Chile flag Chile: Economic and Political Overview

Foreign trade figures of Chile

Foreign Trade in Figures

Chile has a very open economy, highly dependent on international trade, which represented 57.8% of the country's GDP in 2020 (World Bank). The country mainly exports copper (which accounts for 51.8% of exports), fish fillets and other fish meat (3.5%), chemical wood pulp (2.8%); apricots, cherries, and peaches (2.6%), and wine (2.5%). Imports involve petroleum oils (8.9%), motor cars and other vehicles (5.4%), electrical apparatus for line telephony (4%), petroleum gas (2.4%), and automatic data processing machines(2.2%). According to IMF Foreign Trade Forecasts, the volume of exports of goods and services decreased by 0.1% in 2021 and is expected to increase by 5.1% in 2022 and 3.4% in 2023, while the volume of imports of goods and services increased by 30.8% in 2021 and is expected to reach 2.5% in 2022 and 2.4% in 2023.

Chile's top three exporting partners are China, the United States and Japan while its main importers are China, the United States and Brazil. Chile has signed Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with several important economies, notably the European Union, the United States, China and South Korea and is a member of the Pacific Alliance since 2012 with Mexico, Colombia and Peru. Its comparative economic advantages (revenue from mining, competitive and counter-seasonal agriculture sector) have given it access to the large markets of North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific (and recently to other South American countries, especially Brazil). Chile also signed a trade continuity agreement with the UK, ensuring continued trade relations. Challenges to Chilean trade include replacing the failed Union of South American Nations with ProSur to strengthen economic integration and trade relationships in the region (Buenos Aires Times). Additionally, with the world’s largest known copper reserves, Chile is a commodity-based, export-driven economy, which heightened Chile's exposure to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, since its economic performance is interlaced with patterns of global demand.

Chile's trade balance remains structurally positive, and attained USD 18,369 million in 2020, a significant increase from the previous year, mainly due to higher metal prices, which boosted export revenues and stood out the rebound in imports. Imports of goods and services decreased 12.7% in 2020, while exports decreased by 1% (World Bank). According to WTO data, in 2020, Chile exported 73,4 million USD worth of goods, while its imports stood at 59,2 million USD. As with regards to imports and exports of services in the same year, those amounted to 11,3 million USD and 6,3 million USD respectively.

 
Foreign Trade Values 20162017201820192020
Imports of Goods (million USD) 58,82565,25874,68569,88859,226
Exports of Goods (million USD) 59,91768,85974,70868,76373,485
Imports of Services (million USD) 13,07513,15714,60914,36211,316
Exports of Services (million USD) 9,62510,0989,9409,2596,318

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20162017201820192020
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 55.755.757.356.957.8
Trade Balance (million USD) 4,8647,3514,2112,95318,369
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 1,5503,527-458-2,15013,371
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 0.94.68.1-2.4-12.7
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 0.5-1.55.3-2.6-1.0
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 27.527.228.828.926.3
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 28.128.428.528.031.5

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20212022 (e)2023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) -0.25.13.52.82.7
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 30.92.62.52.02.4

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
Chile is a member of the following international economic organisations: Latin American Integration Association (ALADI), IMF, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), G-15, G-77, ICC, Latin American and the Caribbean Economic System, OECD, Mercosur (associate), among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates Chile click here. International organisation membership of Chile is also outlined here.
Free Trade Agreements
The complete and up-to-date list of Free Trade Agreements signed by Chile can be consulted here.
 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2020
China 38.9%
United States 13.2%
Japan 8.7%
South Korea 5.6%
Brazil 4.2%
See More Countries 29.4%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2020
China 27.8%
United States 17.8%
Brazil 7.3%
Argentina 5.6%
Germany 3.9%
See More Countries 37.6%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

69.7 bn USD of products exported in 2019
Copper ores and concentratesCopper ores and concentrates 26.5%
Copper, refined, and copper alloys, unwrought ...Copper, refined, and copper alloys, unwrought (excl. copper alloys of heading 7405) 19.2%
Fish fillets and other fish meat, whether or not...Fish fillets and other fish meat, whether or not minced, fresh, chilled or frozen 3.9%
Chemical wood pulp, soda or sulphate (excl....Chemical wood pulp, soda or sulphate (excl. dissolving grades) 3.9%
Wine of fresh grapes, incl. fortified wines; grape...Wine of fresh grapes, incl. fortified wines; grape must, partly fermented and of an actual alcoholic strength of > 0,5% vol or grape must with added alcohol of an actual alcoholic strength of > 0,5% vol 2.8%
See More Products 43.6%
69.6 bn USD of products imported in 2019
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 6.4%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 5.9%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 5.4%
Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line...Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line telegraphy, incl. line telephone sets with cordless handsets and telecommunication apparatus for carrier-current line systems or for digital line systems; videophones; parts thereof 3.6%
Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl....Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl. chassis with engine and cab 3.1%
See More Products 75.5%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows.

 

Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2021. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

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Latest Update: June 2022