Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 23rd 2017 Contents MARCH 23 • 2017 guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
NEWS | BG5
As PM Rowley looks to state visit in May...
Chile looks to expand
US$639M trade with T&T
While T&T remains
Chile's biggest en-
ergy supplier, the
sador in Port-of-
Spain, Fernando Schmidt Ariztía, believes
there is much more both countries can do to
build their trading and economic relations.
In May, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley
will pay a state visit to Chile where he will
continue to build the relationship.
"Some 92 per cent of Chile's LNG comes
from T&T. This is something absolutely cru-
cial. On the other hand, Chile exports tea,
wines, plums, concentrated juices, baby milk
to T&T. But we want to grow out exports to
T&T. Why not fresh fruit from Chile to T&T?
Those types of fruits that cannot be grown
locally like apples and grapes. There are many
other products that can benefit from a partial
scope agreement. Chile has one of the world's
most dynamic agriculture sectors," Schmidt
told the Business Guardian last Thursday at
the Chilean Embassy in St Clair.
According to statistics from the Embassy
of Chile, in 2016, Chile exported US$17 mil-
lion worth of goods to T&T, while it imported
goods valued at US$622 million from T&T in
Of this, Chile imported US$573 million in
liquefied natural gas (LNG) as energy made up
the bulk of Chile's imports from T&T.
The total worth of trade between the two
countries last year was US $639 million.
The diplomat also explained that Chile has
one of the world's largest networks of free
"We export goods with zero tariffs to China,
Japan, India and many countries around the
world. It is not only in goods but also what
Chile can offer in terms of services."
He said Chile sees T&T as an important hub
and transit point for further entry into other
"So we have proposed why not make Piar-
co a hub for distributing goods for the entire
Caricom region? But we do not have an air
services agreement. Many of these products
are triangularised through Miami. Instead
of using there, Chile can make use of Piarco
International Airport," he said.
On Tuesday, March 14, 2017, Trade Min-
ister Paula Gopee-Scoon and other ministry
officials, met with a Chilean delegation-led
by Edgardo Riveros, vice minister of foreign
affairs, to engage in discussions on the current
bilateral trade relations and areas for strength-
ening and expanding that relationship.
Schmidt described the meeting as a "first
step" in a long lasting relationship.
"The issue of the partial scope trade agree-
ment (PSTA) has been on the agenda for a long
while. It started in the previous administra-
tion," he said.
According to the Ministry of Trade's media
release, Gopee-Scoon expressed a strong de-
sire in deepening the trading relationship be-
tween T&T and Chile and the desire to increase
local exports to that country. She indicated
a keen interest in advancing the discussions
and negotiations towards a PSTA between
T&T and Chile.
Riveros highlighted Chile's imports of en-
ergy products from T&T which have served
to strengthen the ties between the countries.
He noted that 90 per cent of the country's
natural gas imports were sourced from T&T
and Chile has expanded its capacity to receive
increased imports with the construction of
T&T is also a major supplier of methanol
and ammonia to Chile.
Riveros outlined a number of areas for
bilateral trade, namely, energy, agriculture,
tourism and fisheries.
Speaking of the connectivity between both
countries, Riveros suggested the improvement
of travel links between T&T and Chile.
Gopee-Scoon supported the idea and in-
dicated that T&T can serve as a central port
in the region for such travel arrangements.
They both expressed confidence that the
bilateral PSTA will be of benefit to both coun-
tries. T&T and Chile are expected to meet in
early May 2017 for the First Meeting of the
Working Group on Economic and Commercial
The Working Group will comprise technical
officials from both countries and is expected to
develop the framework for advancing bilateral
State visit to Chile
Rowley's state visit to Chile will take place
from May 29 to 31.
"This is in the framework of a vision to
close the gap existing between Latin Ameri-
ca, specifically Chile ,and the Caribbean. Last
year, Chile opened an Embassy in Guyana. At
that meeting in Guyana, President Michelle
Bachelet invited Dr Rowley to come to Chile.
After the verbal invitation, she sent a formal
letter inviting him," he said.
He said Chile is still working on the details
of the meeting but everything that was dis-
cussed last week at the Ministry of Trade will
be on the table for the state visit to Chile in
addition to other issues like culture, training
T&T's Spanish teachers among other topics.
It will not be Rowley's first meeting with
Chile's President. They met on the margins
of the 37th Regular Meeting of the Confer-
ence of Heads of Government of the Carib-
bean Community (Caricom) on the morning
of July 5, 2016.
At that meeting, Bachelet extended con-
dolences to Rowley and the people of T&T on
the passing of former Prime Minister Patrick
In 2009, she visited Manning at the Dip-
lomatic Centre, St Ann's, for a bi-lateral
In 2016, Rowley and Bachelet spoke for
approximately 30 minutes on issues ranging
from collaboration in bilateral and multilat-
eral forums, as well as collaboration and the
exchange of information and technology in the
fields of energy, disaster-preparedness, the
teaching of the Spanish language and trans-
parency in the public sector. The two further
discussed the possibility of a code-sharing
arrangement between Caribbean Airlines Ltd
and LATAM Airlines Chile, formerly LAN Air-
Chile is widely believed to be one of Latin
America and the Caribbean's most developed
countries, if not the most developed.
It was the first country in South America to
be accepted into the Organisation for Econom-
ic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Group of Countries, which is regarded as a
club of rich countries including the United
States, Japan and Europe.
Speaking about the current performance of
Chile's economy, Schmidt said it is in expan-
sion mode as the economy is strongly based
"We expect growth of 1.7 per cent in 2017.
However, this growth does not satisfy us. We
want our economic growth to move much
faster. We are introducing new legislation to
make our economy more competitive," he said.
Despite its economy being in much better
shape than South American giants like Bra-
zil and Argentina, he said Chile has to keep
pushing the boundaries to grow and develop
Over the last 20 years, people have spoken
about the "Chilean Model" in Latin America
and the Caribbean given the country's out-
When asked what Chile can teach T&T at a
time when T&T is in a deep economic down-
turn and needs to diversify its economy away
from oil and gas, Schmidt said Chile refrains
from imposing itself on regional neighbours.
However, he did say T&T is free to take
whatever it sees as positive but it must be
done with no pressure from Chile as Chile
does not interfere in the internal affairs of
"We do not like to use that word 'teach'
are not professors and we do not wish to dictate
to anyone. But it is a case of showing what our
experiences have been. We can simply pass
on what we did in the past, whether people
want to study the Chilean experience or not.
Of course, we value the relationship with T&T
and the Caribbean," he said.
Ambassador of Chile Fernando Schmidt Ariztía at Chile's Embassy in St Clair.
PHOTO: ANDRE ALEXANDER
Chile exported US$17 million
worth of goods to T&T, while
it imported goods valued at
US$622 million from T&T in
2016. Of this, Chile imported
US$573 million in liquefied
natural gas (LNG) as energy
made up the bulk of Chile's
imports from T&T.
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