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ALABC-SOFOFA launched the Australia-Chile Business Council

12 Nov 2020 9:59 AM | Sarah Carroll (Administrator)


The establishment of the joint business council between the Australia-Latin America Business Council and the Chilean Federation of Industry. 

On November 12, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the Australia Latin America Business Council and the Chilean Federation of Industry (SOFOFA) for the establishment of the Australia-Chile Business Council ACHBC), to foster closer friendship and promote economic, trade and investment between Australia and Chile.

The signing ceremony was co-hosted by the Chairman of the Board of Directors of ALABC Mr. Richard Andrews and by the President of SOFOFA Mr. Bernardo Larrain and included the participation of the President of the Australian Chapter Mr. Andrew Phillips and by the President of the Chilean Chapter, Mr. Ramon Jara and the Vice-Presidents of both Chapter Mr. John O’Donogue and Mr.Pablo Altimiras along with the respective members of the boards.

Special mention to highlight the presence of H.E.Patricio Powell, Ambassador of Chile in Australia.

In his welcoming remarks the President of SOFOFA Bernardo Larrain highlighted that the signing of the MOU marks a new milestone in the consolidation of the business relations between Australia and Chile and that the main objective is to provide a regular forum for a more systematic bilateral business promotional initiatives that lead to increase trade in goods and services and investment between the two countries. He added that “the current trade and investment figures demonstrate that the existing potential remains largely untapped. An essential role for the Australia-Chile Business Council it is to encourage investor confidence and strengthen relations to establish the bases for stable growth that is beneficial for both countries”

The President of ALABC, Richard Andrews mentioned that this is the first binational business advisory group created by ALABC . The  bilateral business councils are unique instances of private sector cooperation, coordination and consultation whose objective is to increase business between two countries. They are made up of senior businessmen and executives of companies that have significant investments or trade flows with the countries that act as counterparts. 

They are an effective tool for business diplomacy and complement the efforts made by DFAT, ALABC along with key industry player such as COALAR (lead by Alberto Calderon), Austrade, Global Victoria, Trade and Investment Queensland and their Chilean counterparts.

Andrews also mentioned “Latin America has been growing in economic importance for Australia in recent years. Chile, for example, in 2009 became just the fifth country in the world with which Australia entered a free trade agreement, and this basis for exchange has only been bolstered through both countries’ membership in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership – an accord that also includes Mexico and Peru.

Clean energy and green hydrogen are a major focus for the Chilean government and industries are wanting to attract and partner with Australian energy technology exporters on new projects.

Online commercial platforms are gaining traction for tech companies that can focus on digitalisation solutions. That's where we see new and emerging sectors for Australian companies. With the new Asia and South America digital gateway (submarine cable) connecting Australia and Chile, plus the 5G networks rolling out across the region, provides new opportunities for data driven businesses.

Mr. Andrews Phillips added that “ the road is long, the challenges are great and the goals are ambitious. Although the Australia-Chile Free Trade Agreement signed in 2009 allowed for an important advance, which was deepened when both countries granted tariff preferences to almost all products, this is still insufficient” .

“ The importance of the MOU signed between the two  industry bodies, through which an strategic alliance is established represents a unique opportunity for Australian companies to access key players and decision makers in the Chilean private sector. On the other hand, there has never been a better time given the reasonable success that Australia have had in managing the health crisis caused by Covid-19, the relative stability, medical and economic, offered by Australia, to explore opportunities here”.

Pedro Reus, Chief Executive Chilean Chapter

Marcelo Salas, Chief Executive Australian Chapter (0412643343)

Currently, SOFOFA has established 15 bilateral business councils and the business council of the Pacific Alliance.

Some of the Chilean companies that have a presence in Australia are:  Duratray, Latam Airlines, SQM, Antofagasta Minerals, ARAUCO, CMPC, Davey Bickford Enaex, Downer Blasting Services, Covalent Lithium.

SOFOFA is a non-profit trade association that brings together companies and associations related to the Chilean industrial sector.

It brings together about 4,000 companies, 48 industry associations and 22 regional business associations. All these members together comprise 100% of Chile's industrial activity and 30% of GDP.

Its political independence, soundness of principles, technical approach and prestige of its leaders, has allowed it to achieve an important place in national life, and is listened with respect by governments and political, economic and social sectors.

ALABC ALABC was established in 1989 as a Non-for Profit association and our membership is comprised of companies and organisations ranging from large multinational corporations to education and research institutions, SMEs, sole traders and professionals, who are at the forefront of forging business relations between Australia and Latin America.

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