Remarks With Chilean Foreign Minister Munoz at a Signing Ceremony
Secretary of State
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, thank you very much for joining us. We’ve just come from a wonderful lunch with President Bachelet and her delegation, and we discussed the very strong relationship between the United States and Chile. And to that end, Foreign Minister Munoz and I are going to be signing memoranda of understanding on small business cooperation, on international development cooperation, and a declaration on the intent on trilateral cooperation in the Caribbean. Afterwards, my colleagues from the Department of Homeland Security will sign a joint statement to combat trafficking in persons, and with Finance Minister Arenas, an agreement on customs mutual assistance that will facilitate trade while at the same time keeping our countries secure.
The MOU on small business, on business cooperation, cements an already strong partnership with Chile, and it does so in a way that will advance economic opportunities for small businesses, and it will also promote access for women through the Women’s Entrepreneurship of the Americas initiative. We really look forward, as we talked about at lunch and we also talked about with President Obama today, to the opportunity to expand an already strong economic relationship and long-term both security and friendship relationship with Chile in order to develop other economies in the Pacific region as well as throughout Latin America.
Our declaration of intent on the cooperation on the trilateral effort is really a pledge to continue and upgrade our development in Haiti, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic. So the United States and Chile come to this memorandum of understanding signing today with a clear intent to continue to grow our own relationship and to try to strengthen the relationships with other countries in Latin America, particularly with a view to trying to achieve our shared goals on a global basis. Chile is a great partner globally, and we appreciate enormously the cooperation that we have received and that we give each other.
FOREIGN MINISTER MUNOZ: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Let me first say that we’re very pleased with the president, President Bachelet, to come to Washington for this bilateral meeting with President Obama with you to sign these agreements that I think underline the fact that we have a key bilateral relationship and that this is a mature and high-quality relationship that we highly value. And I think that the agreements that we’re signing today point towards sort of a new association. We already have a free trade agreement, we already have a high-quality relationship, but we’re signaling here that we want to go into new grounds.
And that new association has to do with cooperation, not only among ourselves but in third countries like in the Caribbean, like we’re signing today, with small and medium enterprises that are absolutely fundamental to create jobs. In our country, most of the jobs are created by small and medium enterprises, and we appreciate cooperation in that area. The fact that we are also singing agreements with regard to education, science and technology, innovation, energy, which are all the areas that I think point towards this new association between our two countries.
I want to also say that the customs agreement point towards the common interests in security, in securing our borders, but at the same time facilitating trade, because this is one of our interests. We value also your mentioning our projecting ourselves towards the Pacific and the Asia region. This is a horizon of the future. We are part of the Pacific. We’re both members of APEC. And Chile, within the Pacific Alliance, is making a further commitment to deepen our ties with our countries, our colleagues of the region to project ourselves together with the rest of the Latin American region so that Chile can aspire to be a bridge to the Pacific. It can be a port to the Pacific not only to the countries that face the Pacific but also those on the Atlantic side.
So this has been a very positive visit. President Bachelet is satisfied with the conversations that we had. And I think we have a road ahead of us to comply with the commitments, including those, Mr. Secretary, that both of us made at the Our Ocean Conference that you led that will be held in Chile next year, where I hope the countries that came with commitments will comply with what they promised. I think this will be not only for the benefit of our oceans, of our biodiversity, but the economic future of our countries. If we ecologically value what we have, I think we are making a commitment towards future generations.
So thank you very much for hosting us, and thank you to President Obama because President Bachelet has been very satisfied with this visit. Thank you.
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you. Thank you, Heraldo.
STAFF: Secretary Kerry and Minister Munoz will now sign the Memorandum of Understanding for International Development Cooperation.
(The memorandum was signed.)
STAFF: The second signing will be the Memorandum of Understanding on Promoting Entrepreneurship and the Growth of Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises. Witnessing the signing of the MOU are U.S. Small Business Administration Maria Contrares-Sweet and Chilean Minister of Economy, Development, and Tourism Luis Felipe Cespedes.
(The memorandum was signed.)
STAFF: The third signing will be the Joint Declaration of Intent for the Development of Trilateral Cooperation in Countries in the Caribbean. This declaration of intent on trilateral cooperation evidences our pledge to contribute to development in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica.
(The memorandum was signed.)
SECRETARY KERRY: Whatever we signed is legally binding now. (Laughter.)
FOREIGN MINISTER MUNOZ: We cannot repent.
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, sir. Well done.
STAFF: Now Department of Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Foreign Minister Munoz will sign the Joint Statement between the United States Department of Homeland Security and the Chilean Ministry of Interior and Public Security on Combating Trafficking in Persons. The joint statement will increase cooperation among enforcement agencies with an aim to target, disrupt, dismantle and deter human trafficking criminal enterprises, enhance bilateral exchanges of information related to human trafficking and share experiences regarding the protection of vulnerable populations.
STAFF: Finally, Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske and Minister of Finance Alberto Arenas will sign the Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Chile regarding Mutual Assistance between their Customs Administrations. This agreement provides the legal framework to assist countries in the prevention, detection and investigation of custom offenses. Chile is the seventieth country to sign a customs mutual assistance agreement with the United States. The signing of the agreement will build on bilateral efforts to cooperate on law enforcement and facilitate trade and travel.
STAFF: Thank you. This concludes our signing ceremony. We look forward to working together closely on issues ranging from economic development to security.