Uruguay's Jose Mujica and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed on Monday to work to strengthen bilateral ties.
The two leaders held a working meeting in Beijing's Great Hall of the People at the end of which they signed seven cooperation accords in areas including education, banking oversight and mining.
The Uruguayan leader remarked upon the change he had noted in China since his first visit to the Asian country half a century ago, adding that it was "in another stage of development" at that time compared with its current situation and that it "has emerged from poverty" and is making its voice heard on the world stage.
Meanwhile, Xi said that relations between China and Uruguay are an "example of unity in the cooperation of countries on roads to development."
Mujica's visit is geared to fostering trade relations and Chinese investment in areas like Uruguay's plans for a deepwater port on the Atlantic.
According to Chinese figures, bilateral trade increased from $2.63 billion in 2010 to $4.33 billion in 2012, the year in which the Asian giant became Uruguay's biggest trade partner.
Mujica participated on Monday in the inaugural session of the China-Uruguay Business Round of talks, where he encouraged investment in his country but also noted that China's trade relations with the region must not only include the purchase of raw materials, which has been the case up to now.
Thus, he recommended that China "found businesses complementary to our economy" in Latin America, such that trade relations beneficial to both may be achieved.
Mujica also said that those companies "cannot be colonial," but rather they must "generate real benefits in all parts of society, because if not they are short-term and, therefore, unstable." EFE