As its president, Sebastián Piñera, says, Chile has always been an island economically ". This summed up Ángel Simón, Executive Vice President of Suez, the privileged situation of the country's economy thanks to its international expansion and its low dependence on Mercosur, the region it shares with Brazil and Argentina, which makes it almost immune to economic cycles, the evolution of currencies or commercial wars like the one unleashed between the United States and China.
Forum Challenges in Chile. Towards an integral, inclusive and sustainable growth, organized by EL PAÍS in Madrid and sponsored by Ferrovial, Suez and Enagás, and inaugurated by the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, took advantage of the official visit of President Piñera to Spain to bring together the heads of large Spanish multinationals, who agreed to send a message of optimism for the Chilean economy.
The president of Enagás sees great investment opportunities in the Andean State
The president of Enagás, Antonio Llardén, highlighted the economic stability that allows him to follow a path of growth "much more optimistic than that of many European countries", without there being great risks in the growing dependence on exports with China, the first commercial partner of the country.
Llardén emphasized that the wealth index offers Chile put in the orbit of more developed countries, which allows you to start recycling and to introduce new "energy vectors" that represent great investment opportunities. "If it had more population, it would be the best country in the world," he said ironically. "Chile is the country [de Latinoamérica] with a higher level of development ", presumed Piñera.
The Spanish company is evaluating three or four investment projects in the framework of decarbonisation, with the introduction of "renewable gases" such as hydrogen or methane, taking advantage of the Energy Route 2018-2022 program, with which the Chilean Government intends move towards sustainable energy development. Enagás is the majority shareholder of the GNL Quintero regasification plant, strategically located in the center of the country.
Ángel Simón emphasized that Chile has to face the transition from a linear economy to a circular economy and continue betting on public-private collaboration projects in line with Piñera's desire for the State to become a "partner and friend" for the citizens. "foreign and private" investors. And he gave as an example the biofactory projects that transform water treatment plants in the capital, Santiago, into plants that not only treat wastewater, but also transform it into new natural resources, into clean energy.
Íñigo Meirás, CEO of Ferrovial, welcomed the public investment program of 20,000 million euros announced by the Chilean Government for the 2018-2022 period, which includes investments in infrastructures (ports, airports and roads), education, health -with the start-up of digital hospitals- and foreign and private investment. Meirás indicated that there are many opportunities to technologically renovate the large highways.
Ángel Simón, director of Suez, believes that Chile should move to the circular economy
Ferrovial has been operating in Chile since 1996 in motorways, services, construction and airports. Through its subsidiary Agroman, it has had a prominent role in the construction of line 6 of the Santiago metro, inaugurated in December 2017. Currently, it runs the Universidad de Chile station, on line 3, and the new accesses Tobalaba station, on line 4. It is also present in the mining sector (representing 10% of GDP, according to the president) and in the electricity sector.
With this panorama for foreign investment and successful socio-political indicators as the best in the South American region in terms of the rule of law and the lowest corruption index, Piñera has set itself the goal of ending poverty in the country by 2030. And he wants it to materialize in a per capita income of between $ 35,000 and $ 40,000 per year. For this, it intends to increase GDP growth to 5%, an arduous task since Chile has been growing below 2% in recent years, he said.