updated 9/22/2010 6:16:15 AM ET 2010-09-22T10:16:15

SANTIAGO, Chile and NEW YORK, Sept. 21, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Chile and its capital city and business hub, Santiago, were once again ranked as leading locations in Latin America in several recent surveys. In the new Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011 from the World Economic Forum, Chile was the highest ranked Latin American country based on a composite ranking of 12 "pillars" of competitiveness, including institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labour market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication and innovation. In Newsweek's Aug. 23 issue , Chile was ranked the best country in Latin America based on a suite of factors including education, health, quality of life, economic dynamism and political environment.

"U.S. companies feel at home in Chile. We are one of the most business-friendly countries in Latin America," stated Nicolo Gligo, Executive Director of the Chilean Economic Development Agency (CORFO) in the U.S. "Chile has one of the freest economies in the world with a private sector that is the engine of the economy. In Chile, the infrastructure and institutions operate effectively, transparency is the rule and there are virtually no restrictions on foreign investment.  And when you factor in the quality of life in Chile, there is no comparison."

These new rankings follow on the heels of AméricaEconomía Magazine's recent " Best Cities in which to do Business in Latin America " list, on which Santiago was again ranked as the leading Latin American city for doing business in the region. The only city to rank more highly than Santiago on the AméricaEconomía list was Miami in the U.S.A. For the city survey, AméricaEconomía reviewed 48 cities' primary investment attributes based on several factors including economic dynamism, business and executive services, infrastructure and environmental sustainability. Earlier this year, the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Chile as having the best business environment in Latin America.  In addition, the report forecasted further improvement by the year 2014, driven by the country's effective policies, labor market and infrastructure.

Chile is quickly becoming the innovation hub of Latin America and is taking proactive steps to ensure that it remains an attractive country for foreign investors and entrepreneurs interested in developing their businesses within its borders. Recently, the Chilean Economic Development Agency (CORFO) built on its existing slate of business incentives by launching the Start-Up Chile program, which offers entrepreneurs with high-growth business plans funding and logistical assistance, to support the launch and initial stages of their operations. The Start-Up Chile incentives, coupled with the many other support initiatives of the Chilean government, further enhance Chile's global competitiveness and complement its position as the ideal location for doing business in Latin America.

About CORFO

CORFO, the Chilean Economic Development Agency, was founded by the Chilean government in 1939 and aims to foster economic growth by encouraging investment, innovation, business and cluster development. To date, CORFO has aided more than 57,000 businesses and assisted in 74,000 projects with a goal of encouraging the development of numerous industries throughout Chile. CORFO contributes an annual average of more than $30 million to SMEs programs and more than $38 million to high technology programs alone. For more information, please visit www.corfo.cl .

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