The Hon Philip Dalidakis MP - travel report - Mexico and Chile, October 2016

Minister The Hon. Philip Dalidakis MP
Portfolio Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade
Countries visited Mexico and Chile
Date of travel 16 - 22 October 2016
No. of official travel days 7
Number of accompanying ministerial staff 1
Accompanied by spouse in an official capacity No
Funding for the overseas trip was paid by (list department/s or agency) Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
Air fares $37,738.48*
Accommodation $5,938.74*
Other expenses (includes surface travel and travel allowances) $2,690.66*
Travel cost for minister and staff $46,367.88*

*The above costs are not final and complete

Purpose of travel

The main purposes of my travel were to open the Victorian Government Business Office in Santiago on Wednesday 19 October 2016; secure direct flights between Melbourne and Santiago; and meet with a number of high level government representatives in Mexico and Chile. In addition, my travel provided me with the opportunity to strengthen relationships with key stakeholders and develop further trade and investment opportunities for Victoria.

The Victorian Government's Future Industries initiative has identified industry sectors that will drive significant jobs growth into the future. Collectively, these sectors have the potential to drive up to $70 billion in additional economic output by the year 2025 and create over 400,000 new jobs for Victorians.

My travel included meetings with stakeholders in the following priority sectors: new energy technologies; mining; infrastructure; food and fibre; professional services; and international education.

The Victorian Government made an election commitment to establish a new start-up entity (LaunchVic) that would support entrepreneurs to develop and grow businesses. My travel provided me with an opportunity to learn from how Mexico and Chile are supporting their entrepreneurs and identify potential new approaches for Victoria.

Key elements of my program included:

  • Hosting a reception event to announce the opening of the Victorian Government Business Office (VGBO) in Santiago
  • Building strategic relationships to assist in the effective operation of the VGBO
  • Attending high level government meetings to develop further trade and investment opportunities for Victoria
  • Facilitating round-table meetings with Victorian companies operating in-country to learn about their experiences
  • Participating in meetings with bodies supporting entrepreneurs.

Benefits of travel to the State of Victoria


I attended high level government meetings in Mexico City with: the Ambassador to Mexico; ProMéxico; Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT); and Bancomext. These meetings provided me with the opportunity to strengthen government-to-government relations and build Victoria's profile in Mexico. They also developed future initiatives and potential engagement between Victoria and Mexico.

My meeting with representatives of Grupo Bal discussed Victoria's knowledge and skills contribution to the global business of mining, particularly in the professional services and manufacturing sectors. In additional, we also discussed renewable energy, agricultural technology and supply chain opportunities between Mexico and Melbourne. There is mutual interest in a delegation of mining executives and government officials to visit Mexico to further collaborate on these opportunities.

My meeting with representatives of ProMexico discussed establishing a new ProMexico Melbourne office and additional support from the Government of Victoria. ProMexico confirmed that there are many opportunities for Mexican and Victorian companies to collaborate in various industry sectors including agricultural technology and R&D, water technology, mining, skills and education and training and innovative technology.

I met with representatives from Bancomext and discussed opportunities for Victorian companies to access capital for expansion into Mexico. Bancomext have prioritised tourism, aerospace, agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and renewable energy as opportunities for Victorian companies in Mexico.

I met with representatives of Start Up Mexico and Entrepreneur Mexico, and Instituto Nacional del Emprendedor (INADEM), which support aspiring entrepreneurs. This meeting provided me with information regarding Mexico's pitch as an innovation hub and we discussed prospects for collaboration between Mexico and Victoria. Opportunity for collaboration includes industry conference speakers, company exchange programs and diversity exchanges.

My meeting with Nissan Mexico provided me with an opportunity to discuss how the Victorian Government has approached stimulating innovation in the automotive sector and potential areas for greater collaboration.

I attended a number of meetings related to the food industry, including La Costeña, a leading canned food products company and with Mission Foods, one of the Gruma brands and one of Mexico's top 10 internationalised corporations. Mission Foods has operations in Victoria and currently employs around 400 people at its Epping site.

I attended a reception at the Ambassador's residence where I provided an address to promote Victoria as the leading Australian state for collaboration with Mexico. This event provided an opportunity to network with a range of stakeholders including leading Mexican companies, government officials and Australian companies in Mexico.

