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May 15, 2009 (Vol. 29, No. 10)

Natural Resources Buoy Chilean Biotech

Country’s Riches Could Be Used to Attract Much-Needed Capital and Technology

  • Building a Future

    Chile has many positive attributes—it is rich in resources, has a democratic and competent government, a good educational system, and a core of quality research.  In addition, its government, which is committed to technological innovation as an engine for economic development, has the support of the Interamerican Development Bank and the World Bank.

    Chilean biotech observers, however, are concerned about the country’s limited technological capacity. Further development requires expanded basic research, a significant increase in the relatively small number of scientists that are capable of leading teams at a global level, and the building of a robust infrastructure that can lead to the successful commercialization of new processes and products. 

    Government policy has placed a priority on technologies directed toward the principal export industries. And yet a sustainable development strategy must be placed in a global context. How will new products and technologies open up new markets?  What factors would make Chile attractive for potential foreign partners? And, how can Chile attract foreign partners with capital, technology, and managerial know-how?

    The newly industrializing countries of Asia are rich in technology and capital but are generally lacking in natural resources, making them naturally complementary to Latin American countries such as Chile.  For both U.S. and Asian countries, Chile potentially represents an entry point into the future developing markets of Latin America.

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