Chile’s president, Sebastian Pinera, has said that Spanish investments “will be respected” in the South American country.
The president made the comments on Tuesday in Santiago as Spain’s King Juan Carlos visited the country as part of his tour of Latin America, hunting for investment opportunities for Spanish business.
This is the Kings first official trip since he fell and broke a hip whilst elephant-hunting in April.
Pinera made the comments in an attempt to reassure Spanish investors who are nervous following Argentina’s expropriation of YPF, the country’s largest energy company, from Spanish energy giant Repsol.
The king’s trip is seen by some as an attempt to recover some of the respect he lost after his elephant hunting trip caused outrage in a country suffering from a deep economic crisis and record unemployment.
The 74-year-old monarch said Spain is going through one of the worst moment of the economic crisis but he insisted that the measures taken by Rajoy’s government are working and the country is starting to show signs of recovery.
“We’re likely facing the toughest moment of the crisis and undergoing the most painful treatment so far,” he said in a news conference at Chile’s presidential palace.
“Things are beginning to improve, public accounts are in much better shape than a year ago, the trade balance is healthier and we’re starting to recover lost competitively,” he added.
So far this year Spain has lost out to Argentina and Bolivia. Argentina’s government expropriated Repsols 51% share in YPF, Argentina’s largest energy company. Bolivia seized control of its main power grid from Spanish owned company Red Electrica Corporacion SA.