By Ramiro Fuente.


Spain's King Juan Carlos on Tuesday called on Spanish business leaders to take advantage of opportunities in renewable energy and tourism in Chile, and he praised the South American country for its legal security, compared with those "where arbitrariness reigns."

The monarch renewed Spain's support for political and economic cooperation with Chile in the toast he gave before the luncheon offered in his honor at La Moneda palace by President Sebastian Piñera, an event rounding out the agenda of his working visit to Santiago, a basically economically-oriented trip, on which the king was accompanied by top executives from 20 Spanish firms.

In his welcoming remarks, Piñera emphasized that Chile appreciates and receives "with open arms" Spanish investment, guarantees businessmen that it is a country that fulfills its commitments, respects the laws and the rule of law and that it wants to offer itself to Spain as a platform for other economic projects in Latin America.

The Chilean president, who welcomed Juan Carlos as a "great friend of Chile," expressed his satisfaction at seeing how he is recovering from his hip operation and said he trusted that that recovery would be "contagious" and that Spain - in turn - would recover its economic health.

"Chile has understood very well that saving comes to countries that respect legal security and flees from those where arbitrariness reigns," the king told Piñera and some 40 guests from both nations, most of them businessmen.

The Spanish monarch devoted a significant portion of his address to praising Chile's economic model.

Chile respects "private property, business freedom, the independence from regulators and transparency in procedures," said the king before emphasizing that the country is at the forefront of Latin America in "economic freedom and ease of doing business."

"It's not by chance that more than 1,000 Spanish companies have chosen Chile for their investment projects," the king said, citing renewable energy and tourism as sectors offering new opportunities now.

There, just as in banking, insurance, telecommunications, energy, infrastructure and agro-industry, "brand Spain is a seal of quality," King Juan Carlos said. EFE