China woos Latin America with $20bn credit for new infrastructure

Xi Jinping, the president of China, has offered to create a $20bn fund to invest in infrastructure projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

Speaking at a forum for regional economies hosted by by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Xi said China would assist Caribbean and Latin American states to increase their bilateral trade with his country to $500bn in 10 years. Trade between China and the region has already grown from $12.6bn in 2000 to $261.6bn last year.

A line of credit from the Bank of China worth $10bn would also be available to nations of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.

Xi has said that the co-operation between the regions should focus on six areas: energy and resources, infrastructure building, agriculture, manufacturing, scientific and technological innovation and information technologies.

Foreign ministers of the forum are due to meet in China next year to determine the mechanism to access the infrastructure fund.

President Rousseff said China has proposed to create the fund immediately "so that it can be ready next year. This money is an exclusively Chinese proposal".

China and Brazil have already signed agreements covering aerospace and mining, among other areas, worth $7.5bn.

The meeting follows a summit between the BRICS countries in the Brazilian seaside city of Fortaleza, at which Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa agreed to create a development bank and a crisis reserve fund as a rival to Western-dominated institutions such as the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund.

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