A senior Chilean official has hailed the ever-expanding trade ties between his country and China in a recent interview with Xinhua.
"Trade ties between the two countries have expanded considerably," said Alvaro Jana, director of the Foreign Ministry for International Economic Relations (Direcon).
Jana said the two countries' economic links have been greatly consolidated, especially since they signed the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that came into effect in 2006.
"Trade between Chile and China totaled 31.297 billion U.S. dollars" in 2011, up 14.9 percent from the previous year, said Jana.
China has been the leading export destination for Chile since 2007, according to the official.
He said that in 2011, Chilean exports to China amounted to 18.6 billion dollars, up 7.67 percent from the year 2010, and up 42.78 percent from 2009.
"Chile's fresh and processed food exports to China have grown significantly," said Jana.
Chile's exports of fresh fruit to China, which totaled 5 million dollars in 2004, rose to nearly 165 million dollars in 2011, he said.
In 2011, Chile provided 75 percent of the cherries consumed in China, 71 percent of fresh prunes, 58 percent of grapes, and 40 percent of frozen raspberries, he said.
Exports of other Chilean food to China have also grown, such as frozen trout, whose market share in China rose to 82 percent in 2011 from the 28 percent in 2004, added Jana.
The official said the ever-growing trade ties between the two countries are an indication of the good state of their bilateral relations.
Bilateral ties between Chile and China have been growing steadily with frequent high-level exchanges, which is also confirmed by a Direcon report titled "Evaluation of the Chile-China Free Trade Agreement's first six years," said the official.
Jana said progress has also been made in the implementation of agreements signed during Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Chile in June.
During Wen's two-day visit, 10 agreements have been signed by Wen and Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, including measures to promote the export of Chilean agricultural products to China and joint work in astronomy.
"Talks on the Additional Agreement for Investments have ended, and agricultural cooperation has improved. We have advanced in sanitary protocols to export national products to China, and some commitments on innovation have also been made, among other agreements," said Jana.