The Ministers of Economy, Tourism and Finance presented their legislative goals to their respective committees this week. The objectives covered a broad spectrum of topics, highlighting the proposals to improve the Chilean economic situation, such as the simplification of bureaucratic procedures and the promotion of foreign investment. The balance of power among parties in the committees will be important to carry out the proposals. In that sense, though the Chile Vamos coalition is the first minority in both chambers, it will need to negotiate with independent parties or with the opposition. The Economy Committee will have an opposition chairman and the Treasury Committee will be chaired by the centrist PDC.
The Finance Committee was visited by Minister Felipe Larraín on March 21st. He explained that his administration will focus on stabilizing the external debt by reducing government spending. He raised the goal of reducing structural spending by almost US$ 1.1 billion within six years. Finally, he assured that the government will continue with the legislative agenda promoted by the outgoing government, which focused on the modernization of banking legislation.
The party balance in this committee is encouraging for Chile Vamos, with six legislators for the ruling coalition. On the other hand, the opposition parties will have four members: the PDC will have two legislators and the presidency, whereas the other member remains for an independent bloc. The outlook in this committee is favorable to the government: if it manages to negotiate with the PDC, it can obtain favorable rulings and thus manage the agenda.
The Minister of Economy, José Ramon Valente, appeared before the Committee of Economy. His main objective will be to recover investment growth, positioning Chile as an attractive country for international capital flows. To do this, he will create the Office of Large Projects, an agency that will seek to streamline the bureaucratic procedures of those companies that promote large investment projects. On the other hand, he will set a new Office of Productivity and Competitiveness, which will seek to streamline the bureaucratic procedures that the private sector must complete before starting its productive investments.
The balance of power in this committee will not be as favorable to the ruling party: the opposition as a bloc will have more power, since it will have five legislators (three for Nueva Mayoría and two for Frente Amplio) and the presidency will be for Alexis Sepulveda Soto (PRSD). The ruling party will have six legislators, while the PDC and the independents will have one legislator each. Therefore, the government will have to negotiate with the opposition blocs or the independents to advance their legislation. The fact that the presidency is in opposition hands will also present difficulties for the ruling party, as it will not be able to manage the committee’s agenda.