Exclusive: Latin America open for cooperation with Chinese technology, products in new-energy sector: former Ecuadorian transport minister

China Ecuador Photo: VCG

China Ecuador Photo: VCG

There is huge opportunity for cooperation with China in the new-energy sector in Latin America, and the region is open for corresponding Chinese technology and products, Héctor Villagrán-Cepeda, former minister of transport and public works of Ecuador, told the Global Times in an exclusive interview on Sunday.

The remarks came amid rising protectionism by the US-led West against China’s new-energy products, with the new-energy vehicle (NEV) sector being a main target, over so-called overcapacity claims.

Despite challenges from third parties, Villagrán-Cepeda said that the relationship and cooperation between China and Latin America “will not be affected due to the strong will and determination of our common regions.”

Héctor Villagrán-Cepeda, former minister of transport and public works of Ecuador Photo: Courtesy of Héctor Villagrán-Cepeda

Héctor Villagrán-Cepeda, former minister of transport and public works of Ecuador Photo: Courtesy of Héctor Villagrán-Cepeda

Villagrán-Cepeda praised the cost-effectiveness of Chinese new-energy sector and called for greater cooperation between China and Latin American countries in the field.

The possibility of cooperation between China and Latin America is a great step toward world peace and understanding, he said.

“Our region for the past 500 years has been on a constant quest to find a scientific path for development. Chinese development policies are a hope for industrial development and a way to start knowledge-based economies in the region,” he said.

“The time is now to deepen the relationship with mutual benefit for both China, with its high-technology development, and Latin America, with its abundant natural resources, in the important task of environmental protection,” Villagrán-Cepeda further noted.

Moreover, as Villagrán-Cepeda noted, Latin America is an important source of the natural resources that are needed for the development of new-energy products with Chinese technology.

He spoke highly of China’s NEV sector for its cost-effectiveness, industrial transformation and contribution to carbon reductions in the region.

The [industrial and green] transformation for Latin America was to adopt Chinese methods of low-energy consumption many years ago, and that transformation has benefited the transportation of passengers and cargo with low unit costs and low pollution, in addition to savings on fuel, Villagrán-Cepeda said.

Villagrán-Cepeda said that cooperation with China in the region’s green transformation is needed for future development because of various factors, including less pollution, lower costs and industrial upgrades.

He noted the need for technology cooperation. “Demand is huge in Latin America, because people trust Chinese technologies,” he said.

The green transformation has additional value since it boosts the industrial transformation that Latin America has been trying to accomplish, according to Villagrán-Cepeda.

Chinese companies have built many factories in Latin America, not only in Ecuador, and this process creates jobs, develops industrial capacity and transfers technology, he said.

Besides of NEVs, there are many other green products that provide opportunities for cooperation between China and Latin American countries, such as solar power, wind power and hydropower, which have proved very successful in the region, according to Villagrán-Cepeda.

In recent years, NEVs, lithium batteries and photovoltaic products have become a fresh calling card for showcasing China’s manufacturing shift toward high-end, intelligent and green development.

This transformation has not just contributed to China’s green transformation but has had an effect worldwide, including in Latin American countries, which have become an increasingly important market for China’s NEV exports.

There is a big, big opportunity for Latin America in the green field, and Latin America is open for Chinese technology and products, Villagrán-Cepeda said.

As the China-Ecuador Free Trade Agreement just took effect on May 1, Ecuador has gained momentum in its green transformation, while helping Chinese companies go global.