The United States and Chile are working closely together on development programs in Latin America and the Caribbean under our "Trilateral Development Cooperation" initiative. The initiative was proposed by President Obama and former Chilean President Bachelet in June 2009, with the intent to reduce poverty, improve social conditions, and bolster the institutions critical to increased stability and prosperity in the hemisphere. In January 2010, the United States and Chile signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining how we would work together to implement the initiative.
Given the breadth of the cooperation, several different U.S. and Chilean government agencies are contributing to this initiative. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Chilean International Cooperation Agency (AGCI) signed an MOU in February 2011 outlining their areas of cooperation. (text of MOU: English, Spanish) In Paraguay, El Salvador, and Guatemala, programs are now underway that focus on social protection, health, customs reform, and improvements in agricultural phytosanitary controls. Much of the expertise offered by the Government of Chile is provided by technical experts from a number of different Chilean government agencies. On the U.S. side, the Departments of State, Treasury and Agriculture are working with counterpart agencies to support law enforcement efforts, promote infrastructure projects, and share agricultural regulatory practices.
Social Protection: With funding from the United States under the auspices of the Inter-American Social Protection Network, a Chilean-led training program is helping train Paraguay’s government and civil society to administer a conditional cash-transfer program modeled after Chile’s own highly successful initiative to reduce the number of its citizens in poverty.
Customs Reform: With USAID’s support, and shared funding from Paraguay, Chilean customs experts are providing hands-on training for Paraguay’s customs internal audit team. This will help modernize Paraguay’s customs system, reduce the risk of financial mismanagement, and provide the Paraguayan government with better tools to track and promote trade.
Agricultural Extension: The United States, Chile, and Paraguay are contributing resources and expertise to enhance and expand agricultural extension and credit services provided to small agricultural producers throughout Paraguay.
Export Promotion: Based on Chile’s highly successful “ProChile” export promotion agency, a program is underway to develop a similar institution in Paraguay. The project will kick off with the development of a database detailing Paraguay’s export goods, including not only the products but also the firms capable of, and experienced in, exports. This database will be used by Paraguayan foreign commercial officers to better promote Paraguayan products in foreign export markets. Concurrently, Paraguayan officials will receive specialized training from ProChile staff in promoting exports. The program is supported in equal shares by the United States, Chile and Paraguay.
Experts from AGCI and the Ministry of Agriculture in Chile are currently working with USAID and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to design a program to improve El Salvador’s phytosanitary processes and increase the safety and marketability of El Salvadorian agricultural products. Building the capacity of the El Salvadorian Ministry of Agriculture is a focus of the cooperation.
Working with USAID and USDA, Chilean and Guatemalan agricultural specialists have completed the following reciprocal exchanges: a visit of Guatemalan agricultural experts to Chile in 2009 and of Chilean agricultural experts to Guatemala in 2011. A Chilean delegation including representatives from AGCI, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Chilean Fruit Export Association, partnered with experts from USDA and USAID to visit Guatemala earlier this year to assess the current agriculture inspection system and provide recommendations for a new program design in 2011 to improve sanitary and phytosanitary services. The new program will help transform the current inspection system in Guatemala to expand product coverage, and reduce potential risks associated with Guatemalan agricultural exports.
International Law Enforcement Training Academies: Chile is working with the United States to send instructors to the U.S.-supported law enforcement training centers in El Salvador and Peru.