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Trade Profile

In this page: Foreign Trade in Figures | Trade Compliance | Standards


Foreign Trade in Figures

Chile has a very open economy, highly dependent on international trade, which represents 56% of the country's GDP (WTO, 2016). Chile has signed Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with several important economies, notably the European Union, the United States, China and South Korea. 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 also to other South American countries, especially Brazil).

Chile's top three trading partners are China, the United States and Japan. The country mainly exports copper (50% of its exports), fruits and fish products (which record the highest increase). Chile's main suppliers are the United States, China and Brazil. Imports involve mainly fuels, minerals and oil, machinery, vehicles, electric equipment and electronics. Services account for 13% of exports and 17% of imports.

Chile's trade balance remains structurally positive, but the surplus has been impacted by the drop in prices of copper and the slowing down of the Chinese economy. However, thanks to the weak domestic demand, the peso depreciation and plunging oil prices, Chile’s trade balance is expected to remain positive in 2017.

Foreign Trade Indicators 20122013201420152016
Imports of Goods (million USD) 80,07379,24972,15963,03958,825
Exports of Goods (million USD) 77,79176,47775,67563,36259,917
Imports of Services (million USD) 15,13115,85514,72413,44413,075
Exports of Services (million USD) 12,38712,45210,9679,7379,625
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 5.22.0-6.6-2.7-1.6
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 34.132.832.129.827.6
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP)
Trade Balance (million USD) 2,6082,0156,5233,4655,256
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 68.365.065.159.556.1

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) - 2017; World Bank - 2017


Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
China 28.5%
United States 14.1%
Japan 8.6%
South Korea 6.9%
Brazil 4.9%
Netherlands 2.7%
Peru 2.5%
India 2.3%
Spain 2.3%
Mexico 2.0%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
China 24.1%
United States 17.4%
Brazil 8.0%
Argentina 4.2%
Germany 3.8%
Mexico 3.4%
Japan 3.4%
France 3.2%
South Korea 3.0%
Spain 2.6%

Source: Comtrade, 2017


Main Products

59.9 bn USD of products exported in 2016
Copper, refined, and copper alloys, unwrought (excl. copper alloys of heading 7405) 21.1%
Copper ores and concentrates 20.9%
Chemical wood pulp, soda or sulphate (excl. dissolving grades) 4.0%
Fish fillets and other fish meat, whether or not minced, fresh, chilled or frozen 3.6%
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 3.1%
Copper, unrefined; copper anodes for electrolytic refining 3.0%
Grapes, fresh or dried 2.5%
Frozen fish (excl. fish fillets and other fish meat of heading 0304) 2.2%
Apricots, cherries, peaches incl. nectarines, plums and sloes, fresh 1.8%
Fresh strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, back, white or redcurrants, gooseberries and other edible fruits (excl. nuts, bananas, dates, figs, pineapples, avocadoes, guavas, mangoes, mangosteens, papaws papayas, citrus fruit, grapes, melons, apples, pears, quinces, apricots, cherries, peaches, plums and sloes) 1.5%
58.8 bn USD of products imported in 2016
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) 5.6%
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 5.5%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 3.9%
Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl. chassis with engine and cab 3.0%
Transmission apparatus for radio-telephony, radio-telegraphy, radio-broadcasting or television, whether or not incorporating reception apparatus or sound recording or reproducing apparatus; television cameras; still image video cameras and other video camera recorders; digital cameras 3.0%
Automatic data processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, n.e.s. 2.1%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 2.0%
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 1.6%
Powered aircraft e.g. helicopters and aeroplanes; spacecraft, incl. satellites, and suborbital and spacecraft launch vehicles 1.6%
Meat of bovine animals, fresh or chilled 1.4%

Source: Comtrade, 2017


Main Services

31.3 bn USD of services exported in 2014
Other business services
Computer and information services
Insurance services
Communications services
Royalties and license fees
Cultural and recreational services
41.1 bn USD of services imported in 2014
Other business services
Royalties and license fees
Insurance services
Computer and information services
Communications services
Cultural and recreational services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data


Exchange Rate System

Local Currency
Chilean Peso (CLP)
Exchange Rate Regime
Exchange regulations allow free convertibility of currencies as well as the right to transfer (DLF N°600, procedure Chapter 14 and 19).
Level of Currency Instability
There is no specific regulation for foreign currency exchange.
Monetary Indicators 20122013201420152016
Chilean Peso (CLP) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 486.47495.27570.35654.12676.96

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.


Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
Member of OECD
Party to the Kyoto Protocol
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer
Main International Economic Cooperation
Chile is a member of several regional and international organisations. The country is a member of the UN, WTO, the OAS (Organisation of American States), ALADI (Latin American Integration Assocation) and SELA (Latin American Economic System). Since 2010, Chile is a member of the OECD. On the other hand, it withdrew from the Andean Pact in 1976. With Peru, Chile is the only South American member country of APEC (Forum for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation). Since the beginning of the 1990s, Chile has conducted a policy of regional trade agreements. Thus, foreign companies that set up a business in Chile to develop industrial production can benefit from privileged access to the region's markets. 'Economic complementarities' agreements have been signed within the framework of the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI) with Bolivia (1993), Peru (1998), Colombia (1993), Ecuador (1994) and Venezuela (1993). Within the framework of the ALADI, Chile signed the MERCOSUR, an association agreement in force since 1996, aiming to establish a gradually free trade area starting in 2006. However, because of the economic situation of some neighbours, Chile's desire to maintain the level of its external Customs tariff (quite a lot lower than that of Mercosur) and  to keep the autonomy of its foreign trade policy, this project has been postponed.

