SANTIAGO, July 28 (Xinhua) -- "China continues to be a very important partner of Latin America, despite a slowdown in its growth," Alicia Barcena, executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), told Xinhua in an interview earlier this week.
At the presentation of the ECLAC's new report, The Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean 2016, Barcena said the UN panel believed that China-Latin America cooperation in different economic sectors, such as agriculture, could further strengthen their overall relations.
Financial cooperation is another crucial aspect "as China has become an important financial partner for certain countries in the region, such as Venezuela and Ecuador," she added.
Noting that China is playing an increasingly important role in global affairs, the senior UN official said China has shown its willingness to cooperate with Latin America.
"There have been advances to implement the cooperation fund that the Chinese government has announced (for the region)...and China has also teamed up with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for programs in Latin America," said Barcena.
"This year, the ECLAC hopes to visit China to identify potential joint economic actions. We also hope to have a dialogue with the Chinese government to move forward on the great environmental drive...before the next UN General Assembly where the Paris Agreement on climate change will be ratified," she added.
"China has a medium-term outlook...it has already become the principal producer of refined copper and iron in the world, thanks to all the metals it has bought in the last decade," said Barcena.
However, it is important for Latin America and China to further diversified their economic ties beyond the trade of raw materials, Barcena said, adding that China could play a significant role in helping the region upgrade its industries and raise productivity.
In its latest report, the UN regional economics mission also underlined the positive economic trend in China, saying that "there are signs showing that China's growth is beginning to stabilize and that a forced landing is not yet looming."