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HMA Fiona Clouder: ’UK and Chile – the value of friends’

Speech on the occasion of the celebration of the 92nd birthday of Her Majesty, The Queen and the visit of the Lord Mayor of the City of London to Santiago.

HM The Queen letter to Presiden Frei

Thank you letter from HM The Queen to President Eduardo Frei following her state visit to Chile in November 1968.

Welcome to the Residence for the Queen’s Birthday Party, to celebrate the 92nd birthday of Her Majesty The Queen. A lifetime of public service. We are also celebrating the 50th anniversary of the visit of Queen Elizabeth to Chile in 1968. And with yesterday’s news we are also celebrating the birth of the latest addition to the Royal Family - a son to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. And in just a few weeks we will be celebrating the wedding of HRH Prince Harry, and many of you will remember his visit to Chile.

In the blue room, we have on show a file profiling the visit of Her Majesty, The Queen. This is courtesy of Don Mariano Fontecilla de Santiago Concha, here today, who has given over 70 years of public service to Chile, including helping to organise The Queen’s visit. Many of the themes still resonate today, as you will also see from the pictures and displays of our recent work. The strength of the friendship between the UK and Chile; the parallels between our Navies; the importance of business; the importance of mining. After the visit the Queen sent a letter celebrating the friendship and bonds that unite our two nations, and wishing the Chilean people ever increasing prosperity.

Today it is also a great pleasure to welcome our guest of honour, the Rt Hon, Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman Charles Bowman who is here to discuss trade and investment and financial services – in other words, prosperity. He also visited ExpoMin, the region’s largest mining exhibition, where we have a strong UK presence. Working with the mining industry has been one of the top priorities during my tenure here in Chile. With some great examples of innovation – for example satellite technology to monitor tailings; science to improve extraction techniques; and opportunities to work together to improve process technology and efficiency.

The UK has world leading capability in design and innovation. Innovation is about changing our lives – hopefully for the better – doing things and thinking differently. The UK has great innovation in the financial sectors sector, which helps make London the global financial hub. For example, during the visit we have been talking about the expanding fin-tech sector and about green finance. Another example of innovation is BIM – Building Information Modelling – where the Embassy has facilitated a number of recent visits by UK experts to help develop best practice for future infrastructure projects.   Some examples of the best of UK’s design and innovation in cars – Aston Martin and McClaren and other vehicles are out in the courtyard; Triumph Motorcycles are in the salon (my father would be proud of me at the innovative display of motorbikes in one of the most beautiful UK residences in the world!). Earlier this year we saw the great innovation of Formula E, introduced here to Santiago – the cars all run on battery technology developed in the UK, and give a vision of the electric cars of the future. During this year we have also showcased innovation in bus technology – important for TransSantiago and future transport.

The UK’s recently published Industrial Strategy sets out grand challenges to put the UK at the forefront of the industries of the future, ensuring that the UK takes advantage of major global changes, improving people’s lives and the country’s productivity. These include growing the Artificial Intelligence and data driven economy; clean growth; the future of mobility; the ageing society. All areas where the UK has leading expertise. All areas where, the British Government is investing to a greater extent than ever before in the underpinning research through the new organisation – UKRI – UK Research and Innovation. All areas where we hope to develop further partnerships with Chile.

Science and Innovation has been an important priority during my period as Ambassador. Not, as many mistakenly think, because science and innovation is my original background, but because my time here has coincided with the advent of the Newton-Picarte Fund and a great opportunity to build links between UK and Chile. Over the last 4 years we have facilitated over 200 projects in areas from astronomy to zoology, and in regions from Antofagasta to Antarctica. We have also been pleased to be a partner in Chile’s Futures Congress and exchange ideas about science policy and innovation and the world of the future.

There is close and increasing bilateral collaboration between UK and Chile on Antarctic research and logistics support. Both countries are of course signatories to the Antarctic Treaty system, which preserves Antarctica for peaceful use for science and the benefit of mankind, in perpetuity. Collaboration has been facilitated by the Memorandum of Understanding signed between BAS (British Antarctic Survey) and INACH (its Chilean equivalent) during the visit of President Piñera to London in 2012; and the Joint Statement, a deliverable from President Bachelet’s visit to London in 2016, endorsed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in Jan 2017. The work is important not just to understand Antarctica in its own right, but also the importance of Antarctica for climate change and the world’s environment.

