Chile wants to expand trade and cooperation with Central America

Chile wants to expand trade and cooperation with Central America
Chile wants to expand trade and cooperation with Central America

Guatemala city. Chile wants to modernize its Free Trade Agreement with Central America in force since 2002 and expand cooperation to the countries of this region, Chilean Vice Foreign Minister Gloria de la Fuente said this Wednesday.

“We want to modernize our FTA with Central America, incorporating new chapters and modernizing existing ones, on issues related to SMEs, gender, electronic commerce, value chains, among others,” the vice minister told AFP at the end of a visit to Guatemala.

“It may mean an opportunity to advance economic reactivation after the pandemic,” said the vice minister, who led the Chilean delegation that attended a continental conference on Migration in the Guatemalan capital on Tuesday.

De la Fuente said that he had a “very beneficial meeting” with his Guatemalan counterpart, María Luisa Ramírez, with whom he spoke about “a series of areas in which we can work together to further strengthen ties.”

Likewise, he highlighted “the great harmony that Chilean President Gabriel Boric has with his Guatemalan counterpart, President Bernardo Arévalo”, who lived in Chile as a child while his father, former President Juan José Arévalo (1945-1951), was exiled with his family.

The Chile-Central America FTA only includes Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. However, Santiago also has a bilateral FTA with Panama, in force since 2008. Chile’s main trading partners in the isthmus are Costa Rica and Panama.

“Panama is strategic for us because it is the gateway for Chilean goods and services to Central America and the Caribbean,” Chile’s commercial attaché in the Panamanian capital, Carlos Rivas, explained to AFP.

A third of Chilean exports pass through the Panama Canal. Chile is the fifth user of the road, after the United States, China, Japan and South Korea, highlighted Rivas, who coordinates the Chilean trade promotion offices in Central America and the Caribbean.

Chile is one of the largest exporters in Latin America, with shipments worldwide worth $95 billion in 2023, according to the Central Bank. On the other hand, Central America as a whole exported about $62 billion last year, according to official figures from those countries.

De la Fuente stated that “Chile can be a contribution to Central America in the transmission of knowledge and good practices in the field of renewable energies.”

Panama Canal August 2023 A third of Chilean exports pass through the Panama Canal. Chile is the fifth user of the road, behind the United States, China, Japan and South Korea. (IVAN PISARENKO/AFP)

 
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