BEIJING – Chile hopes to benefit from China’s push to promote electric vehicles by exporting more copper and lithium to the Asian country, the President of the Senate of Chile told EFE on Monday in an interview.
Andres Zaldivar, who is in Beijing on the invitation of Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress Zhang Dejiang, for bilateral talks to promote political and economic cooperation between the two countries, said China is one of the main buyers of Chilean copper and is interested in increasing its imports of lithium.
“An electric car uses four times the copper that a normal one does, and moreover, the batteries are made up of lithium, so it has double benefit for the Chilean economy,” he said.
The demand for more copper and lithium, he said, will increase in China in the short run as the country produces more electric vehicles.
“Chinese companies want to invest in Chilean companies which are exporting lithium,” said Zaldivar.
He added Chinese companies were also interested in investing in other sectors, like infrastructure and the fruit and vegetable sector.
Chile also hopes to export more fruits and meat, including poultry, and wine, to China, which is a strategic trade destination for the country, ahead of the United States, he added.
“China is acquiring an importance that the US earlier had,” he said, adding that recent statements by US President Donald Trump have cast doubt over the strategic role of the US in world trade.
During his visit, Zaldivar will also discuss the expansion of the free trade treaty that the two countries have signed and analyze how Chile can participate in the Chinese-led infrastructure megaproject, the New Silk Road.
Chile also is looking to build – with the help of China – a high speed train that connects the capital Santiago, to the city of Valparaiso on the coast.
Zaldivar’s visit comes two months after Chilean prosecutors announced that he is being investigated for his alleged role in a case of trafficking Chinese migrants, and bribery, an accusation that he rejected on Monday.