ProChile, the export promotion bureau that reports to Chile’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, has developed and implemented a series of measures to continue to boost foreign trade despite the current global health crisis.
Chile’s international economic activity represents 56% of the country’s total GDP. For this reason, it is important that it continues fulfilling its international commitments while maintaining the image of being a reliable supplier that Chile has garnered thanks to its economic openness and the responsibility of its entrepreneurs.
To date, ProChile has released two specific packages of measures to continue driving exports, especially focused on supporting small- and medium-sized export companies (SMEs), which directly generate 76,000 jobs.
“We are looking into alternatives for export companies to prevent international promotion and bilateral trade from coming to a halt. This has led us to restructure our budget planning to include a package of measures for immediate implementation in March-June 2020, as well as measures for implementation from July to December 2020. For the second half of the year we are redefining our agenda with a strong emphasis on digital marketing in B2C markets, and on the use of digital platforms to continue with trade meetings and missions,” said the director-general for ProChile, Jorge O’Ryan.
In the short term, ProChile focused on gathering information through its network of 56 commercial offices in 45 markets. This is to support the companies’ decision-making and guide them towards opportunities that exist in these markets. They also provide a consulting service to give export SMEs individualized help in seeking new markets and clients for their goods and services.
In the current context, marked by travel restrictions throughout the world, the use of virtual tools to promote cross-border ecommerce is increasing.
Among this group of measures is the implementation of digital business matching forums, virtual trade missions; empowering ProChile’s marketplace platform, ChileB2B, with e-News that is specific to the participating companies; and e-Promo, for importers to increase their use of the platform.
One of these specific activities is the upcoming virtual business matching forum to take place between April 27 and May 28. These will be attended by Chilean exporters of fresh, frozen, dried and dehydrated fruit, seafood products, wine, gourmet products, and Fintech and mining services interested in showcasing their goods and services to Asian markets.
The Chilean exporters will hold meetings with at least 40 importers from Japan, China (Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong), Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Indonesia, Vietnam and Australia. ProChile has commercial offices in each one of these countries.
The participants in this virtual business matching forum are companies registered on the ChileB2B Marketplace platform, all of which are verified by ProChile executives. “We have been working for a while, through our ChileB2B platform, on different ways of supporting SMEs that, for various reasons, have not been able to travel abroad to do business. Today, considering the situation the world is in right now, this virtual business matching forum is set to be a vital tool to help SMEs go out in the world,” added Jorge O’Ryan.
Promotionally speaking, a digital marketing campaign on Chinese B2B and B2C channels will be carried out, focused on positioning national products with support from Wines of Chile, Asoex, Chilenuts and Ciruelas de Chile, as well as reinforcing e-Class, a form of online training. Additionally, an international marketing campaign will soon be launched to strengthen the presence of Chile and its products and services in strategic markets, linking entrepreneurs’ commitments with the international supply chain.
Furthermore, ProChile’s commercial offices have been permanently available to help with managing the documentation companies need to reach the markets and have worked hard in different markets to digitalize the documents necessary for clearing customs in their destination market.
Looking ahead to the second half of the year, director-general Jorge O’Ryan explained that ProChile is “working actively to redefine our international and trade promotion agenda, allocating additional human and financial resources, and rescheduling many activities. The strategy is to focus on high-impact activities with a strategic outlook regarding the current situation, beginning to work with our principal trade partners, in so far as there are signs of recovery.”
In addition, ProChile, in its role as coordinator of the national export chain, has led the organization of public-private and technical roundtables, bringing together other public services and ministries in order to act swiftly in unblocking any obstacle to foreign trade detected by Chile’s trade associations and exporters. This measure has been replicated right throughout Chile through the foreign trade roundtables attended by ProChile’s regional directors, representatives of regional government, entrepreneurs, and public services related to foreign trade.
“In the present situation, it is very important to continue showcasing our country’s human talent and resilience. At ProChile we have developed new platforms and strategic alliances to especially support the internationalization of services and technology. There is development and innovation here in Chile that can contribute to solving global problems and we want to connect them with the world,” explained Jorge O’Ryan, director-general of ProChile.
As such, ProChile launched the initiative “Chile – Mexico, Investor Pitch Sessions”, with the purpose of helping Chilean businesses in the scaling up process with one of the main challenges to their expansion, that of raising capital. To do so, ProChile’s commercial office in Mexico signed strategic alliances with two known Mexican investment and venture capital funds: Blackshiip and Angel Ventures.
The initiative is directed at companies in HealthTech, Edutech, and scale-ups headed by women. On April 14, entrepreneurs in the HealthTech field made presentations to the investors of the Blackshiip fund, on April 24 it will be the turn of Edutech entrepreneurs with the same fund, and on April 30 for companies led by women with solutions for COVID-19, Fintech, Agrotech, retail and, with a view to expanding in South Korea, who will present to the Angel Ventures fund.
Moreover, on April 27 and May 12, joint webinars between ProChile and Base Miami will take place, to counsel Chilean entrepreneurs on how to approach the US market. Base Miami is an institution that helps forward-thinking companies from around the world with their market expansion, connecting talent with innovation and the local ecosystem.