Chilean President Michelle Bachelet articulated her administration’s policy toward cooperation between Chile and other APEC economies in a speech given to the region’s business leaders on Tuesday in Santiago.
She delivered her remarks to the APEC Business Advisory Council, a group of private sector executives who provide advice on business sector priorities and areas of partnership with APEC member economies. They are meeting in Santiago this week.
In her foreign policy address, President Bachelet discussed the strength of the Latin American economies, their links to the Asia-Pacific and the need to implement reforms in education and tax policy to transform Chile into a more inclusive economy.
“Latin America is at the core of our foreign policy and it will continue to be because we have very good reasons for it—culturally, politically, and economically.”
“Chile is a port and a bridge between Latin America and the Asia-Pacific,” she underscored. “This implies improving connectivity, strongly increasing the capacity of our ports and improving our services.”
President Bachelet noted that Chile has 23 trade agreements with 61 partners globally representing 63 per cent of the world population and 85 per cent of global GDP. She also pointed out that Chile ranks 34th among 144 economies in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report. It is also a top 20 foreign direct investment destination, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
The President went on to state that a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, due to its nature and scope, should be the goal of APEC. The issue was first raised by ABAC at the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Chile in 2004. How to realize a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, which has since been endorsed by all APEC Leaders as a shared aim for the region, is a current focus of member economies.
“It is in APEC that our main trade partners participate and the Pacific Rim is our natural and privileged space for exchange and cooperation.” President Bachelet explained. “We will make all our efforts to advance substantively in this direction.”
“Chile believes in free trade, in the exchange and cooperation between the nations of the Pacific from the beginning of our history,” she continued. “This is a history that we will continue to honor.”
President Bachelet concluded by stating that APEC is central to helping each economy overcome inequalities that still affect societies and the challenges posed by globalization.
The President’s remarks help set the context for the meeting of APEC Ministers Responsible Trade in Qingdao, China on 17-18 May 2014.
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