[ARCHIVO] President Bachelet: “The relationship between Chile and the United States is politically and economically strategic.”
During the meeting with US Vice President Michael Pence, President Bachelet addressed the benefits of the visa waiver program, the free trade agreement between the two nations and the current situation of Venezuela.
President of Chile Michelle Bachelet and US Vice President Michael Pence held a joint press conference in the Camelias Patio of La Moneda Presidential Palace in which they addressed the challenges that Chile and the United States are facing.
“Chile’s relationship with the United States is politically and economically strategic. We share visions in the areas of democracy, human rights and open markets”, President Bachelet stated as she began her remarks.
The President highlighted the success of the visa waiver program. “Chile is the only Latin American country among the 38 states benefitting from this program. This has meant that in the three-plus years since its implementation, nearly 400,000 Chilean tourists have visited the United States, with a rejection rate of less than 1%”, she sai
President Bachelet also underscored the benefits that both countries enjoy as a result of the Free Trade Agreement. “Under this agreement, now more than a decade old, 100% of products enter our country tariff-free. The agreement also provides access to services, guarantees protection of intellectual property and offers incentives to US companies in various sectors of our economy”, she said.
They also highlighted the collaborative work that is being conducted in the Northern Triangle of Central America and Haiti in the areas of institutional strengthening and governance as well as support for the peace process in Colombia.
In addition, the two leaders addressed the situation of Venezuela. “Chile and 11 other countries in our region signed the Lima Declaration one week ago, which states that we are fully willing to ‘explore ways of contributing to the restoration of democracy in Venezuela through a peaceful, negotiated outcome’. There is a great deal of concern over the levels of violence and the humanitarian crisis that Venezuelans are experiencing, which is naturally generating a wave of migrants in neighboring countries”, President Bachelet stated.
She added, “I want to be very clear. Chile will do everything it can to support the people of Venezuela to find the peaceful road to restoring democracy, but Chile will not support coup d’états or military interventions. We will support any sanctions adopted by the UN Security Council”.
Finally, President Bachelet showed concern for the nuclear arms program of North Korea and extended an invitation to the next ministerial meeting of the Hemispheric initiative “Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas” (ECPA), which will be held in Chile in September.