Bordering on Success: Chile, Uruguay Courting Foreign Investors

Patrick Archer competitiveness, foreign investment, uruguay

2011 will be a critical presidential election year in Argentina and aspiring candidates would do well to look at neighboring Chile and Uruguay for lessons in economic transformation. Both countries have elected presidents who ran on platforms prioritizing pro-business, foreign investment solutions over government programs and additional bureaucracy.

Uruguay’s new president, Jose Mujica, takes office in March and “begins an international campaign for enticing investors to the country,” according to UPI. “Mujica said Uruguay needs more investment to create a greater number of better jobs and his government would ensure the right conditions are created for investors to be drawn to the Uruguayan economy. He realized the economy could not be improved only with legislation and that investors needed to have faith in Uruguay’s economic future.”

And if Uruguay stands as the emerging model, Chile on the opposite border is the veteran shining star with a solid, twenty-year track record of attracting foreign investment across industries. Building on that success, Investor’s Business Daily says the election of pro-free market Sebastian Pinera is a symbol “that an already prospering country (is) preparing to soar.”

What has been Chile’s recipe for success? It’s really quite simple says IBD: “Instead of blaming the gringos and waging class warfare in Che Guevara T-shirts, they balanced their budget and respected private property. Instead of squandering a $19 billion state windfall from soaring copper prices, they managed it. They continued free-market privatization of pensions without reflexively opposing its origins, and signed free trade pacts with any nation that asked.”

If it wants to remain relevant, much less competitive, in the global economy, Argentina had better get its act together and do the same.  (Full IBD editorial)