Chile's Foreign Minister analyzes the future of bilateral business relations

The session was opened by the Ibero-American Secretary General, Rebeca Grynspan, the Secretary of State for Commerce, Xiana Méndez; the vice president of CEOE, Gerardo Cuerva; his counterpart from the CPC, Juan Sutil; and the general director of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, Inmaculada Riera.

The Chilean Minister, Andrés Allamand, presented the business opportunities derived from the constitutional process in the Andean country.

The Chilean Foreign Minister, Andrés Allamand, analyzed the future of business relations during a virtual bilateral meeting held from the CEOE headquarters. The Ibero-American Secretary General, Rebeca Grynspan; the Secretary of State for Commerce, Xiana Méndez; the vice president of CEOE, Gerardo Cuerva; his counterpart from the CPC, Juan Sutil; the general director of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, Inmaculada Riera; and the ambassadors of both countries, Enrique Ojeda and Roberto Ampuero. The day served to learn first-hand the business opportunities derived from the constitutional process in the Andean country.

Constituent process in Chile

The Chilean Minister of Foreign Relations, Andrés Allamand, highlighted five main features of the constitutional process in the country when he said that it is a regulated process with rules, something fundamental for there to be a broad consensus; It has fixed terms, it will not be prolonged in time; the constituent convention has its competence well defined, which is to draft the constitutional text, but without interfering with other organs or powers of the State; However, the Convention will have a very broad autonomy to draft the document, but it will be clear that Chile must continue to be a democracy and a Republic, and respect all international treaties that are in force; and finally, there must be a special, majority and ultra-qualified quorum of the norms that are to be taken to a plebiscite, in order to achieve a broad political consensus.

Despite being a complex process, the Minister stressed, we must be optimistic. In addition, he added, Chile is a country with a very strong international vocation, which goes beyond trade and investments, based not only on the benefits that the country obtains from its opening to the world, but also on the contributions it makes to the same. In this sense, he mentioned that the Andean country has 43% of its exclusive economic zone under different forms of protection, it is intended to promote a green hydrogen diplomacy that will change the fuel landscape, there are large reserves of lithium for electromobility and The country is a leader in food security.

Andrés Allamand made a forecast of what to expect from the constituent process, and predicted that Chile will adopt a new course without abandoning its path of progress and the pillars that have contributed to it; He spoke of the incorporation of mechanisms that ensure greater inclusion and social cohesion; the adoption of international instruments to try to reduce the gap between leadership and citizenship; highlighted the will to continue being potential allies of Europe and commercial partners of Spain; and he announced that Chile will maintain its institutional capital and legal security abroad.

Bilateral relations

The vice president of CEOE and president of CEPYME, valued the ties between Chile and Spain, which are based on excellent business and institutional relations and strong historical and cultural ties, which have resulted in significant commercial growth in recent years. years, largely derived from increased investor confidence and involvement in the Chilean economy. And it is that, stressed Cuerva, among the factors most valued by Spanish companies are: transparency, legal certainty, good macroeconomic performance and their degree of openness to other markets. That is why, he continued, that Spanish companies are in Chile, not only to invest, but to stay, with a clear vocation of permanence and becoming part of the country's ecosystem.

In this sense, he highlighted how “from CEOE, CEPYME and the Council of Ibero-American Entrepreneurs-CEIB we are firm defenders of the opening of our economies to trade and investment. We also promote sustainable development, gender equality, the defense of legal security, training, social dialogue, digitization and innovation, among other very relevant aspects for our society ”, he stated. Principles all of them that, in turn, identify the Chile-Spain Business Council, whose Spanish chapter presides together with Andrés Montero on the Chilean side, and which was reactivated last June.

The president of CPC, Juan Sutil, underlined the opportunities that will arise for the Chilean institutions thanks to its constitutional process, and especially for Spanish companies, which have been strategic partners for years. "We are going to achieve a balanced, republican process, and with certain initial concerns that will be cleared over time." Sutil opted to follow in the footsteps of Europe to build a more just, inclusive, cohesive society with great legal certainty, which allows the country to build development and growth for the future with hope.

The Secretary of State for Commerce, Xiana Méndez, highlighted the solid bilateral relations between both countries and emphasized that this meeting shows “the great interest that Chile awakens for Spanish investors. In 2019, Spain was the second foreign investor in terms of stock. The horizon of Spanish investments in Chile is long-term and the flow of investments continues and will continue if possible with more force once the pandemic has been overcome ”.

He also underlined the contribution of Spanish companies to economic and social development in Chile since, "in the first nine months of this year, they have actively participated in public tenders and have been awarded 15 projects, worth more than 1,000 million euros, in industrial facilities, energy and hospitals ". In fact, he pointed to the great trajectory they have in renewable energy, a priority issue for both Spain and Chile, which has drawn up a National Green Hydrogen Strategy: “Both countries are promoting a more inclusive and sustainable development. In this area, the Spanish engineering companies established in Chile have extensive experience in renewable energy and green hydrogen projects that can contribute positively ”.

In her speech, the general director of the Spanish Chamber, Inmaculada Riera, referred to the strong ties that unite the economies of the two countries, with more than 600 Spanish companies present in that country. "In addition to the large service companies in key sectors such as banking, insurance, telephony, energy, water or infrastructure, there are many SMEs that have arrived and continue to arrive in recent years," said Riera who also referred to the growing interest of Chilean companies in Spain.

Inmaculada Riera also emphasized that “Spain has and feels with Chile a firm commitment that does not depend on conjunctures, but responds to deep affinities and is nourished by shared values ​​and affection. It is a commitment for the present and for the future, since all the improvements for Chile will also be improvements for the Spanish business fabric ”, he concluded.

During the meeting, the Ibero-American Secretary General praised the value and principles that unite both countries, such as the firm defense of multilateralism in these turbulent times, the mutual commitment to international cooperation and the importance of open trade, but with rules that regulate it in an effective and beneficial way for all. In his speech, he also wanted to highlight the intense activity carried out by SEGIB and CEIB (Council of Ibero-American Entrepreneurs) during these months of the pandemic, to reinforce dialogue, consensus and public-private collaboration to overcome the crisis. He insisted that Chile is one of the good news that has emerged in Latin America during the crisis, for having known how to manage and channel the social unrest that occurred in the country.

The ambassadors of Spain in Chile, Enrique Ojeda and the Andean country in Spain, Roberto Ampuero, valued the excellent bilateral relations at all levels, and the boost they have received thanks to the reactivation of the Hispano-Chilean Business Council, since its reactivation last June. Likewise, they influenced the high level of understanding of both countries and their common defense for democracy, free trade, law and international cooperation. Finally, they were optimistic and reflected their full confidence in the constituent process that is going to be carried out in the country, and which will serve to reaffirm the strength of its institutional framework and the maturity of its citizens.

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