This year Chile celebrates 206 years of independence, facing new challenges, typical of a changing world due to globalization and the new circumstances that affect the world today, such as immigration and climate change, to name only a few. After more than two decades of sustained growth, Chile today is undergoing a process of modernization of the State which seeks to combat inequalities, improve the quality of education, to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship, to offer better protection to our workers and consumers and to save the environment.
Chile aims to be a developed country in the upcoming years. The development comes as a result of having adopted sound institutions, appropriate public policies and the permanent joint will, commitment and effort of our authorities and of the entire Chilean people. Being a developed country requires time and diligence and we are committed to it. The efforts have borne fruit, the best proof of this being the fact that Chile, once the poorest Spanish colony that in 1980 ranked only the seventh income per capita in Latin America, registers today an income of almost US$ 20,000 per capita, the highest in the region of Latin America. Moreover, the Human Development Index of the United Nations, which besides taking into account the income, also considers other indicators such as the quality of education and health, places Chile second in Latin America, and 42 in the world, surpassing for the first time some developed countries.
At the same time, we keep implementing the successful strategy of integration to international markets, a policy adopted by all governments in the last 30 years. Chile has Free Trade Agreements with more than 60 countries, besides the Pacific Alliance, of which Chile is a founding member alongside Colombia, Mexico and Peru. This alliance, which sums up a population of over 200 million people, accounts for a third of the GDP and half of the trade in Latin America and seeks to create an area of free movement of goods, services, capital and people at a regional level. This reference has aroused great interest in the rest of the world, and as a proof stands the fact that in June 2016 Romania has become an observer member of said body.
This year marks 91 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Chile and Romania. In this period we have maintained an unbroken relationship that has been increasing over time. Currently the relations between these two countries are very good, the proof of that being the political consultations that will be held in November 29, 2016, when the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Chile will travel to Romania. Also worth highlighting is the fact that 20 young Romanian entrepreneurs have received financing worth of over US$ 40,000 through the Start Up Chile Program in order to develop their innovation and technology projects in our country.
We should also mention some cultural events in which Chile has participated in this beautiful country, such as the photo exhibition of Chile as the main destination in Latin America for Adventure Tourism, held between June and August at the Cervantes Institute in Bucharest and the participation of our country as guest of honor at Pelicula – Latin American Festival and Experience, which was carried out between the 14th and the 18th of September in different locations of the capital.
To conclude, we will keep supporting a permanent and continuous strengthening of the relations between Chile and Romania, two countries with a culture stemming from the same “Latin” root, with similar challenges and that strive to achieve full development in peace, harmony and democracy. These challenges will always be tackled best from a perspective of mutual cooperation.