The diplomatic relations between Chile and Australia were established on December 27, 1945, within the framework of the San Francisco Conference.
On the first stage these relations were not very strong due to factors as the geographical distance, different strategic priorities and the resemblance between the productive sectors. However, globalization, Chilean immigration (43.000 people, including the third generation), and the increasing Australian investment in our territory, marked a turning point of the same, generating a special synergy in different areas, which at present, allows us to state a level of interaction in peak conditions.
As a result of the State visit carried out by President Ricardo Lagos, in July 2005, the grounds were established for a new approach that refers to how Chile and Australia, as ‘like minded’ countries, should face in the future the global challenges and those corresponding to the Asia- Pacific region.
As soon as the government of the President Michelle Bachelet was inaugurated, it was decided to promote a multidimensional relation, combining the strengths of both countries. The focal point of this action constituted setting an agenda for the negotiation of a Free Trade Agreement and the identification of relevant areas for both parties, such as mining, agricultural industry, wine production, education and innovation.
In July, 2008, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Chile and Australia signed a Free Trade Agreement, comprehensive and state of the art instrument, that will come into force in January 2009.
On such occasion, other three Agreements on Education were subscribed, that will enable the enrollment of almost 100 Chilean students to Australian universities and technical institutions, starting from January 2009.
These new dynamics of the bilateral relation has enabled to generate a wide network of agreements involving governmental, entrepreneurial, academic and research centers, which aim is to consolidate the fluent exchange of people, goods, services, investments and knowledge, as well as the setting up of joint ventures.
In such context, it is important to highlight the outstanding advances registered in the mining sector, with Australian investments in our country that exceed AUS$ 3 billion. In turn, the Chilean investments are US$ 800 million. It is a high priority to create a national cluster, sustainable and internationally competitive, destined to develop a supplier sector of products and services for the mining industry.
Likewise, stands out the social responsibility assumed by the Australian mining companies in Chile by offering collaboration in the education sector, training teachers of English and students of technical studies related to their activities, in our country and in Australia.
Significant steps have also been taken in the fields of innovation, agricultural industry, wine production and energy, where the interaction with the different Australian states has turned out to be essential.
As ‘like minded countries’, the community of interests has enabled us to agree in a significant number of matters within the framework of the U.N., WTO, APEC, Cairns Group, Valdivia Group, South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation and the Antarctic System.
In brief, the harmony of interests existing between both countries allows us to visualize an optimum future scenario in the bilateral relation.