A cooperation agreement on scientific and technological research between the EU and Chile was signed yesterday in Brussels. The agreement, which sees Chile become a partner under the Sixth Framework programme, will allow for joint research projects and the exchange of expertise between the two parties. Initial joint initiatives will focus on the genome, biotechnology and health, information technology, food safety, sustainable growth and climate change. Commissioner for Research, Philippe Busquin, representing the EU, said of the agreement 'International cooperation helps provide joint solutions to global problems. The aim of the EU's cooperation with Chile is to support the internationalisation of the Chilean economy by helping it become knowledge-based.' Soledad Alvear, Chilean Minister of Foreign Affairs, said that the agreement reflected her country's effort to build a 'solid scientific and technological community capable of dialogue with its peers worldwide.' The agreement's ultimate aims are to support each other's economic interests, to reduce poverty and to achieve sustainable development. Under the Fifth Framework programme the Commission has funded 16 projects in which Chile is involved, totalling 12 million euro. This figure is set to rise significantly with the new agreement. According to Commissioner Busquin 'The scope for cooperation is well above what exists at the moment.'