Minister Cerda participates in Chile Day: “We’re interested in attracting more foreign investors"
The minister highlighted the importance of the Government measures put in place during the pandemic to reactivate the economy and support the people of Chile. He added that Chile is a stable country for doing business.
Finance Minister Rodrigo Cerda spoke on Wednesday at Chile Day Global 2021, which is being held online for the first time ever. Speaking about Chile’s macroeconomic perspectives, the minister underlined the importance of Chile Day for attracting foreign investment and positioning Chile as an exporter of financial services. He also emphasized how important the fast rollout of vaccinations and a significant external thrust are to this scenario.
“We’ve addressed the pandemic as quickly as possible. This includes the vaccination rollout being implemented by the government; by late February almost 17% of Chile’s population had already been vaccinated against COVID-19. This is great news both for our fellow Chileans and for our economy. As more people are vaccinated, more people will be able to work and our economy will grow faster,” explained Finance Minister Rodrigo Cerda. He added that Chile is the country in the region that has spent the most tax revenues on addressing the COVID-19 crisis, with above-the-line measures equivalent to 8.4% of GDP, according to the IMF.
“Our fellow Chileans are at the heart of our economy, and this is why we will continue to spend as necessary to assist them through the difficulties the pandemic may bring. Chile has built a sound tax base over the years and we are resorting to our countercyclical tax policy, whereby we save in periods of prosperity to be able to spend when needed,” the Minister explained. He forecast that gross public debt will approach 40% of GDP over the coming years.
Minister Cerda added that Chile’s financial and economic stability over the last few months has generated a climate that is attractive for foreign investment, even in the aftermath of the crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moving on to finance, the Finance Minister emphasized that the financial sector is key to Chile’s development, indicating that progress is being made in matters such as the regulation of interchange fees, financial portability and laws on Fintech and Open Banking.
The Minister explained that thanks to factors such as the fast vaccination process, the higher copper price and improved investment forecasts, Chile will achieve a greater recovery than the rest of the world in 2021, and kept his economic growth forecast above 5% for this year.
“We hope that factors such as the higher copper price will help our economy to recover, but we must pay attention to market volatility,” he warned.
Minister Cerda added that although Chile’s economy shrunk less than those of its peers in the region during 2020 and will grow faster than them in 2021, “we must not take this for granted. We need to work toward this objective and we are doing so through public policies aimed at stimulating economic growth, such as Fogape (small business loans) for business reactivation and the employment subsidies to help recover jobs, among other economic reactivation measures.”
At the end of his presentation, the Minister thanked the teams at InBest Chile and made a call to foreign investors: “Ours is an attractive and interesting country, economically speaking, not only in the short term because of our quick and sound response to the crisis, but in the medium term as well. Our economy has grown for 30 years. We have reduced poverty and improved the well-being of our population. I really hope we can get more foreign investment in Chile. We're interested in attracting more investment to reactivate the economy and to build a different economy for the future,” he said.
Following his speech, the Finance Minister spoke with Mónica Duwe, the CEO of HSBC Chile, where he highlighted the importance of fiscal consolidation as the economy starts to reactivate, and Chile’s leadership in the issue of green and social bonds, which has positioned the country at the forefront of the Americas.
Other activities of the Finance Minister during Chile Day
During the week, Minister Rodrigo Cerda participated in other events of Chile Day Global 2021.
On Tuesday, March 2, he was interviewed by Michael Reid, editor for the Americas and Spain at The Economist. Their conversation focused on the fast vaccination rollout implemented by the Chilean government, and the constitutional process that will begin with the elections in April.
In the afternoon, the minister spoke with Bloomberg Markets journalist Shery Ahn about the economic reactivation and foreign investment in Chile.
Chile Day Global opened on Monday, March 1, 2021 with an address by the President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, who spoke about Chile’s economic situation. The event will continue until March 12, and will convene Public Works Minister Alfredo Moreno and Biminister of Energy and Mining Juan Carlos Jobet. There will also be a series of panels on topics like how to attract foreign investment, sustainable finance, and capital markets.