Celebrating In(ter)dependence

This month the United States celebrates its 234th birthday along with the principles on which the country was founded – freedom, the equality of all people and the right to pursue their dreams. 

We also celebrate the strength of the bilateral relationship between Chile and the United States that is based on those same shared values.

In September, Chile will mark its own 200th anniversary since independence and, thanks in part to its excellent relationship with the United States, it is on track to becoming a developed country by 2018, a goal highlighted by Foreign Minister Alfredo Moreno at an AmCham event in June and outlined by President Piñera in his state-of-the-union address in May. 

To get there, Chile will need to harness its comparative advantages in areas like astronomy, which are discussed in the article “Exploring the Universe from Chile.” Northern Chile’s clear skies provide the competitive advantage that resulted in the European Union selecting the country for the construction of what will be the world’s largest telescope. This large investment, combined with investments in existing observatories, is an incentive to generate a world-class knowledgebase in astronomy leading to technological innovations, more high quality jobs and a greater focus on this science in universities.

Mining is another area where Chile has long held a comparative advantage. This month’s Cover Story “Paying back Codelco” focuses on the need for Chile’s state-owned copper company to improve efficiency and make investments that will significantly improve productivity over the next decade. The large amount of investment needed, some US$15 billion over five years, should create many opportunities for local service companies and their workers. Given Codelco’s global leadership position in the copper industry, we can expect its investment program to lead to many innovations with the label “made in Chile.”

Any direction you look, whether up at the sky or down to earth at its huge copper reserves, Chile’s needs offer new opportunities for an even deeper relationship with the United States at the inter-governmental, educational and business levels. Energy, science, education and entrepreneurship are powerful motors for growth in both countries, especially for Chile which can draw on the know-how and experience of one of its most important allies.

Of course, this relationship is sustained by many individuals who work tirelessly to strengthen bilateral bonds. This month we bid farewell to one such individual, U.S. Ambassador Paul Simons, who has completed his assignment in Chile having made important contributions to building opportunities for cooperation, particularly in the areas of reconstruction and energy. 

At the same time, we welcome a new Chilean Ambassador to the United States, Ambassador Arturo Fermandois, who is interviewed in this issue. He goes to Washington with a renewed commitment to achieving an even stronger relationship with the U.S. focusing on areas like education and energy, while making the opportunities of this relationship available to the broader population.

AmCham is committed to continuing to strongly support this new chapter in the relationship between our two countries. This includes the organization of an important trade mission to California later this year which will focus on strengthening ties in knowledge-based industries and innovation. 

Meanwhile, we wish the United States a very happy Independence Day and look forward to many more years of mutually beneficial partnership.