China's Prime Minister Wen Jiabao announced Tuesday that Beijing was prepared to trade with the Pacific Alliance, a new trading bloc consisting of Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru.
"China is willing to create and develop relations with the Pacific Alliance," Wen said at a news conference in Santiago.
The idea of creating this new bloc -- a market with 215 million consumers and a combined gross domestic product of more than two trillion dollars -- was conceived in Lima last year at the urging of Peru's former president Alan Garcia.
Formed earlier this month, the bloc aims to establish free trade among its members but also to open them to the markets of the Asia Pacific region.
During his visit, Wen also concluded an agreement with Chilean President Sebastian Pinero to broaden the free trade agreement that the two countries signed in 2005.
Santiago is the Chinese premier's last stop on a South American tour that has also taken him to Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay.