PUNTA DEL ESTE, Uruguay – The 11th and biggest-ever edition of the China-LAC business summit, an event linking China and the Latin American and Caribbean region, drew to a successful close on Saturday in this southern city.
That was the conclusion of Antonio Carambula, executive director of Uruguay XXI, the Uruguayan government’s export and investment promotion agency, who told EFE the event met the expectations of its organizers.
He also underscored the opportunity the summit represented for the Latin American region and also for Uruguay, noting that China is that South American country’s “main trade partner.”
The gathering concluded with hundreds of meetings involving some of the 2,200 participating business leaders and companies: 604 from China, 760 from Uruguay and 836 from the rest of the Latin American and Caribbean region.
After registration and the welcome ceremony on Thursday, plenary and parallel sessions were held on Friday at the Punta del Este Convention & Exhibition Center, with 101 media outlets and journalists from all over the world on hand to cover the events.
The forums of that main day of the event were centered around five themes: infrastructure, food safety and agribusiness, logistics and renewable energy, e-commerce and cities, and global services.
On hand for the inaugural session were Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez, who later toured the 5,600-sq.-meter (60,200-sq.-foot) venue accompanied by Ma Peihua, vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.
“Objectives were achieved, such as laying out the business opportunities that exist in all that pertains to agribusiness, services, renewable energies, as well as the importance of e-commerce and cooperation,” Carambula said.
He also said a key objective was ensuring that “more Chinese companies collaborate in the financing of infrastructural improvements in the region.”
That is especially important at a “time of protectionism in the world, of protectionist tendencies,” said the executive director of Uruguay XXI, which this year joined the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Chinese Council for the Promotion of International Trade in co-organizing the event.
Carambula said he was very pleased overall with how the summit in Uruguay had unfolded.
Regarding the agreements reached over the three-day event, the Uruguay XXI executive director highlighted the signing of an agreement between Uruguay’s National Meat Institute and the China Investment Corporation sovereign wealth fund.
That deal consists of a “meat traceability certification” that will allow the South American country to boost the presence of its products in the Asian nation, he said.
“It will facilitate access to Uruguayan meat in China. They’re going to set themselves up here to do that certification. I think it’s good news and was among the most important deals we had these days,” Carambula said.
On Saturday, the closing day of the business summit, the participants were able to take part in a technical visit to the Zonamerica free-trade zone outside Montevideo and to state telecommunication company Antel’s Datacenter.
A second technical visit, meanwhile, offered guests the opportunity to tour the Bodega Garzon, one of Uruguay’s leading wineries.