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By Antonio de la Jara

SANTIAGO, Chile, Aug 30 (Reuters) - A small shipment of Chinese cars due to arrive in Chile on Wednesday sets the stage for an expected surge of imports made possible by a free-trade agreement that takes effect in October.

A shipment of 379 Corsa Sail cars made in a General Motors Corp. plant in Shanghai will arrive in the port of Valpariso. GM will sell the vehicles through its Chevrolet brand, which is already sold in Chile.

"Undoubtedly the signing of the free trade agreement has opened the possibility of importing different Chinese-made cars to Chile," said Augusto Contreras, general manager of the National Automobile Chamber of Commerce in Chile.


Chile, one of the world's most open economies, imports cars from all over the world, with General Motors (GM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Toyota Motor Corp. (7203.T: Quote, NEWS, Research) dominating the market.

France's Peugeot Citroen (PEUP.PA: Quote, Profile, Research), Korea's Hyundai Motor Co. (005380.KS: Quote, Profile, Research) and Japan's Nissan Motor Co. (7201.T: Quote, NEWS, Research) also have substantial market shares.

Chinese manufacturers until now have been left out of Chile's booming market for imported automobiles, which has been supported by strong consumer demand and an appreciating peso currency.

The free-trade agreement is the first China has signed with a non-Asian country. It provides for an immediate cut in import duties on 92 percent of Chilean exports to China, the South American country's most important trade partner after the United States.

It also reduces duties on Chinese machinery and automobiles entering Chile to zero from the current rate of 6 perc
..http://today.reuters.com/news/artic...IDST_0_TRADE-CHILE-CHINA.XML&rpc=66&type=qcna
 

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Chinese Cars To Arrive In Chile

(September 3, 2006) As a result of the new free trade agreement between Chile and China, a shipment of Chinese cars will arrive in Valparaiso later this week.

The agreement signed earlier this month takes effect in October, but 379 Corsa Sail cars made in a General Motors Corporation plant in Shanghai are blazing the trail for the expected surge of imports.

The cars will be sold through General Motors’ Chevrolet dealerships in Chile.

So far, Chinese car manufacturers have been left out of Chile's booming market for imported automobiles, but the free trade agreement makes this kind of import possible.

Chile is the first country in the world to sign such an agreement with China. The agreement removes tariffs on 92 percent of Chilean items exported to the Asian country and 50 percent of Chinese goods imported by Chile. (ST, August 22)

China is Chile’s second biggest trading partner after the U.S. In 2005 commercial relations between the two countries reached US$7 billion. Chinese purchases of copper is the lion’s share of this figure.

With the agreement, Chile hopes to become the entry point for Chinese investment in the South American cone region in the fields of mining, energy, infrastructure, and agriculture.

By Morten Szygenda ([email protected])
 
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