We have been pleased to work with Chile in recent years on many environmental and clean energy issues; including on ocean issues and marine protected areas. Chile has shown tremendous leadership in illustrating the importance of the ocean, which covers 70% of our planet.The UK, including through its Overseas Territories is committed to protecting 4 million square kilometres of ocean by 2020. The sustainable development and protection of ‘Our Ocean’ is vital; but it is also an opportunity and one where I hope we can continue to work with Chile, on maritime, shipping and environmental issues.

The sea is something that unites us all and maritime links between the UK and Chile go back centuries. I would particularly link to thank the Armada de Chile for their great help and support during my time here. Some of the many events include:

  • in 2014 and 2015 we remembered those lost from both Britain and Germany in World War I at the Battle of Coronel and its aftermath.
  • in 2016, we paid tribute to the rescue of Shackleton’s men from Antarctica, in 1916, by Piloto Pardo of the Armada de Chile. I
  • in 2018 we are joining the celebrations of the bicentenary of the Armada de Chile, including the arrival of one of its founders – Lord Cochrane, the British Admiral, whose portrait you can see in the hall.

Our close links continue to this day, with shared training, equipment and exercises. We are looking forward to further showcasing UK naval and maritime technology at ExpoNaval later in the year.

UK expertise and innovation in defence and security was also on display at FIDAE just a few weeks ago, the region’s largest air show. We also celebrated 100 years of the RAF. The service was launched in the infancy of aviation, with innovation central to the delivery of air and space power through the ages. Our discussions around FIDAE included cybersecurity, one of the greatest and growing challenges we face in the world.

Tackling challenges whether they be about security, about the environment, or about developing our future prosperity are where friends can work together, to make the world a better place. You will see from the Command of Her Majesty the Queen, on display in the hall, that as Ambassador, I am charged with “promoting relations of friendship and good understanding…” And in that endeavour I would like to thank my wonderful Embassy team and also colleagues in the Anglo-Chilean Chamber of Commerce and the British Council, for their support, hard work and innovation in developing links and partnerships between the UK and Chile. I would also like to thank my diplomatic colleagues from other countries with whom we have worked in great ‘esprit de corps’.

Thank you too to our sponsors and all those who have helped with today’s event. Not least thank you for the beautiful music from the Orquestra Alimapu, talented young people from Valparaiso, who have helped those affected by Chile’s terrible fires, and who I first heard at the Museo Maritimo last year. I witnessed the devastation of the fires in Valparaiso when I first arrived here. Last year it was heartbreaking to see the fires across the country, but also inspiring to see the bravery of the firemen, not least the 14th Fire Company here in Santiago, and the 11th George Garland in Valparaiso. The Embassy has close links with both companies, who have also been involved in the recent Royal visits of both HRH Prince Harry, and HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex. I am sure many of us will be thinking of those visits during the forthcoming Royal Wedding.

My connections with Chile go back much longer than just my time here as Ambassador. For 7 years I have been involved with bilateral relations, including Chile Day in London to promote investment in both directions. It was originally through Chile Day that I met many of you, long before I came to this beautiful country, and you welcomed me in friendship.   Since then we have had many high level visits in both directions. Most recently, Sir Alan Duncan, Foreign Office Minister for the Americas, came to Chile for the inauguration of President Piñera. This was followed by Mark Menzies MP, the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy, here for the second time in 6 months, to take forward wider discussions on business and economic issues and also to attend FIDAE, which included a large defence and security delegation.

The London Metals Exchange and many British companies were here two weeks ago for the World Copper Conference. Last week we had a visit by Liz Truss, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, including comparing approaches between UK and Chile on good economic governance, pensions, health care and entrepreneurship. With the Lord Mayor, we are planning the next Chile Day in London to further build financial links and open up new partnerships between our two countries.

Someone here said to me “Better to have friends than money.” Friendship is priceless – to be valued above all else. The friendship between UK and Chile is important and offers great promise and opportunity. But most of all I would like to say thank you to all of you here, who have helped me, guided me and supported me. And for your friendship.

Fiona Clouder Her Majesty’s Ambassador 24 April 2018

Published 30 April 2018