President Barack Obama met with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet on June 30 to underscore their countries’ long-standing partnership rooted in a strong commitment to democratic traditions. “The fact that Chile across the political spectrum respects and fights for the democratic process,” said President Obama, “makes it a great model for the entire hemisphere.”
The United States and Chile are committed to economic integration and open markets. In 2004, the two countries implemented a bilateral Free Trade Agreement, which has increased exports and economic opportunities in both countries. Since the FTA entered into force, bilateral trade has grown to $28 billion.
U.S. goods exported to Chile increased by 545 percent and goods imported from Chile increased by 180 percent since 2003. Recognizing the need to broadly spread the benefits of trade, both governments signed an agreement to create a network of small business development centers in Chile as part of the hemisphere-wide Small Business Network of the Americas.
The U.S. and Chile also cooperate on energy. In June, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation approved a loan guarantee of up to $230 million to support the construction of a 141 megawatt solar plant in Chile. Up to another $1.4 million in funding will strengthen Chile’s power sector and regional integration.
The United States has progressed with its 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative to increase academic exchanges between the U.S. and Latin America, including Chile. In addition to the Fulbright program, five 100,000 Strong Innovation grants totaling over $211,000 have been awarded so far this year to support partnerships between U.S. and Chilean universities.
On development and security, the United States and Chile signed a declaration of intent to launch a Caribbean-wide trilateral partnership campaign. It will leverage the combined assets and expertise of the U.S. and Chile to promote growth, good governance, and security in the Caribbean.
The United States and Chile also signed a joint statement that increases cooperation among law enforcement agencies in order to target, disrupt, and deter human traffickers. The statement will enhance bilateral exchanges of information on known organized criminal groups engaged in human trafficking.
The United States remains committed to working with Chile to strengthen democracy, spread the benefits of open economic engagement, and advance security and development in the hemisphere.