With the purpose of expanding and strengthening economic and trade relations, the first round of negotiations began today for the Free Trade Agreement between Chile and Paraguay, to be held October 6-8. The opening was attended by International Economic Relations Undersecretary (SUBREI), Rodrigo Yáñez, and Paraguay’s Deputy Minister for International Economic Relations and Integration, Didier Olmedo.
Current economic-trade relations with Paraguay are governed by the Economic Complementation Agreement (ECA 35). Signed by Chile and the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) countries in the 1990s, it establishes a zero tariff treatment for all products. The new agreement would conclude a negotiation process that Chile has carried out successfully with the other MERCOSUR countries: Uruguay (2017), Argentina (2018) and Brazil (2019).
One of the objectives of the SUBREI is to move forward on diversifying the range of exportable products and markets. Undersecretary Rodrigo Yáñez stated that one of the areas to be focused on will be the export potential of SME goods, as well as helping companies that provide services to branch out internationally.
“Today, it is more necessary than ever to strengthen our trade alliances in order to make our foreign trade more resilient, and the FTA with Paraguay points in that direction. In negotiating this agreement, we aim to reach a deeper level of integration, working towards inclusive trade in areas such as gender, SMEs, environmental and labor issues,” he said.
Over the next three days, technical task groups will meet to discuss economic-trade cooperation, global value chains, transparency, trade and environment, trade in services, trade and gender, labor affairs, telecommunications, trade facilitation, competition policy, MSMEs, health and phytosanitary measures, and technical barriers to trade.
Chile’s delegation is being led by the Director General of Bilateral Economic Affairs of the SUBREI, Felipe Lopeandía, while Paraguay’s delegation is headed up by the Director General of Economic Policy of the Foreign Affairs Ministry and Chief Negotiator, Raúl Cano Ricciardi.
Paraguay is Chile’s 20th trading partner in the world and 7th in Latin America. In 2019, trade between Chile and Paraguay reached US$1.2 billion. At present, Paraguay ranks as our 21st foreign investor. Approximately 521 Chilean companies export over 1,149 products to Paraguay, of which 118 are SMEs.