9TH ARGENTINA-CHILE BINATIONAL MEETING OF MINISTERS

On 22 August, the 9th Argentina-Chile Binational Meeting of Ministers was held in Santiago de Chile, as a follow-up to the agreement reached last April between President Mauricio Macri and his Chilean counterpart, Sebastián Piñera.

Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie headed the delegation comprised of thirteen ministers that attended the Binational Meeting, at which the Chief of Cabinet of Ministers, Marcos Peña, was also present.

This meeting is the highest political-level forum after presidential meetings, and it is one of the mechanisms established under the Treaty of Maipú on Integration and Cooperation of 2009.

A new Binational Meeting of Governors and Mayors of the Common Border was held at the same time to achieve greater coordination and efficiency as regards concrete aspects of integration. Argentina was represented by the Governors of Catamarca, Jujuy, La Rioja, Mendoza, Neuquén, San Juan, Salta, Tucumán, La Pampa, Río Negro, Santiago del Estero and Tierra del Fuego.

"We share with Chile a border of over 5 thousand kilometres, so our bilateral relationship is imbued with unique value and complexity. Both peoples share a common destiny in which integration is a State policy," Foreign Minister Faurie stated at the opening of the Meeting.

"Our two countries have the willingness to become integrated: Chile as a member of the Pacific Alliance and Argentina as a member of Mercosur, and we are together in a process of strengthening ties through one of the most meaningful economic complementarity agreements at a regional level," he added.

After the opening, Faurie attended a meeting with his Chilean counterpart and the Ministers of Defence of both countries, known as the "2+2 Mechanism", a strategic dialogue framework setting an example for the region in terms of mechanisms for transparency and trust-building.

The Binational Meeting of Ministers was structured around six themes:

  1. Infrastructure, Border Facilitation and Connectivity for Integration. There were representatives for the Foreign Ministry and the Ministries of the Interior, Transport, Security and Modernization.

The main topics addressed were: Customs Facilitation, Integrated Border Checkpoint at the Cristo Redentor Border Crossing, Free movement of people, Migration Issues, Planning for Border Integration, Tunnels of the Cristo Redentor System, Shared Water Resources, Air Transport, Land Transport, Maritime Transport, Phytosanitary and Zoosanitary Cooperation.

  1. Economic Integration for Development.  There were representatives for the Foreign Ministry alongside the Ministries of Energy; Agro-industry; Tourism and Science, Technology and Productive Innovation.

 The main topics were: Trade-Economic Affairs, Electrical interconnection, Agriculture, Tourism, Science and Technology.

  1.  Sustainable Environment and Natural Resources Management. The Foreign Ministry, in coordination with the Ministries of Production and Environment and Sustainable Development, addressed the following topics:  Mining, Joint National Parks, Cooperation in Antarctic Matters, Bilateral Cooperation in the Analysis, Monitoring and Protection of Glaciers and Periglacial Environments, Bilateral Committee on Southern Marine Cooperation.
  2. Security and Defence for Integration. The Foreign Ministry, alongside the Ministries of Defence and Security and the Planning Secretariat for the Prevention of Drug Addiction and Action against Drug Trafficking (SEDRONAR), addressed the following issues: Antarctic Logistics, Cyberdefence, Southern Cross Force, Coordination and Cooperation Actions concerning cross-border crimes, such as illicit drug trafficking, organized crime, human trafficking, smuggling of cultural goods, and border-security related crimes, Cooperation in sports events security, Cooperation regarding the world drug problem and Cooperation in Emergencies and Disasters (forest fires, earthquakes, etc.)
  3. Cultural and Human Integration. The Ministries of Education, Culture, Labour, Justice and Human Rights and Social Development, as well as the Secretariat for Sports and the Institute for Women, alongside the Foreign Ministry, addressed the following issues: Cross-border crime, Knowledge sharing in addressing gender-based violence in all of its forms, Prevention of illicit trafficking in cultural heritage goods, broadening of the approval process for working skills assessment and certification models, Mutual recognition of professional and postgraduate diplomas and university degree diplomas.
  4. Cooperation for Human Development. The Foreign Ministry together with the Ministries of Health, Social Development, Modernization, Interior and Environment and the Federal Agency on Disabilities addressed the following issues: Housing and Habitat, Modernization of the State, Health, Cooperation, Issues related to childhood, the elderly and youths, Disabilities and the 2030 Agenda.

In addition, fifteen agreements on several issues were signed within the framework of the Binational Meeting of Ministers, including: Opening and Closing of the Cristo Redentor Border Crossing; Mutual recognition of tourist visas issued for nationals of the People’s Republic of China; Recognition of diplomas and certificates of primary/elementary, secondary/high-school and higher education, except for university degrees; Cooperation in marine biodiversity and climate change and Cooperation in the prevention, investigation and detection of human trafficking, among others.

This new Argentina-Chile Binational Meeting of Ministers was once again a testimony to the high-level ties between the two countries, with various issues of shared interest on a broad agenda. The Binational Meeting of Minister also set the road map on which the two countries must work so as to reach smart integration for the benefit of both peoples on each side of the Andes range.