By Austin Becker, Intern, Governor’s Office of Economic Development
His Excellency Arturo Fermandois, Chilean Ambassador to the United States, and his wife Mrs. Carolina Fermandois, toured the state of Utah last month as they participated in the Ambassadorial Lecture Series Program at Brigham Young University, where they were warmly welcomed by a full audience of students and faculty. Mr. and Mrs. Fermandois were also given the opportunity, during their three-day visit, to learn much about the history and culture of Utah as they traveled to noteworthy sites including the State Capitol, the LDS Humanitarian Center, the Family History Library and Temple Square. The ambassador’s visit also highlighted the numerous commercial interests and ties between Utah and Chile as he met with local government and business leaders at events hosted by the Salt Lake Chamber, World Trade Center Utah and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, International Trade and Diplomacy Office.
At a meeting at the State Capitol on Thursday, Lieutenant Governor Bell shared his appreciation of Chile’s business friendly policies with Ambassador Fermandois. Lt. Governor Bell also applauded the country for its strong economic growth over the past decades and reaffirmed Utah’s commitment to promote commerce, tourism and ever stronger diplomatic ties with Chile.
Following the successful negotiation of a free trade agreement between the USA and Chile in 2003, Utah exports to the Latin American country have more than tripled reaching approximately $31 million in 2010. Economic commonalities between the two include dynamic mining and tourism industries in addition to being, respectively, the Northern and Southern hemisphere’s premiere winter sports destinations. Throughout his visit, the Ambassador voiced his hopes for even greater commerce and tourism between Utah and Chile.
To top off the trip, Snowbird Resort and the International Trade and Diplomacy Office invited Mr. and Mrs. Fermandois to finish their trip with a day of skiing. After what he described as “the best morning of skiing in my life,” the ambassador and his wife wished Utah a warm goodbye over dinner with Utah government, business and non-profit leaders.
Although Ambassador Fermandois is nearing the end of the service in the United States this year, they are looking forward to seeing a number of Utah businesses in Chile this summer as the Governor’s Office of Economic Development conducts a trade mission to Santiago, Chile the second week of April. The trade mission will include one-on-one meetings between Utah businesses and potential Chilean partners and will coincide with South America’s largest mining industry trade show, EXPOMIN 2012.