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Minister Nicolas Grau: “Foreign investment plays a key role for the country’s economy”

  • Economy Minister Nicolás Grau emphasized the work carried out by InvestChile. The Foreign Investment Promotion Agency is celebrating seven years since its creation this 2023.

InvestChile’s 7th anniversary marks a significant milestone in attracting foreign investment to Chile. According to Economy Minister Nicolas Grau, foreign investment has played a crucial role in the country’s economy, with promising prospects for the future, particularly in energy transition industries like lithium and green hydrogen.

InvestChile turns seven this week. What is your assessment of the role of the agency and of foreign investment in this period?

I would like to begin by sending a warm greeting to InvestChile’s staff members on this seventh anniversary. I think that foreign investment in general has played a very important role in our economy, not only in recent years but also over the past decades. It is not difficult to foresee that its role will be even more important in the future, considering the growing contribution it will make in key industries for the energy transition, such as lithium and green hydrogen, and the very significant role it is already playing in established industries, such as renewable energy, technological infrastructure and mining, to mention the most relevant sectors.

With regard to InvestChile, I would like to underline that it is enormously valuable for the State to have an agency that has the technical and professional capacity to interact with foreign companies, accompany them in their investment processes and serve as coordinator between the public and private stakeholders involved in each project. This knowledge passes from government to government, over and above political cycles, which makes it possible to provide continuity to the work of fostering and promoting foreign investment. This is really very important.

In addition to the above, what other aspect would you like to highlight?

The results of the portfolio, specifically the concrete investment that has had the support of InvestChile, have been very significant. We are talking about a total of 170 projects worth more than US$18 billion, which have generated almost 11,000 jobs. We know that behind these figures there are people who access stable jobs with good salaries; there are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that provide services or sell products to foreign companies; there are workers who access training or are inserted in international labor networks.

Are there any plans for the future that you want to comment on?

To continue strengthening InvestChile’s capabilities as we have been doing so far; for example, by deploying investment promotion officers in five points around the globe – France, Canada, Italy, the United States and Germany –, which join the existing investment promotion office in Tokyo. This allows us to establish more fluid and direct relationships with the head offices of international companies, which is where investment decisions are made. It is also important for us to deepen our coordinated work with regional governments in order to guarantee that the benefits of foreign investment reach all of Chile’s regions. This is a line of work that has made significant progress this year, and that should continue to do so in the future.

Almost 11,000 new jobs have been created in the Chilean economy in the last seven years. Foreign investment has also been distributed throughout the territory, in fifteen of the sixteen regions, generating quality jobs, installing new technologies and creating value chains with local suppliers. InvestChile plays a key role for the economy and for job creation in the country.

How is Chile positioned in terms of being an investment destination in the region?

InvestChile has positioned our country as an investment destination that goes beyond traditional sectors and is at the forefront of global technological progress, such as clean energy and energy storage as a result of advances in green hydrogen and lithium. Also in technological infrastructure, since Chile has positioned itself as a digital hub in the region. More than 60 foreign companies have chosen us as a base to export their technology services to the region and the world, to give a few examples.

How is foreign investment being attracted this year?

The Government has implemented several measures to promote foreign investment. Among them are the deployment of new investment officers to join the existing investment office in Tokyo, in order to promote Chile as an investment destination in strategic countries. We also have very intense agendas that we promote in specific sectors, such as green hydrogen and soon lithium.