Technicians check trains parked at a factory in Llavallol, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina, on Nov 16. [Photo/Xinhua]
Like a giant ship unperturbed by choppy waters, the relationship between China and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) has been sailing steadily amid a turbulent 2020.
Though the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic hit the region hard, there is light at the end of the tunnel as China and LAC countries stand side by side during this hard time.
With joint efforts to build a community with a shared future, China and the LAC have also set a shining example of overcoming global challenges with solidarity and win-win cooperation.
When the virus hit the LAC, China was the first country to lend a helping hand, building resilience in the region’s relatively fragile healthcare systems.
On March 23, representatives from China and LAC countries held a timely virtual meeting on epidemic prevention and control.
In a timely manner, Chinese experts shared their experiences and knowledge on disease control and clinical treatment with their LAC counterparts. China has also set up the first ever air bridge with both Argentina and Mexico to deliver much-needed medical supplies, including vital personal protective equipment for healthcare workers.
Besides, as an epitome of cooperation in the fight against the virus, companies from China and several LAC countries, such as Brazil and Mexico, are ramping up joint efforts to conduct vaccine efficacy trials, in a bid to help restore normalcy to the world as soon as possible.
The two staunch friends have also been carrying out win-win cooperation on trade amid the pandemic.
Facts speak for themselves.A total of 131 companies from 14 LAC countries took part in this year’s China International Import Expo.
According to the Brazilian Meat Packers Association, the Chinese market accounted for 57.9 percent of Brazil’s beef exports in the year through November, compared to 43.2 percent for the same period in 2019.
Since 2018, the percentage of Chilean food exports to China has been always on the rise, reaching 26.1 percent so far this year, according to the South American country’s agriculture ministry.
Over 60 million boxes of Chilean cherries are destined for China this season, turning the fruit into a symbol of growing trade ties between the two countries, said Chilean Agriculture Minister Antonio Walker.
More importantly, under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China and the LAC have been working even more closely amid the pandemic, improving connectivity through infrastructure works and generating jobs to boost economic recovery.
As of October, 19 LAC countries had signed memorandums of understanding for the joint construction of the BRI with China.
There have been so far over 2,500 Chinese enterprises in the LAC, creating more than 1.8 million jobs for local people. Amid the raging pandemic this year, Chinese foreign direct investment in the LAC still surged by 21 percent year-on-year.
In November, a Chinese consortium signed an agreement with Brazil’s northeastern state of Bahia to build Latin America’s longest cable-stayed sea bridge. A month later, Chinese companies and Argentina took another step forward in railway cooperation after signing four new agreements worth some $4.7 billion dollars, which will strengthen Argentina’s connectivity and export capacity.
Looking into the future, the bond between China and the LAC is set to grow. China will always be a good partner and play a key role in helping the region ride the waves of similar crises.
With closer ties, the giant ship of the China-LAC community will successfully navigate more challenges, and head towards a brighter horizon for a shared and better future.