Innovation Seminar for Latin American Countries, organized by China's Ministry of Commerce, with 30 other attendees from 10 Latin American countries.

Hosted by the Shanghai Business School, they visited innovation incubators, high-tech companies and industrial zones in Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, in addition to in-depth exchanges with experts in relevant fields.

Some were newcomers to China, or even Asia, while others have continued to return with increasingly more diversified interests in China.

"My primary interest in China is rooted in my academic research," said Diego Pautasso, a professor from the Porto Alegre Military School in Brazil. "I've been writing about international relations and articles that reflect China's transformations for 20 years now."

This is Pautasso's fifth trip to China, which he first visited in 2009 after completing his PhD.

"Of course the more I came, the more extensive my interest in China has grown," he noted.

"Now it has extended to China's history, culture, geography and certainly, Chinese food. Every time I come to China, it gives me a completely different experience. Every time I come, I see great transformations. That's why I keep coming back."

Shanghai Daily spoke with some of the visitors to see what had impressed them the most, their understanding of technology and innovation, and what they wanted to take back to their home countries.

Ruben Alberto Pena Mariscal
Director of technology and innovation
Santa Cruz Department, Bolivia

"My responsibilities in the department include planning and building innovative high-tech parks that fit the future development of Industry 4.0. We have just built some new buildings in existing industrial parks to offer new spaces, and more importantly, to explore new potentials in innovation.

"This seminar in China has solidified my confidence to continue this development. The Chinese experience in operating such industrial parks has provided me with a better and broader perspective. We can certainly learn from the Chinese method."

Diego Pautasso
Porto Alegre Military School, Brazil

"I've written quite a lot about China's transformations to reflect the real China, through my academic papers and my Twitter account. In Brazil, there are increasingly more voices like mine from young scholars, who publish academically or post on social media platforms. We have a refreshing perspective about China, which is different from the American angle.

"This perspective, which is supported by facts rather than manipulative fake news, is getting increasing acknowledgement from more people in Brazil."

Luis Hernando Sanchez Zapata
Specialized expert
Ministry of Science, Colombia

"I've had a great lifestyle and governance experience in Shanghai and other Chinese cities we visited during this trip. For example, how to build a good business environment and encourage an innovative spirit in general. Our ministry pays a lot of attention to innovative research, but I found that Chinese really value and benefit from the coordination between different parties.

"For example, how to encourage great innovative talent, and build an innovative environment, and turn research results into products that benefit the people and, in turn, further improve technological development. I've certainly been inspired."

Jose Pablo Sibaja Jimenez
Legislative Assembly, Costa Rica

"As a deputy of our Legislative Assembly, I've paid a lot of attention to China's development, but seeing its technological development on the spot is quite different. It was beyond my expectations. For example, Alipay is such a small system, but has such great use for Chinese in everyday life.

"China is very developed in Internet connection, and we really want to develop 5G technology in Costa Rica, which is of great help for small and new enterprises in terms of technology and innovation."

Ruberdanis Tamayo Portales
Director of technology and innovation
Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, Cuba

"This is my fourth trip to China. I'm impressed every time I visit, not only by the general economic development of the country, but also how dedicated Chinese people are to their profession. Such dedication and their work attitude all contribute to China's great achievements.

"When I visited in 2011 for the first time, there were still quite a few people in poverty, and now China has completed its poverty alleviation. So in a way, I'm also an eye-witness to China's rapid development in many aspects."

Elvin Christopher De La Cruz Catano
Ministry of Industry, Commerce and MSMEs (MICM), Dominican Republic

"Since we established diplomatic relations in 2018, we have seen increasing bilateral exchanges in various fields. China, a great economic power, has lots of experience that we can learn from, such as innovation.

"Innovation is a great concept, and China has integrated many ideas of innovation in its governance and advanced manufacturing. We can certainly learn from such experience."

Kathya Sayonara Reyna Arias
Manager I+D+I
Puertomar S.A., Ecuador

"My boss toured around Asia and decided to look at Shanghai as our Asian headquarters. China is a great base to sell products to other Asian countries, and may also extend to European and African countries.

"Shanghai is great in its flow of commerce and trade, as well as fitting shipping routes. And I would definitely hope to come back and work in Shanghai when we establish an office here, with the possibility of local production in the future.

"China is a huge market with lots of interesting food, and I'm really up for the challenge to innovate and develop new products that cater to the Chinese palate."

Patricia Palacios Fernandez
Ministry of Commerce and Industries, Panama

"For Latin American countries, and Panama specially, there are many aspects in China that we can learn from. I've been quite impressed by how policies are made and implemented with high efficiency here, and the rapid progress of technological development.

"We also have innovation incubators back in Panama, but in China, you have institutions specifically helping the incubators. This is definitely something we can learn to optimize operations of our incubators."

Diana Placida Estrada Taboada
Expert in biotechnology
National Council of Science, Technology and Technological Innovation, Peru

"I've now experienced the convenient transportation system in China, including the bullet train. You have very diversified and convenient lifestyles in China, made possible by technological development.

"The level of automation in the Chinese factories we visited is highly impressive, as are your achievements in telecommunications and environment. By environment, I'm not only talking about the greenery in cities, but also the work environment in factories and companies."

Danmarys Lucia Hernandez Gonzalez
Vice minister
Ministry of Science and Technology, Venezuela

"We are suffering from 950 unilateral sanctions or forced measures from the United States. We highly appreciate how China has been trying to help us in many ways. We seek a more globalized and equal trade relations in today's world, and hope to find ways to counter American hegemonic and unfair policies on Latin American countries and developing nations.

"We are also pushing for Latin America as a whole to be a force in promoting a more balanced development and multilateral cooperations, and certainly more collaborations with China. Enhancing partnership with China is a consensus of many Latin American countries."

Source: Shanghai Daily





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