Chile and Pennsylvania seek new trade and business opportunities

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett met with Chile’s President Piñera to discuss ties in education, energy, mining, agriculture, science and technology.

Chile and the U.S. state of Pennsylvania are aiming to join forces in order to boost trade and create jobs, in addition to launching new cultural exchanges and art initiatives.

On a recent trip to Chile’s capital, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett met with Chile’s President Sebastián Piñera at La Moneda to discuss new cooperation in areas such as education, energy, mining, agriculture, and science and technology. While a formal memorandum of understanding is forthcoming, the two leaders were excited to discuss the possibility of future ties. Chile already has similar formal cooperative agreements with U.S. states California and Massachusetts.

Following an invitation from Governor Corbett to visit Pennsylvania, Chilean Agricultural Minister Luis Mayol Bouchon visited the Port of Philadelphia on May 15. During the visit, Minister Bouchon and Governor Corbett discussed Chile’s position as South America’s largest shipper of fruit products and looked on as a refrigerated cargo ship unloaded fresh fruit from Chile.

About 40 percent of Chile’s fruit exports to the United States in 2010 entered the country through the Port of Philadelphia, according to Constanza Cea Sanchez, a spokeswoman for President Piñera. Philadelphia handles $680 million a year in imports from Chile.

“As I told the agricultural minister, we love Chile, and hope to continue to do business with them for a long time,” said Charles Kopp, chairman of the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority.

In addition to opportunities for business development, the new Chile-Pennsylvania partnership will also include cultural exchanges. A new program announced by Pennsylvania’s First Lady Susan Corbett will provide five-week artist residencies in Pennsylvania for two Chilean visual artists.

“Our engagement in and appreciation for Chile’s arts and culture will strengthen our relationship and foster our economic ties,” Mrs. Corbett said. “This exchange will be mutually beneficial, allowing residents of each country to see and experience the talent that helps our respective cultures thrive.”

The Chilean artists in residence will work at Artist Image Resource in Pittsburgh and up to two Pennsylvanians will be resident artists at Taller 99 in Santiago.