Brussels, 08 June 2011 - European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani i responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship will be on an official visit to Latin America from 9 - 13 June to strengthen economic and industrial ties with the continent. He will be in Chile on 9 June, in Argentina on 10-11 June and in Brazil on 12-13 June. Tajani will meet with business representatives and tourism sector and attend bilateral meetings with Presidents and Government representatives. In Santiago he is expected to meet with President Sebastián Piñera and Ministers for Foreign Affairs, Economy, SME, Tourism. In Buenos Aires he is expected to meet the President Cristina Fernandez De Kirchner and Ministers for Industry, Economy, Tourism and Federal Planning. In Brasilia, he is expected to meet with President Dilma Rousseff and Ministers for Science and Technology, Foreign Affairs, Defence, Trade and Industry. The aim of the visit is to promote further cooperation on industrial and innovation policy in order to boost economic integration, SMEs’ access to finance, raw materials, space policy and tourism.
This is the first time in 15 years that a European Commissioner for industry goes to South America.
In the last years, Latin America has emerged as a strategic and dynamic economic player. The EU is the number one trading partner of Chile and of Mercosur and the second trading partner of Latin America after the United States. The 530 millions people market of the South American was growing at over 5% a year before the economic crisis and is returning to similar levels today.
Trade in goods amounted to €164bn in 2010 (6.2% of total EU trade and 13.6% of Latin American trade); trade in services to €44bn in 2009 (34% of total Latin American services trade).
Latin America exports mostly primary products such as mining, fuels or agricultural, to the EU. Europe exports mainly industrial products like machinery, transport equipment or chemicals. The EU is the first investor in the area with €315.5bn, 39% of region's total (2009).
The EU has a free trade agreement with Chile since 2003. It has been discussing an inter-regional Association Agreement with Mercosur since 1999. At the Madrid conference, in May 2010, both parties expressed their willingness to relaunch the negotiating process for an ambitious and balanced result going beyond the respective WTO obligations.
The main initiatives that Vice President Tajani intends to promote are the following:
-more coordinated efforts in the field of SMEs, which could result in a "dialogue SMEs", namely facilitating the internationalisation of SMEs and simplifying their regulatory framework
-strengthen the cooperation in the field of Industrial policy cooperation and innovation
-cooperation in the tourism sector (for example promoting the pilot initiative "50,000 tourists" launched last week and starting in 2012: IP/11/669).
-greater cooperation for raw material, as Argentina, Brazil and Chile are major exporters of products such as borates and lithium;
-promoting standardisation at international level;
-establishing an industrial cooperation for Galileo and GEOSS (Global Earth Observation System of Systems), in order to develop a space dialogue.