A session of the UK-Chile Trade Dialogue was held today between the Chilean International Economic Relations Undersecretary (SUBREI), Rodrigo Yáñez, and the British Minister for International Trade, Ranil Jayawardena.
The object of the talks was to discuss the bilateral economic relationship between Chile and the United Kingdom after Britain leaves the European Union on December 31, 2020, and the opportunities that will be opened up by that event. In January 2019, Chile was the first country in the world to sign an Association Agreement (AA) with the United Kingdom, to convert the conditions of the existing AA between Chile and the European Union (EU) into a bilateral agreement. This instrument will ensure the continuity of Chilean exports to the British market after the United Kingdom leaves the EU.
Undersecretary Rodrigo Yáñez stressed the progressive nature of the Agreement, which contains a series of instruments to broaden and modernize its cover. The instrument also contains an evolutionary clause on agricultural goods, which establishes that every two years the parties will review the tariff liberalization situation for agricultural products; food products account for 86% of Chile's exports to UK, and this mechanism could improve conditions for our exporters, allowing them to maximize their wide potential.
“The central thrust of this Agreement is to protect bilateral trade and safeguard jobs in our SMEs and exporters, considering the importance of their contribution to economic reactivation,” said Rodrigo Yáñez. The British International Trade Minister, Ranil Jayawardena, said that he was very happy to be co-chairing these trade talks at a time when “we are seeking to strengthen our trade and investment relations, helping the economies of our countries to grow.” “Breaking down barriers to trade allows us to grow our economies. That means better jobs, higher salaries, more variety and lower prices for our peoples,” the Minister added.
The two trade departments have undertaken to redouble their efforts to deal with the remaining barriers to growth in trade and investment once the Agreement comes into force, in order to maximize the economic opportunities between their countries.
The two ministers also took this opportunity to talk about potential areas of cooperation to promote bilateral trade and investment in the areas of agriculture, infrastructure, sustainable economy, financial services and life sciences, and possible cooperation in the framework of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Finally, they stressed the importance of a rules-based multilateral trade system and agreed on the need to pursue effective reform of the World Trade Organization, now in the final process of selecting its next Director General.
These talks are a continuation of the working meeting on October 13 between British and Chilean business owners, who discussed future areas of cooperation in bilateral trade and investment.
In 2019, trade between Chile and the United Kingdom totaled US$1.21 billion. This is a strategic market for Chile's non-traditional exports, since 99.9% of Chilean shipments to this European destination are not copper products. With an investment stock of US$11.95 billion in 2018, the United Kingdom is the fourth largest European investor in Chile, accounting for 11% of European investment in the country.