Big deals expected when Chinese premier visits South America

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrives to a welcoming ceremony for Algeria's Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, April 29, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon (Reuters)

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will visit South America next week on a four-nation tour, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday, a part of the world where China has deep business ties but traditionally only limited political influence. Li will travel to Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Chile on the May 18-26 trip, the ministry said, without providing other details. Visits by top Chinese leaders are typically accompanied by impressive deals, especially in resource-rich nations like Brazil and Chile. China, the world's second-largest economy, is buying oil from Venezuela, copper from Peru and Chile, and soybeans from Argentina and Brazil, for example. In return, China has invested billions of dollars. In January, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged $250 billion in investment in Latin America over the next 10 years as part of a drive to boost resource-hungry China's influence in a region long dominated by the United States.. (Reporting by Ben Blanchard)