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President Bachelet urges foreign investors to take advantage of Chile’s competitive advantages

President Michelle Bachelet inaugurated the International Investment Forum Chile 2016 at which 46 companies from 21 different countries explored investment opportunities in the country. 

The International Investment Forum Chile 2016 began today with a conference chaired by President Michelle Bachelet accompanied by the Minister of Economy, Economic Development and Tourism, Luis Felipe Céspedes, and the Minister of Mining, Aurora Williams. The event in Santiago, organized by the Foreign Investment Committee (CIEChile), is being attended by top executives from 46 companies located in 21 different countries and seeks to draw attention to the business opportunities Chile offers.

Speaking at the conference, President Bachelet urged those present to invest in Chile and indicated that “initiatives like this [Forum] are central for us because they encourage competitive companies to take advantage of the conditions and business climate that our country offers and, in this way, we can establish a mutually beneficial relationship.”

She also pointed out that Chile has a solid and competitive economy with important investments in infrastructure and solid institutions. She added that “we must be capable of advancing towards a more innovative economy that generates greater value and is more productive; in line with this, economic policies like the Productivity. Innovation and Growth Agenda or the Energy Agenda are clear signs of the efforts the government is making to achieve these important objectives.”

Bachelet also emphasized that “the invitation we are today extending to you to invest in Chile is an invitation to take advantage of our competitive advantages in the energy sector, in food products, in the mining industry and so many other sectors where much more could be done.”

Economy Minister Luis Felipe Céspedes underscored Chile’s track record as an investment host country and indicated that, in the present situation, “Chile’s solid macroeconomic conditions allow it to address external turbulence.” He also drew attention to the role of foreign investment as one of the key factors for the country’s productivity and to the importance that its new institutional framework for investment attraction will have. “Chile must move to an active policy of attracting more and better foreign investment to the country,” he said, adding that “we have to embark on a new stage in which we are capable of incorporating new sectors into our economy and, in that, foreign investors play a very important role.”

Similarly, CIEChile’s Executive Vice-President, Vicente Mira, pointed out that “this Forum is a good example of the interest that foreign investors have in Chile and represents the culmination of a year of work overseas to promote investment in Chile; it is also a starting point for the work of the new Investment Promotion Agency that will replace CIEChile, providing an institutional framework that will enable us to work better towards a clear goal, that of attracting the high-quality investment the country needs.”

Regional investment and discussion panels 

During the conference, Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), spoke about the outlook for foreign investment in the region. She highlighted the need for its economies to cease to depend on raw materials, adding that “it’s vital to seek to attract investment that brings technology and knowledge to our economies.” In addition, she underlined the need to strengthen regional alliances in order to create larger markets and advocated “a global pact with international companies to generate investment stability.”

The conference also included two panels, the first of which focused on public-private relations in Chile. Its speakers were Cornelia Sonnenberg, General Manager of the Chilean-German Chamber of Commerce (CAMCHAL); Myriam Gómez, Executive Director of the Chile Image Foundation; Eugenio Tironi, Executive President of Tironi Asociados; and Jorge Errázuriz, Vice-President of BTG Pactual Chile. The second panel, on the experience and perspectives of overseas companies in Chile, brought together Enrique González Zorrilla, Director General of FEMSA Comercio Salud; Guillaume de Forceville, Senior Vice-President for International Development at EDF; Clemente Pérez, a partner in the Guerrero & Olivos law firm; and Mariangeles Canitrot, General Manager for South America at Russell Mineral Equipment.

In the afternoon, the Forum will continue with four sector roundtables on issues related to the energy and infrastructure sectors, the food industry and innovation. Participants in these roundtables will include Public Works Minister Alberto Undurraga and Transport Minister Andrés Gómez-Lobo.

A round of over 160 business matchmaking meetings between overseas and local companies is scheduled for tomorrow.