Participating in the opening ceremony were the Vice Minister of Foreign Trade of Bolivia, Benjamín Blanco; and the Chilean Undersecretary of International Economic Relations (SUBREI), Rodrigo Yáñez. They both noted the importance of facilitating, expanding and diversifying trade in goods and services between the two countries, in a context marked by the need for rapid economic recovery due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Undersecretary Yañez stated that "After 28 years, we believe that it is necessary to expand and modernize the Economic Complementation Agreement. This process will allow us to incorporate new areas such as the digital economy in order to promote development, particularly of our SMEs," he said.
Vice Minister Blanco emphasized that the latest meeting of this Administrative Commission marks an important milestone. It is the starting point of a new commercial relationship between Bolivia and Chile, in which the enormous potential and commercial economic complementarity between the two countries will be expanded and developed.
During the first day, the Commission evaluated bilateral trade and the operation of the Economic Complementation Agreement, and also reviewed topics such as expanding tariff agreements, updating nomenclatures, relaxation of health controls, regulatory processes, smuggling, etc. The first Economic Complementation Agreement protocol related to the Tourism Cooperation Agreement was reviewed, as well as aspects related to cooperation on export promotion.
The Chile-Bolivia Business Advisory Council played a special part in discussions; its representatives put forward a number of points for the consideration of the Administrative Commission, among them the need to advance in bilateral trade and particularly the possible modernization and expansion of the Economic Complementation Agreement between Chile and Bolivia.
On this last point, Trade Talks were held on Wednesday, August 25, to evaluate the possible modernization and expansion of the Economic Complementation Agreement, addressing matters related to investments, regulatory aspects of trade, global value chains, services, electronic commerce and telecommunications, economic and commercial cooperation, and aspects which have an impact on trade, such as the environment, labor issues, gender and MSMEs.
Finally, the two countries agreed to exchange focal points for each topic addressed, in order to define technical meetings and develop roadmaps for the different items where appropriate.
The same mechanism will be used to track progress in the tasks assigned to each of the working groups defined by this Administrative Commission.