Chile is celebrating 209 years of independence, which have been characterized by the efforts of its governments to achieve a continuous and sustained economic growth based on a democratic system.
Since the establishment of its institutions in the early nineteenth century, Chile has gone through a period when democracy was imbedded and matured in the twentieth century, transforming afterwards into a prosperous, strong and stable country that today allows to face the new challenges of the twenty-first century, in the context of globalization, always keeping the objective of being a more developed country, but at the same time a more inclusive and solidary one as well. In this context, President Sebastian Piñera is committed to growing the economy and creating jobs, reducing poverty and social inequality, improving education and health, continuing the fight against crime, rejuvenate democracy and strengthening the values of our society.
In the past, Chile was an isolated country because of its beautiful natural barriers: the Atacama Desert in the north, the Pacific Ocean in the west, the Andes Mountains in the east and the giant glaciers and Antarctica in the south. Today we are an open and integrated country with the largest network of trade agreements in the world, 28 trade agreements with 64 markets, which represent 63% of the world population and 86% of Global GDP.
Chile has the highest degree of economic freedom in South America (ranking 7th worldwide), due to its independent and efficient judicial system and prudent public finance management. In May 2010 Chile became the first South American country to join the OECD; and in 2006 Chile became the country with the highest nominal GDP per capita in Latin America.
Moreover, in 2018 Chile ranked 27th in the classification of Transparency International (Corruption Perceptions Index), which is evaluated annually by the NGO Transparency International, being the second best evaluated country in Latin America after Uruguay (23rd at an international level), out of 180 studied countries. Chile also has the lowest homicide rate in Americas after Canada.
It should also be underlined that in 2018 Chile has been awarded for the fourth consecutive year the title for best adventure tourism destination in Latin America. This recognition is granted by the World Travel Awards, also known as the Oscars of tourism. This adds up to the award received in 2018 as the “Best Adventure Tourism Destination on the Planet”, for the third consecutive year.
Chile believes in multilateralism and collaboration between countries. That is why this year we will host two important international summits: APEC and COP25. Within the framework of APEC, the Asia Pacific Economic Forum, we will defend free trade, an international order based on clear and transparent rules and the reinforcement of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Our position during the Summit against Climate Change, COP25, will be to promote more ambitious and compelling commitments than those made at the COP24 in Poland, to fight more effectively against global warming and to incorporate the protection of the oceans and Antarctica as priority objectives.
On the other hand, I would like to refer briefly to the Pacific Alliance, a mechanism of regional integration comprised by Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. This alliance, which covers a total population of more than 200 million people, represents one-third of Latin American GDP and half of its trade. Even though it is integrated by 4 member countries, the Pacific Alliance is not exclusive; there are 59 observer countries, one of them being Romania. In this context Chile offers not only access to their internal markets, but also the possibility of free movement of goods, services & people, as well as financial integration on a market of 216 million potential consumers.
The celebration of our National Day in Romania is an opportunity to confirm the strength of the friendship between our countries. This year marks 94 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Chile and Romania. In this period, we have maintained a fruitful relationship, characterized by similarities and common values, sharing the same views regarding the global agenda. From a political point of view, we have an excellent relationship with a very active, permanent and dynamic bilateral dialogue. Testimony of the above, is the visit in Chile of the Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Environment of Rumania, Mrs. Gratiela Leocadia Gavrilescu, in October 2018. Reviewing the bilateral agenda allowed us to explore new areas of cooperation and exchange in areas of common interest, such as renewable energy, innovation, services, tourism, intervention in case of emergency, just to name a few.
Finally, the Embassy of Chile supports the permanent and continuous strengthening of the relations between Chile and Romania, two countries with a culture that has the same roots, whose cradle is the “Latinity” and which undergo similar challenges. In this climate of permanent rapprochement, we must underline the fact that over the last few years, 20 young Romanian entrepreneurs have received scholarships in the amount of US$ 40,000 each through the Start Up Chile Program in order to develop their innovation and technology projects in our country. In addition to this, we must also point out the increasing number of academic-cultural exchanges and an ever growing interest in a better mutual understanding on the part of the civil society of our countries.