The Foreign Minister of the Republic of Chile, Teodoro Ribera Newmann, today held a meeting with Spanish businessmen at CEOE, to discuss the current situation in the Andean country and the possible ways that the Government contemplates to remedy the conflict current. The Vice President of the Business Confederation, Íñigo Fernández de Mesa, participated in the conference; the CEO of ICEX, María Peña; Chile's ambassador to Spain, Roberto Ampuero; and the director of InvestChile, Cristián Rodríguez. Prior to the meeting, Minister Ribera held a meeting with the CEO of CEOE, Antonio Garamendi, to exchange views on the current situation in Chile.

The Vice President of the Business Confederation, Íñigo Fernández de Mesa, stressed that Chile is practically at the level of many of the European countries that belong to the OECD. He also noted that the Andean country is the most open in the region, with a stable and sustainable economy, and is the first in terms of business climate and income per capita. Fernández de Mesa also indicated that This business meeting represents a unique opportunity to get to know first-hand the Chilean government's plans in the various areas and future development prospects in the country.

The CEO of ICEX, María Peña, highlighted the confidence of Spanish companies in the Chilean market, in their institutions and in society, therefore, “we trust that things will return to their channel as soon as possible,” he added . He also stressed that bilateral trade exchanges have doubled in the last decade and investment flows have quadrupled during the same period.

Peña also emphasized the growing presence of SMEs in the country and their vocation of permanence. In this regard, he expressed the interest of Spanish companies to collaborate on projects in key sectors of the Chilean market, such as energy, cybersecurity, infrastructure, environment or Smart cities, among others. "We want to create prosperity and sustainability together," he said.

The Ambassador of the Republic of Chile in Spain, Roberto Ampuero, thanked CEOE for organizing the Meeting, as it represents an excellent opportunity to get to know first hand the situation in Chile. He also stressed the complementarity of both countries and proof of this is COP 25, which began in Chile and ends in Spain, he said.

Chile's future

The Foreign Minister of the Republic of Chile, Teodoro Ribera Newmann, reviewed during his speech the events that are taking place in Chile and mentioned some of the measures that the Government intends to adopt. For economic development and social welfare, he said, it is essential to continue investing in the country, for this reason, he encouraged Spanish companies to continue doing so as before.

In this regard, he mentioned his interest in key sectors of the country, such as insurance, water treatment, engineering, infrastructure or energy, with total investments amounting to 36,000 million dollars, investments which They are protected by international pacts signed by the country, including investment protection agreements such as the one between Chile and Spain and property rights.

Ribera Newmann stressed that the Chilean government will adopt measures to continue maintaining foreign investment and increase it, because thanks to this, a more balanced social system can be developed. The Chilean Minister opted to promote social dialogue and learn to reconcile economic growth with the well-being of its citizens.

In this regard, Ribera Newmann announced that The Chilean government is promoting a social agenda to meet the main demands of citizens, which is allowing the crisis to be decompressed. Among other initiatives, benefits for the elderly are being designed, such as the decrease in transportation prices for this segment; the increase in non-contributory pensions; measures to reduce the price of medicines, the construction of works such as the railroad from Santiago to Melipilla, among others.

Reforms that will be included in a schedule for the approval of a new Political Constitution, whose future will be decided next April through a plebiscite, establishing a quorum of two thirds for the approval of its provisions by the constituent body.

The increase in public spending, which will mean meeting social demands, will generate a structural deficit of 3% in 2020 and in 2022 it will fall to 2%. In addition, the social measures will be financed with greater indebtedness, in the long term, of the State for an amount of 9,000 million dollars, as well as through budgetary reallocations and the use of sovereign funds.

Regarding the situation of the Chilean economy, the Foreign Minister said that, with the reforms announced, it is expected to grow at a rate of 1% in 2019, reaching a GDP growth rate of between 2 , 5% and 3.5% in 2021.

Finally, Minister Ribera stressed the significant Spanish investments in Chile, which are in very diverse areas. Chile has an open economy abroad, a situation that will not change, and the purpose is to reconcile economic growth with a social support network that can guarantee social and institutional stability. In this context, the minister called for Spanish companies to continue investing in Chile.

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