Latin America, Europe open trade summit in Chile
SANTIAGO (AFP) - Leaders of crisis-hit Europe kicked off a two-day summit on Saturday with their counterparts from resource-rich Latin America, seeking closer trade ties but also assurances against protectionism.
Some 60 countries are represented at the meeting between the 27-member European Union and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, or CELAC.
Set up in Caracas in December 2011 at the behest of Venezuela, CELAC groups all nations from across the Americas except the United States and Canada and aims to boost regional trade and integration.
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, the summit host, warmly welcomed his guests and called for a new "strategic alliance to achieve sustainable development." The EU is the biggest outside investor in Latin America, accounting for three percent of direct foreign investment in CELAC or US$385 billion (S$475 billion) in 2010.