According to Chile's exports authorities, Chile's trade ties with China remain solid and based on long-term growth despite the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
China is not only Chile's main trading partner, but "beyond economy and trade, there is a humanitarian relationship" between the two nations, said Jorge O'Ryan, director of ProChile, an official agency dedicated to promoting Chilean exports.
ProChile announced a donation of 11,000 crates of vitamin C-rich fruits, mainly cherries and cranberries, to hospitals in Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus outbreak in central China.
Chile values its "excellent ties" with China, marked by the sincerity of both sides in fulfilling obligations, said O'Ryan, adding that the two trading partners "have always seen this relationship as one of long-term trust." Considering the epidemic as "a temporary problem, " O'Ryan said "we will continue to export to China, and we hope it will be resolved soon."
On Friday, government officials met with representatives of exporters to discuss the prospects for Chilean exports amid the epidemic and propose measures to mitigate any potential impact.
"China accounts for nearly 30 percent of our exports," said Jorge Valenzuela, president of the Chilean Federation of Fruit Producers known as Fedefruta.
The outbreak "is an emergency like any outbreak that occurs around the world, but our ties with China are deep and long-standing ... so this situation is not going to stop or slow down bilateral relations," said Valenzuela.
The Chinese authorities have "taken special and protective measures in the face of the novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic," said Miguel Canala-Echeverria, general manager of the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association known as Asoex. "China is an important partner," said Juan Carlos Dominguez, executive president of the Chilean Meat Exporters' Association, adding that "we will continue to do business and maintain this great friendship with China."
China is Chile's main trading partner and leading exports destination. About 31 percent of Chilean exports went to the Asian country in 2019, according to Chile's National Customs Service.