POLITICS

Trade, security dominate first days of Piñera’s Europe trip

President Sebastián Piñera, together with foreign minister Roberto Ampuero, met with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris. Apart from economic matters, Piñera also raised the case of UDI party founder Jaime Guzmán’s assassin, who escaped from prison to France. In Spain on Tuesday, the Chilean delegation went to an investment conference and a business forum.

According to the foreign ministry, the Chilean delegation had a full day in Paris on Monday. A visit to incubator Station F, which specializes in train projects, presenting Chile’s education plans at the UNESCO, and meeting President Emmanuel Macron and his entourage in Élysée Palace were on the agenda.

The ministry highlighted that exports to France reached around US$ 900 million last year, up 10.8% from 2016, mainly due to mining. But both countries agreed to push for more clean energy, too. France has become a crucial defender of the green economy in Europe after Germany scrapped its green ambitions in deference to its powerful car industry. Chile, on the other hand, enjoys a comparative advantage with its vast deserts in the north and windy regions in the south, in addition to a long coastline.

Other topics Chile and France agreed to work on include national defense and cybersecurity, which France tackles via real-time surveillance of all data transmissions in the country.

Piñera also delivered on a promise to Chile’s UDI party, whose founder Jaime Guzmán was assassinated in 1991. A court found Ricardo Palma Salamanca guilty of participating in the plot. But in 1996, Palma Salamanca escaped from prison and fled to France. Piñera and Macron reportedly discussed the matter, with Chile’s president pushing for extradition to make Palma Salamanca serve his sentence.

Grave of murdered UDI founder Jaime Guzmán vandalized

Spain

In Spain today, the foreign ministry said, Piñera and Ampuero took part in a business conference organized by El País newspaper. In his speech, Ampuero sold Chile’s economy as exceptionally dynamic, emphasizing the constant need for stimulating investments. This message implied that Chile’s government will accommodate above all the interests of foreign investors.

Ampuero and Piñera also met with Spain’s trade secretary Xiana Méndez and the Spanish confederation of business organizations, where the Chilean representatives again emphasized the economy’s dynamism and the government’s plans to foment foreign investment.

Both officials, then met Spanish King Felipe VI. Apart from celebrating 500 years of Magellan Strait, they discussed topics of mutual interest with Chile and Latin America.

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