SOFOFA’s Food Exporting Council announced its 2019 priority areas to reach the goal of USD $32 billion in exports by 2025. During the presentation, the sector highlighted the three key pillars to achieve this goal: country image, international negotiations and logistics chain.
Some members of SOFOFA’s Food Exporting Council attended the meeting: Claudio Cilveti, General Manager of Wines of Chile and President of the Council; Juan Carlos Domínguez, President of ChileCarne and Vice president of the Council; Guillermo González, General Manager of ChileAlimentos; Héctor Bacigalupo, General Manager of SONAPESCA; Guillermo Iturrieta, Chairman of ExporLac; Gabriela Moglia, General Manager of ChileOliva; Arturo Clement, President of SalmonChile; Andrés Rodríguez, Executive Director of Chile Prunes; Nicolás Di Cosmo, President of ChileNut and Manuel José Prieto, International Director of SOFOFA.
Claudio Cilveti, President of the Council stressed that, specifically regarding country image: “A renewed institutional framework, as well as public-private collaboration and more funds are needed to position Chile as a leading country in food exports.” In this sense, he added: “Unlike commodities, our consumers are able to know the origin of each product, which has a significant impact on the country image, considering we reach over 200 destinations worldwide, with a range of products that reflects an environmental, economic and social sustainability strategy.”
Juan Carlos Domínguez, Vice president of the SOFOFA’s Food Exporting Council, added:
For 30 years we hardly had any competition, but good things are copied, and other countries also have favorable commercial agreements. Therefore, we have to move to a second stage closely related to the country image, an area where we ask the authorities to work hard.
Along with country image, the relevance of developing the logistics chain and strengthening international negotiations was also highlighted. With regard to the latter, it was emphasized that although we have trade agreements with the world’s leading economies, there are still opportunities to deepen and refine them, as well as create new agreements such as the CPTTP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership), which is currently undergoing its approval process and would benefit over 3000 Chilean products.
Businesspeople asked the government to move towards a deeper modernization of its services in order to aspire to keep strengthening Chile’s foreign trade. The association presented this demand aiming at maintaining the growth rate the next six years to achieve the goal set by the sector of reaching USD $32 billion in exports by 2025.
Domínguez added that trade with less paperwork could be a competitive advantage:
They are differentiating elements because when you present your exporting offer to Japan, and Mexico does the same, if Chile has electronic certification for example, and Mexico does not, you become a supplier and they prefer you because it is easier to export this product given that electronic documents are cleared through customs faster. Ultimately, it is a service.
Finally, the figures for 2018 were released. The sector showed an 11% growth with a total of USD $18.619 billion in exports, which is why a good performance of the industry is expected for 2019. The goal is to reach USD $20.117 billion in 2019, which would mean an 8% annual growth.
“We are optimistic because we have managed to maintain an annual growth around 8%. If we work together with the state in a continuous public-private collaboration with a long-term perspective, the estimates are perfectly achievable with a positive impact on employment, quality of life and decentralization, becoming a strategic contribution to the economic development of the country,” said Manuel José Prieto, International Director of SOFOFA.
In fact, SOFOFA’s Food Exporting Council, which brings together 10 associations of the food industry sector, highlighted that the food-exporting sector is Chile’s most important sector after mining, and that it creates 1 in 7 direct jobs in the country.