Foreign investment in Chile, an historic moment
For Chile, this is an historic time as regards foreign direct investment (FDI). In recent years, our country has seen a record inflow of FDI. In 2012, the inflow, at US$30,323 million, was the highest ever and represented an increase of 32.2% on 2011. As a result, a total of US$68,627 million entered the country between 2010 and 2012, up by 42% on US$48,403 million between 2006 and 2009.
These excellent results are a recognition of Chile’s outstanding track record as a destination for foreign investment. It is well known that, over the past 30 years, Chile has established itself as the best place to do business in Latin America, a position borne out year after year by the principal international rankings.
In a world still hit by the economic crisis, our region has been successful in attracting investors’ attention. According to the United Nations, global FDI in 2012, at US$1.3 trillion, was down by 13% from US$1.6 trillion in 2011 but FDI in Latin America and the Caribbean rose by 6.7% to US$173 billion. In this context, Chile was, moreover, the region’s second largest recipient, after the exponentially larger Brazilian market and ahead of an economy on the scale of that of Mexico. This achievement is a result of the transparency, competitiveness, legal certainty and excellent business prospects that have historically been Chile’s hallmarks.
In Chile, foreign investors now find growth and an economic dynamism that did not exist three years ago. We now also have a different institutional framework for FDI attraction that allows us to channel investors’ enquiries and concerns and all our promotional work through a single institution that is CIEChile, which operates internationally through the offices of the ProChile export promotion agency. In this period, CIEChile has sought to be an institution that is open to the public, with bilingual and proactive personnel, and to implement a clear strategy that includes the offer of specific investment opportunities through the preparation and promotion of portfolios of projects in different sectors.
One of our goals as an institution has been to reduce the cost of doing business in Chile through better communication and promotion mechanisms that seek to eliminate the gaps that foreign investors may have in the information they require in order to take decisions. Our challenge is to ensure that no company fails to invest in Chile because it did not know on which door to knock.
Last year, we launched a plan to coordinate investment attraction with the country’s different regions. Public-private regional working groups have been established to facilitate a more constant flow of foreign capital and its related benefits into all sectors of the economy.
Today, Chile is poised on the threshold of development and, for foreign investors, that implies both benefits and challenges. Just as our country offers good business opportunities, it is also crucial that companies understand the importance of maintaining good relations with a community that is better informed, more organized and more inclined to ask questions. Finally, our most important undertaking is that, in Chile, all investors, regardless of their origin, are treated as if they were Chilean.
Matías Mori A. Executive Vice-president Foreign Investment Committee