Finally, I hosted a roundtable meeting with a number of Victorian companies operating in Mexico, including WorleyParsons, Orica, NuFarm, QBE Insurance, SEEK and ANZMEX. They briefed me on their experiences and provided me information and insights which will benefit other Victorian companies that are considering setting up operations in Mexico.


Chile is developing frameworks to encourage more foreign investment and trade, with a view to stable and sustainable economic growth. Developments in the relationship, such as the Australia-Chile Free Trade Agreement (ACI-FTA) and the Double Tax Agreement (DTA) have significantly reduced barriers to trade and investment.

My meetings in Chile included leading government-to-government meetings with the Ambassador to Chile as well as a number of leading Chilean ministers. Some of these Ministers attended the Australia-Chile Economic Leadership Forum in Melbourne, 4-6 December 2016.

An important component of my travel was attending a reception at the Ambassador's residence and announcing the establishment of the Victorian Government Business Office (VGBO) in Latin America. This event was attended by 300+ stakeholders from the Chilean government, business and industry and provided invaluable opportunities for the new VGBO.

Victoria's new office in Santiago will see the state's first office in the Latin American region and will boost trade and investment. Chile was chosen to host the new VGBO as it is one of the strongest and most open economies in the region with the highest growth and global competitiveness.

It is important that the Victorian Government establishes and maintains strategic relationships in trade and investment to facilitate the effective establishment and operation of the new VGBO. To this end, I had meetings with the Minister of Economy; DIRECON - Dirección de Relaciones Económicas Internacionales de Chile; and InvestChile, the leading Chilean government body responsible for promoting Chile as a destination for foreign direct investment and trade.

I met with the Chilean Minister for Economy and the Head of ProChile. We discussed the use of technology in agriculture and healthcare. Minister Cespedes highlighted Chile's priority to incorporate innovation into transportation and infrastructure.

I met with a number of organisations supporting entrepreneurship in Chile. CORFO, a public-sector organisation that promotes entrepreneurship and innovation; and the Technical Cooperation Service (Sercotec) a private corporation under the Ministry of Economy that supports micro and small businesses. These meetings discussed opportunities for collaboration in entrepreneurship innovation, including research and development, between Chile and Victoria.

I was briefed on the work of CSIRO Chile Research Foundation, which promotes the applied research partnership between Chile and Australia and creates innovative solutions for the current and future challenges of the minerals industry in the following areas: GeoResouces and Mine Planning; Intelligent Mining Systems; Mineral Processing and Metallurgical Systems; and Water, Energy and Metallurgical Systems.

I attended a breakfast meeting with members of Auscham, a not-for-profit association for the promotion of commercial and investment activities and interchange between Chile and Australia. This meeting gave me the opportunity to provide an update on the new VBGO and Victorian State Government activities, including the growth of the cyber security cluster and the technology hub. This meeting provided me with an opportunity to learn first-hand how our companies are faring as well as the opportunities and challenges in-market.

I met with the Ministry of Energy and discussed bilateral trade and investment in this sector, including the opportunity for increased collaboration in renewable energy technology.

I attended a meeting with LATAM Airlines to facilitate the establishment of direct flights between Santiago and Melbourne.

Next steps / Follow up

A major outcome from my travel was the announcement of the establishment of a Victorian Government Business Office in Santiago. The Department of Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) and the VGBO San Francisco will work to finalise the staffing and location of the office.

My meeting with Grupo Bal identified mutual interest in supporting a delegation of Victorian mining executives and government officials to visit Mexico and further collaborate on opportunities. This will be followed up by DEDJTR, in conjunction with the VGBO in San Francisco, in the first instance, and then the VGBO Santiago.

There were a number of opportunities identified in my meetings with representatives of Start Up Mexico and Entrepreneur Mexico, Instituto Nacional del Emprendedor (INADEM). Opportunities for collaboration include industry conference speakers, company exchange programs and diversity exchanges. These will be followed up by my department and the VBGOs.
My meeting with LATAM Airlines resulted in the announcement that the airline will commence a direct service between Chile and Victoria in October 2017. The new service will boost tourism and trade, creating jobs for Victorians. I was especially pleased to make this announcement during my opening address at the Australia-Chile Economic Leadership Forum (ACELF) held in Melbourne from 4 – 6 December 2016 in the presence of the Chilean Minister for Mining and attendees of the ACELF, the Australian Ambassador to Chile, and the representative from CSIRO Chile, who I met with during my visit.

Page last updated: 10 February 2017