As close partners and vibrant democracies, the United States and Chile share a strong commitment to pursuing economic growth and job creation, transparency, human rights, and the rule of law. The deep historical partnership between our countries has strengthened under Presidents Obama and Piñera. The United States and Chile are committed to working together to address global security challenges, promote strong, sustained, and balanced economic growth, and expand global trade and investment.
Economic and Trade Partners: The United States and Chile are leaders in promoting economic growth and development through expanding trade and investment. Bilateral trade in goods expanded three-fold since the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement entered into force in 2004. Today the two countries are working together to finalize the Trans-Pacific Partnership along with nine other countries. Our shared goal is a comprehensive, high-standard agreement that will eliminate barriers to trade and investment, open new markets for U.S. and Chilean exports, and deepen investment ties across the dynamic Pacific region. The United States and Chile are leading efforts to finalize the agreement this year.
Science and Technology Cooperation: The United States and Chile recognize that cooperation on science, technology, and innovation is critical to sustained economic growth. Our countries enjoy one of the oldest science and technology partnerships in the hemisphere. Under the auspices of our 1992 Science and Technology Agreement, we continue to promote research collaboration in astronomy, energy, health, earth sciences, and climate change. At the fourth Joint Commission meeting on Science and Technology Cooperation in April, we agreed to foster additional cooperation in cancer research and natural hazards mitigation.
Education: Both our countries recognize the importance of access to quality and affordable education as a means of social development. President Obama’s 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative is a path to strengthen the ties between the United States and Chile. In 2010-2011 academic year, over 2,100 Chileans studied as international students in the United States and more than 3,200 Americans studied abroad in Chile. Both countries are committed to expanding these opportunities.
Environment: Since signing the 2003 United States-Chile Environmental Cooperation Agreement, the United States has dedicated more than $4 million to support trade-related projects in Chile. Joint efforts have brought more than six million hectares of land under improved natural resource management; reached approximately 30,000 people though informational guides to promote public participation; and, trained over 300 officials in natural resource management, biodiversity conservation, and environmental enforcement. This month, the two governments announced a third partnership under the “Sister Parks” initiative, between Alerce Costero National Park in Chile and Redwoods National and State Parks in California, allowing for the exchange of expertise on park management issues.
Development Partnership: The U.S.-Chile Trilateral Development Cooperation initiative, conceived in 2009, has succeeded in reducing poverty, improving social conditions, and bolstering the institutions critical to increased stability and socially inclusive prosperity in the hemisphere. This initiative is now expanding to the Dominican Republic, where the two countries will work together to improve the lives of at-risk youth. The new program will build on previous successes in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Paraguay.
Visa-Free Travel: The United States and Chile recognize the importance of the travel and tourism industries to our economies and of expanding cultural ties to our continued partnership. In January 2012, the United States launched a coordinated policy to expand travel, including via the Visa Waiver Program, which is consistent with protecting our national security. Chile has made significant progress towards meeting the program requirements. On June 3, the Department of State nominated Chile for inclusion in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, beginning a process of verification of various security safeguards and information-sharing requirements before Chile can formally enter the program.