SANTIAGO, May 22 (Xinhua) -- China is an "extremely important" partner for Latin America and the Caribbean, with 19 countries having joined the construction of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), said a senior UN official on Wednesday.
China is advancing at a very rapid pace, with significant spending on investment and development associated with technological innovation, a key issue for this hemisphere, said Alicia Barcena, executive secretary of the Chile-based United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
Latin America can benefit from the BRI in investment and trade, she said, adding that China has placed emphasis on infrastructure, especially in terms of connectivity, which for this region is very important.
When talking about trade, Barcena said China is a very relevant partner for South America, citing Chile as an example, whose exports to the Asian country account for some 30 percent of its total.
Financial cooperation and people-to-people exchanges between China and the region will also grow within the framework of the BRI, she said.
Barcena highlighted China's commitment to making the BRI clean, green and sustainable, another "central theme" for Latin America and the Caribbean.
The ECLAC forecasts an economic growth of 1.3 percent for the region this year, although the economies are in a more moderate period of growth than previously thought, according to Barcena.
She mentioned the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting, which will take place in Chile in November.
"It will be a good moment to analyze the position of world trade," and take note on the performance of the Asia-Pacific region, Barcena said.