Australia and Chile: strong partners linking Asia and Latin America
Australia’s relationship with Chile is our most developed and comprehensive in Latin America. It is a partnership that connects two great Southern Hemisphere nations.
Our relations go back to the beginning of modern Australia. Chilean wheat imports fed the massive immigrant influx to Australia during the successive gold rushes of the 19th Century. Our third Prime Minister was Chilean.
In the 70 years since formal diplomatic relations were established, Australia and Chile have become firm friends.
Chile is our platform into this region and we wish to be Chile’s platform into Asia.
We enjoy bilateral free trade through the Australia-Chile FTA concluded in 2012, air services, double taxation and social security agreements. We connect the vast South Pacific through the great cities of Sydney and Santiago on LAN and Qantas flights.
As free trading nations, we are natural parties to the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, which when finalised will provide new opportunities to drive economic growth and create more inclusive, sustainable and productive economies. We hope that through a finalised TPP agreement and our existing trade agreements, we will see a diversification of our bilateral trade and investment relationship, including in infrastructure, transport, logistics and financial services. We welcome increased Chilean investment in Australia and more joint cooperation on research and development.
We work together on international matters, cooperating in APEC, the OECD, the Pacific Alliance between Peru, Colombia, Mexico and Chile – in which Australia was one of the first 32 observers – and on Antarctic issues. Australia and Chile were both non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council in 2014.
My visit to Chile reflects the commitment of the Australian Government to take our bilateral relationship to a new level. This follows on from last year’s Australia-Chile Economic Leadership Forum in Santiago, the first event of its kind we have organised in Latin America.
We will continue working together to develop more sustainable and sophisticated mining practices. Australia is a world-leader in sustainable mining, and I am pleased that we are working with Chile through two Chilean-based Australian centres of excellence in mining: CSIRO Chile (Australia’s national scientific research organisation); and the University of Queensland’s Sustainable Minerals Institute.
I welcome efforts by Chile to address productivity and offer Australia’s experience in this and other areas, such as competition policy, consumer rights and streamlined regulation, to improve the living standards of all Chileans.
Australian companies are helping Chile to meet renewable energy targets by investing in solar, hydro, wave and wind energy operations across the country. With both Chile and Australia facing water challenges, we are sharing our experience in water management with Chile.
Cooperation on science, education and vocational training between our countries is gaining momentum. It is fitting that during my visit I will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Chile on Education, Research and Vocational Education and Training, facilitating cooperation in education, including through the strengthening of our institution-to-institution networks.
While I want to see Australia’s presence in Chile grow, I also look forward to learning more about Chile’s innovative technology, wine making expertise, and tourism potential.
Chile and Australia – likeminded on global issues, partners across the Pacific, trusted friends.