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Foreign Minister Ampuero welcomes his counterpart from the United Kingdom and they agree to advance in bilateral trade agreement

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Foreign Minister Roberto Ampuero received the United Kingdom Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Boris Johnson, in an audience today. During the meeting, the authorities highlighted the excellent state of the bilateral relationship and addressed issues of common interest.

"We have reaffirmed the long-standing friendship between Chile and the United Kingdom and we have also seen the coincidences that unite us and that make us share a series of values that we defend and represent in the world," said Minister Ampuero after the meeting.

It should be noted that Chile and the United Kingdom have a close relationship. Of particular note are the defence dialogues, with strong links between the armed forces, especially the navy, and a mechanism for annual consultations at the under-secretary level.

The Head of Chilean Diplomacy stressed that at the meeting both authorities agreed on the framework for moving forward on a bilateral trade agreement.

In 2017, trade between the two countries reached US$ 1.143 billion, with Chilean exports of US$ 585 million and imports of US$ 558 million.

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"It is important to Chile that the commercial and economic conditions which we develop and agree with the United Kingdom should have at least the minimum standards of those conditions which we are negotiating today with the European Union", said the Chancellor, referring to the update of the Chile-EU Association Agreement, signed in 2002.

"We have discussed this with Secretary Johnson and he fully agrees with that. In other words, this is a situation in which we must all benefit. It is important for us that this agreement which we are developing and promoting with the United Kingdom works and is carefully structured so that there is not a moment of emptiness, of pause, and that we can move immediately, with the completion of Brexit, to this mutually advantageous free trade relationship", added Minister Ampuero.

They also discussed the importance of the Pacific Alliance as a very successful economic articulation within Latin America. "We have invited the United Kingdom to deepen its relationship with the Pacific Alliance and to take advantage of Chile as an ideal bridge to approach Latin America again, with greater depth," said the Foreign Minister.

They also addressed the situation in Venezuela. Chile expressed its concern about the serious situation in that country. "We invite the United Kingdom to examine the possibilities for them to increase and make use of their good offices in the region so that the issue of Venezuela can be resolved within the political framework, within the diplomatic framework, by peaceful and negotiated means," said Minister Ampuero.

In this regard, he pointed out that "Chile always acts in these cases, like this dramatic and tragic situation that is occurring in Venezuela, in accordance and consonance with other countries with which it shares the same sensitivity. As you have seen, the Lima Group's statement is to downgrade the level of diplomatic relations with Venezuela. This does not mean that we close the embassy, but it means that the countries that sign the Lima Group agreement have established that the level of ambassadors is not the appropriate level at which we should negotiate, talk, dialogue or set up communication with Venezuela".

Thus, he stated that "what Chile does is to be in line with the position of the countries of the Lima Group, which is why we are not going to send an ambassador to Venezuela".