An important delegation of Uruguayan businessmen will be traveling with President Tabare Vazquez to Chile next April 9/10 to promote bilateral trade and business between both countries, according to Montevideo sources.
Uruguay's Chamber of Industry and the Chilean Manufacturing Promotion Society are expected to sign a cooperation agreement to identify business opportunities and production complementation for joint export efforts to third countries. Among the areas considered with association potential are logistics, software, skins and leather, clothing, textiles, shoe wear, agriculture and food, and auto parts. Uruguay's Economy minister Danilo Astori said that in the coming presidential meeting with Chile's Michelle Bachelet, Mr. Vazquez will not only push for greater bilateral trade but also to address the possibility of reaching a free trade agreement with Chile. Although Uruguay and Chile belong to Mercosur and have a wide ranging agreement dating back to 1996, Uruguay's goal is to reach "a free trade agreement similar to that with Mexico". In anticipation of closer trade and commercial links this week the Chilean Trade Promotion Office sponsored a conference in Montevideo, "Chile-Uruguay, Joint international insertion opportunities" where different fields of possible integration and association at company level were considered. This is particularly interesting for Uruguay since Chile has free trade agreements with over fifty countries equivalent to 80% of the global GDP and needs partners or associates in certain fields to take full advantage of these commercial instruments. The Uruguayan delegation is scheduled to hold in Santiago a round of business contacts with Chilean counterparts focusing on production complementation for exporting to third countries using Chile as a platform to catapult trade opportunities.