LatinNews Daily - 17 April 2024

In brief: El Salvador and China launch FTA talks

*El Salvador’s economy minister, María Luisa Hayem, and China’s deputy minister of commerce and international trade negotiation representative, Wang Shouwen, have announced the official start of free trade agreement negotiations. El Salvador’s Nayib Bukele had already said in November 2022 that the two countries, which established relations in 2018 after El Salvador severed ties with Taiwan, would begin free trade talks and that a treaty would be finalised “as soon as possible.” According to a press release by El Salvador’s presidency, the two sides will seek an agreement which will also cover issues such as intellectual property, services and investment, economic cooperation, and small and medium-size enterprises. The two will install a working table to establish a general framework of negotiations. Wang was cited by national daily La Prensa Gráfica as saying that bilateral trade exceeded US$1.8bn in 2023, double the amount registered prior to 2018. Also indicative of strengthening ties, on 10 April a delegation of senior officials from Bukele’s Nuevas Ideas (NI) party met China’s Vice President Han Zheng in Beijing. China’s state news agency Xinhua cited Han as saying that China’s Communist Party is willing to “build a new type of political party relations with NI and push for steady and long-term bilateral relations”.

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