President Obama Meets with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet Jeria
Today, the President hosted Chilean President Michelle Bachelet Jeria at the White House. The meeting was an opportunity to reinforce the long-standing partnership between the United States and Chile and deepen our cooperation in areas such as trade and economic integration; energy, education, and science and technology; and peacekeeping, global security, and socioeconomic development.
Building off the successful 2004 U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement and Chile’s designation into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program earlier this year, the United States and Chile will sign a Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement (CMAA). The agreement will facilitate trade by fostering information exchanges to prevent customs offenses. Moving forward, the United States and Chile are both committed to concluding the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, which will set the bar for 21st century trade and investment standards and create new opportunities for our exporters.
We are also breaking new ground in our small business development cooperation. The Bachelet Administration’s decision to establish 50 Small Business Development Centers throughout Chile is laudable and the United States stands ready to support Chile’s efforts. The United States Small Business Administration and Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with the Chilean Ministry of Economy, will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Promoting Entrepreneurship and the Growth of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises. This will enhance economic integration and job creation by connecting our countries’ small business support infrastructure. On energy, the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation is providing a loan of almost a quarter billion dollars to assist in the construction of a solar power plant in northern Chile. This project will support over 400 jobs in the United States, and create roughly 70 jobs in Chile.
Presidents Obama and Bachelet also understand the importance of collaborating together to build a safer and more secure hemisphere. Our development agencies are launching a new partnership in the Caribbean that will begin by combining assets and expertise to work together in areas such as youth employment, good governance, and countering gender-based violence. In addition to development cooperation, the United States and Chile stand together in support of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti, the Global Health Security Agenda, and the Nuclear Security Summit.
The best investment in the future of countries will be in our people, which is why President Obama is excited to continue promoting the 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative, which he announced during his visit to Chile in 2011. This initiative seeks to increase educational exchanges between U.S. and Latin American students, and Chile is one of our most supportive and promising partners in this regard.
Working with President Bachelet, we will increase the level of academic exchanges beyond the 3,000 Americans that study in Chile and 2,000 Chileans that study in the United States per year. There is no better way to foster collaboration between the new and upcoming generations.
This partnership between the US and Chile is one that the Administration is excited to see continue and flourish.