Chilean President Gabriel Boric has emphasized that Chile is “a safe place to invest,” during a recent trip to Canada and the United States, on which he has distanced his administration and political leanings from the radical leftist government of Venezuela.
Boric made the comments on Tuesday while visiting Los Angeles, where he was meeting Eric Garcetti, the city’s mayor. During a press conference, Boric criticized the “caricatures” of left-leaning politics as being anti-democratic, and underscored his government’s commitment to maintaining a productive relationship with the private sector.
“We are absolutely clear that in order to move forward and improve our living conditions we have to work together, the public sector and the private sector,” he was quoted as saying.
The comments from Chilean President Gabriel Boric came a day after he met Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa, during which he publicly distanced himself from Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
“Some say about me or about our government that we will be the next Maduro or things like that: that is not true. We really believe in democracy, we really are committed to respect human rights, we want a stronger State, but a stronger State is not possible without the private sector,” Boric reportedly said during an address to business leaders in the Canadian capital.
Boric’s trip has coincided with his attending the 2022 Summit of the Americas, a gathering of heads of state and other high ranking officials from around the Americas being held in Los Angeles between June 6 and June 10.
Chilean President Gabriel Boric seeks to reassure investors since taking office
Chile President Boric is a former student activist who was among the leaders of student protests staged in the country in 2011, and he subsequently became a legislator representing Chile’s southern region of Magallanes.
At 35 years old, Boric became Chile’s youngest president when he won presidential elections in December 2021, taking office in March. Boric entered during an inflation crisis affecting much of the world – stoked in part by the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
His presidential campaign was characterized by criticism of the market-oriented model that has been pursued in Chile since the late-1970s, and which has helped the country to become one of the most highly-developed and prosperous countries in Latin America, but which has also stoked inequality.
Boric’s history of protest and campaign trail pronouncements had led to concern about the direction his government could take, with accusations of an affinity for Maduro and desire to emulate Venezuela common lines of attack against leftwing politicians in Latin America.
However, since taking office, Chile President Boric has adopted a distinctly more restrained tone, and emphasized his desire to encourage investment in the country.
Speaking in April, Boric insisted that his government “didn’t come to invent the wheel,” and that he understood the need to be “firm but also flexible,” during a visit to Argentina during which he encouraged Argentinian business people to invest in his country.
Boric has continued to emphasize his government’s dedication to human rights and providing assistance to those most in need, as well as to promoting environmental protection, while underscoring his commitment to upholding democracy and maintaining an environment conducive to investment – insisting that the business community also understands its own role in helping the global economy recover from current ructions.
“The businessmen of the world understand that it is necessary to change and that it is necessary to improve our institutions to adapt them to the current times”, he reportedly said during his recent visit to Ottawa.
Countering suggestions that he looks to Venezuela for inspiration, Boric signalled that he instead saw Canada as an example to emulate.
“What they demand in Canada we also want to demand in Chile, we want to raise environmental standards, generate growth and inclusive development,” he was reported as saying.
Chilean President Boric leading one of Latin America’s most popular investment destinations
Chile has long been a popular investment destination in Latin America, known for its high levels of development, pro-business outlook, and promotion of free trade.
That is emphasized by the country’s significant portfolio of free trade agreements, as well as its status as a founding member of the Pacific Alliance — a ten-year-old economic integration initiative that also includes Colombia, Mexico, and Peru, and to which Ecuador has formally applied to be a member.
The Alliance has long been rumored to be interested in making inroads into the Asia-Pacific region, and Singapore’s inauguration as an associate member in late 2021 appears to be a first step in that regard. Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and South Korea have been mentioned as potential future associate members.
Chile is best known for its mining sector, with significant reserves of copper, gems, and precious metals. It also produces large volumes of agricultural goods, including fruits, nuts, timber, and seafood.
Nevertheless, despite its relatively high level of development, Chile faces some considerable social challenges, as highlighted by the rare bout of unrest seen in 2019 and subsequent election of Chilean President Gabriel Boric.
However, the country’s robust institutions, low levels of corruption, high quality infrastructure, and relatively low levels of violence and crime mean that it continues to be a strong prospect for investment – especially in the context of Boric’s more restrained and business-friendly tone since taking office.
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