President Barack Obama hailed Tuesday the "extraordinarily strong" relationship between the United States and Chile.

Thanks to its "embrace of democracy and human rights and a market economy... Chile has become not only a leader in the hemisphere but also a leader in the world," Obama said after meeting in the Oval Office with Chilean President Sebastian Piñera.

The U.S. chief executive also praised Piñera's efforts within the Alliance of the Pacific, which comprises Chile, Mexico, Peru and Colombia.

"We have confirmed once again that the United States and Chile, we share the same values - our commitment with democracy, human rights, rule of law, our market-oriented economy, our commitment with world peace," Piñera said.

As for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a prospective trade pact involving Chile, the United States and nine other countries, Piñera said that Santiago is "fully committed" to achieving that accord and that he has faith in the necessary progress being achieved to make it possible "in the near future."

Obama and Piñera discussed bilateral cooperation in education, science and technology.

Together with the TPP, the other noteworthy topic of the meeting between the two was the new process by which Chile will enter the U.S. visa-exemption program known as Visa Waiver.

Obama also said he hopes to make a return visit to Chile, a country where he traveled in 2011 on a tour of Latin America that also included Brazil and El Salvador. EFE