Santiago Times, Santiago
Chile Business Leaders To Visit Vietnam, Push For FTA
By Nathan Crooks
21 March 2007
A group of Chilean 18 business leaders will visit Vietnam March 26 through April 1 in an economic mission organized by SOFOFA (Industrial Promotion Society), the Pacific Chilean Foundation, and Quiñenco S. A.
Organizers of the visit, which will be an official Chilean delegation’s first to the emerging nation, said the group will seek to get to know the Vietnamese market and will look for opportunities in what is often cited as today’s most dynamic market in Asia after China.
The tour will include the signing of a “cooperation agreement” between the Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce (VCCI) and SOFOFA.
The government’s export promotion agency, ProChile, will also open an office in Ho Chi Minh City.
The Chilean delegation will be led by Chile’s ambassador to Vietnam Jorge Canelas and SOFOFA corporate manager Pedro Reus. The delegation includes representatives from many sectors of Chile’s economy, including agro-industrial giants, salmon farmers, fertilizer producers, investment bankers, engineers, pet-food producers, and trade lawyers.
The group will tour Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, where they will visit research and industrial parks, ports, and distribution centers.
Trade between Chile and Vietnam is currently miniscule; it grew from US$60 million in 2004 to US$161 million in 2006.
Chile’s most exported products to Vietnam include copper, fish meal, and wood products. Vietnam’s principal exports to Chile include leather sneakers and coffee.
Vietnam’s economy grew 8.4 percent in 2005, and economists forecast that nation of 83.6 million people will become a developed nation in 2020.
Chile is aggressively pursing free-trade deals all over the world. It was the first nation in the world to sign an FTA with China and currently has free trade with countries including the U.S., Canada, the E.U., Japan and much of Latin America. A deal with Australia is currently in the works.