Chile, the world’s largest producer of copper, has announced that it is trying to diversify its economy beyond the minerals sector. The country supplies more than one-third of the world's copper, but its authorities are looking for new ways to attract investments from different sectors.
“We are making a big push in order to achieve a diversified matrix of investments,” said Matias Mori, executive vice-president of the Chilean Foreign Investment Committee. “Opportunities can be found especially in fields such as energy, tourism and agribusiness.”
The Chilean GDP is forecast to grow between 4% and 5% in 2012, and, according to Mr Mori, this growth should lead to an increase in domestic demand for goods. In turn, this should encourage more foreign producers and retailers of consumer products to the country. The increased interest being shown by investors to the entire Latin America region is also likely to drive up the number of investments into Chile, making it a good time to target investors.
“Our country is known for stability and predictability. Thanks to that Chile [is] a good place for entrepreneurs who have not had any previous experience investing in our continent before,” said Mr Mori.
Despite this new move to diversify the economy, Mr Mori remains committed to the development of the mining sector. “Mining will always play a major role in our economy,” he said. The mining industry not only creates jobs in extraction and processing industries but can also lead to job creation in the services sector. “We are aiming to attract more services for the companies taking care of human resources, payroll and all other back-office operations for the mining companies,” added Mr Mori.
Chile is not only looking to diversify its economy, but also the type of investor that it attracts. In 2011, companies from Spain and the US accounted for more than 50% of all crossborder investments in the country, according to greenfield investment monitor fDiMarkets. But, like many countries, Chile is focusing on attracting more investors from emerging economies. “We want to increase our share of investments from China and south Asian countries. This is one of the priorities for us,” said Mr Mori.