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Chilean IT companies will have the same benefits as those granted to foreign IT firms when it comes to making investments, economy ministry Juan Andrés Fontaine said at an event sponsored by local IT industry association Acti.
Currently, Chilean promotion agency Corfo offers funds and tax reductions to encourage foreign investment, and it has now "decided to extend the benefits to Chilean IT companies that it currently gives to foreign enterprises," Fontaine said.
The minister said the state is committed to helping to develop the domestic ICT sector, with specific announcements such as the elimination of taxes on software imports; an update to existing data protection legislation to protect people's private data, so Chile can benefit from remote services; and encouragement of electronic signature use.
Also, the government has sent a law to congress to make credit applications more flexible for R&D investment, Fontaine said.
"We want to encourage innovation so we can increase our competitiveness by creating a fund to buy research equipment with state funding," Fontaine said.
To become a developed country, Chile needs to increase technology use in all sectors and become more competitive, according to the minister. "Competitiveness comes hand in hand with digitalization, and the government is working toward that."
Chile has undertaken a program to cut down bureaucracy involved in developing entrepreneurial projects. The program covers 50 specific areas including legislation, broadband, infrastructure and e-government.
PLAY BY THE RULES
According to Fontaine, innovation and the free market are the key elements for IT and national development, but those who do not play by the rules will be punished.
"Although we encourage innovation, it's a fact that those who break the rules of the game will be punished. Rules are equal for all, but those who break them will be punished," Fontaine said.
The statement was seen as addressing the financial scandal at Santiago bourse-listed, Chilean department store La Polar, where irregular credit card and management practices were uncovered in past weeks.