In 1999, a free trade agreement was signed with Central America (El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica and Guatemala). The free trade treaty between Chile and EFTA (Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein) came into force on 1 December 2004. Chile signed a trade agreement with the United States in 2004. This agreement has stimulated trade significantly, without having any noteworthy influence on FDI flows. The agreement of association between the EU and Chile, called the 'fourth generation' because of its wide field of application (political, economic, commercial and cooperation chapters), is the most ambitious foreign trade agreement concluded up to now, as it includes commitments to liberalise services, specifically financial services, and measures concerning investment (pre-establishment). Other trade agreements include those with South Korea (2004), China (2006), Canada (1997) and Mexico (1998). In September 2007, a free trade treaty came into force with Japan (Chile's third top trade partner) and another free trade treaty between Chile and Australia came into force in March 2009. Chile signed a trade agreement with 21 other countries in the São Paulo Round of the Global System of Trade Preferences among Developing Countries (GSTP).

Party of the ATA Convention on Temporary Admissions and Use of the Carnets

As a Reminder, the ATA is a System Allowing the Free Movement of Goods Across Frontiers and Their Temporary Admission Into a Customs Territory With Relief From Duties and Taxes. The Goods Are Covered By a Single Document Known as the ATA Carnet That is Secured By an International Guarantee System.
Look Up the Other Member Countries And Read the Web Pages of the World Customs Organization Devoted to the ATA Carnet.
Party of the TIR Convention

As a Reminder, the TIR Convention and its Transit Regime Contribute to the Facilitation of International Transport, Especially International Road Transport, Not Only in Europe and the Middle East, But Also in Other Parts of the World, Such as Africa and Latin America.
The UNCTAD Website Allows You to Read the TIR Convention, See the List of Member Countries And to Find Further Information.
Accompanying Documents For Imports
Goods shipped into Chile must be accompanied by the following documents:

> The Single Administrative Document (SAD)

> The commercial invoice:
It must be established in five copies, preferably in Spanish, and must contain the origin and provenance of the goods.

> A phytosanitary certificate
This certificate is required for fruit, vegetables, seeds and other plants; it is issued by the regional Department of Plant Protection .

> A health certificate
Required for meat and issued by the departmental direction of veterinary services.

> Form EUR1
In order to benefit from the preferential tariff on imports from the European Union.

> Certificate of freedom from dioxin contamination
Required for poultry, eggs and pork; it is issued by the departmental veterinary services.

> Certificate of free sale for cosmetics
Established by the Federation of perfume industries.

> Transport documents and a packing list
Free Zones
Chile has two free-trade zones:  the port of Iquique in the north of the country (Region I) and the southern city of Punta Arenas (Region XII). Merchants and manufacturers in these zones are exempt from income tax, VAT and customs duties. Companies can re-export goods tax-free, but they are subject to VAT and import duties when the goods leave the zone in order to be used or sold in the rest of Chile.

The same exemptions apply to manufacturers operating in the
Chacalluta and Las Americas industrial parks in Arica. Mining, fisheries and financial services operations are not eligible for concessions in the free-trade zone.
For Further Information
Chilean Customs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Economic Service
Ministry of Economy
National Chamber of Commerce
Santiago Chamber of Commerce
Non Tariff Barriers
The Chilean Customs Administration has reserved the right to apply minimum prices to increase the value of imports. This is used  specifically in the cases of certain agricultural products, such as wheat, edible oils and sugar. However, some products are more watched over than others, especially pharmaceuticals or farm products. These products are subject to an authorisation from the Ministry of Agriculture. Some very strict standards prevent the import of beef. The import of second-hand vehicles is forbidden, with the exception of ambulances, armoured vehicles and mobile homes. Imported goods that are considered inconsistent with Chilean 'morals, public health, national security or the environment' require special authorisation to enter Chile. These include certain chemicals/processes and some media products that face review and possible censorship. Firearms can be imported, but they require a special permit from a military authority in Chile. Controls for importing firearms are becoming more stringent.
Sectors or Products For Which Commercial Disagreements Have Been Registered With the WTO
Alcoholic beverages, agricultural products, sugar, edible oils, dairy products, flour. For more details see the WTO website.
Assessment of Commercial Policy
Pages of WTO dedicated to Chile
Barriers to exchanges, inventoried by the United States
Barriers to exchanges, inventoried by the EU
Sanitary and phytosanitary barriers, inventoried by the EU

Learn more about How to Export to Chile on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.



National Standards Organisations
National Standards Committee Chile
Integration in the International Standards Network
The National Standards Committee (INN) is a member of the International Organization of Standardization (ISO), International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the Pan American Standards Commission (COPANT).
Obligation to Use Standards
In most sectors of the Chilean economy, standards are not mandatory. However, certain imported goods such as those connected to industrial security, to construction and construction materials and electricity and gas industry must comply with specific requirements set by the supervisory body.
Classification of Standards
Chilean Standards (NCh).
Assessment of the System of Standardization
Chilean standards have developed in parallel to the expansion of export industries and are easily understood because they are modelled on international standards.
They are important to consumers especially in  sectors such as electricity, earthquake-resistant construction, etc..
Online Consultation of Standards
A list of standards in use in Chile is available on the site of the National Standards Institute.
Certification Organisations
National Standards Committee Chile
Associations of Standards Users
List of consumer associations on the Ministry of Economy website.


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Last Updates: December 2017