Spanish and Chilean officials that were holding a virtual meeting focused on the agri-food sector, the logistics chain, and distribution, advocated strengthening their alliances in the agri-food sector as complementary partners and opening markets in a globalized context marked by the pandemic.
The association between both countries would also serve as a strategic platform to access their respective continents; Spain can be a gateway for Chilean products to enter Europe and, in turn, Chile can facilitate access for Spanish exports to other nations in America and to access destinations in the Pacific, such as China or Vietnam.
The meeting was closed by the Spanish Minister of Industry, Commerce, and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, and by the Chilean Minister of Agriculture, Antonio Walker, who endorsed this strengthening of relations.
Chile, the only country with a Mediterranean climate in the southern hemisphere, considers Spain as a key ally, Walker said.
The agricultural food balance between both countries leans in favor of Chile, as it exports to Spain are worth 177 million dollars (151.2 million euro), while Spanish imports to Chile amount to 126 million dollars ( 107 million euro), according to the minister.
Gerardo Cueva, the vice president of the Spanish employer association CEOE and president of the Confederation of Small and Medium Enterprises (Cepyme), defended a public-private commitment to generate new opportunities for investment and interconnection.
The general director of the Spanish Federation of Food and Beverage Industries (FIAB), Mauricio Garcia de Quevedo, underlined the value of the relationship with Chile, a country they have had no conflicts with and where they have good partners, and the opportunities it would open at this moment. Especially, he added, in the face of the threats that the Spanish agricultural food sector faces, such as Brexit, US tariffs, and the fall in demand due to COVID-19.
The Spanish food industry has a turnover of 116,000 million euro, generates half a million direct jobs, and 2 million indirect ones, according to FIAB. In addition, according to the data released during the meeting, Spain has one million farmers while Chile has 300,000.
Finally, the president of the agricultural organization Asaja, Pedro Barato, advocated finding synergies with Chile to facilitate the access of Spanish products to Pacific countries and to reach the Asian continent (China or Vietnam).