Overall, the U.S. enjoys a $3.0 billion trade surplus with Chile, exporting $13.6 billion in goods to Chile, while imports to the U.S. from Chile totaled US$10.5 billion in 2017. In addition to the US$13.6 billion in goods, the U.S. exported US$4.3 billion in services to Chile in 2016 (most recent year with data available). Overall, the U.S. is Chile’s #2 trading partner after China.
While GDP growth for much of the last 30 years has averaged approximately 5% per year, the Chilean economy slowed in recent years, with average annual GDP growth hovering between 1.5-2.0% from 2014-2017.
Chile continues to be a strong trading partner and export market for U.S. companies, largely due to its open market policies, zero tariffs, stable democratic government, solid business practices, and low corruption.
Chile has successfully negotiated Free Trade Agreements with 62 countries around the world, as such, competition is fierce and Chile has given its citizens unprecedented access to the world’s products and services. This offers a unique opportunity for U.S. exporters interested in expanding their businesses in arguably the most open and stable market in Latin America.
According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018, Chile maintained its ranking from the previous year as best in Latin America and 33rd in the world for competitiveness.
According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), global foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows to Chile in 2017 totaled just $6.7 billion – a sharp decline from $19.5 billion in 2015. Despite this slowed investment into Chile, the country maintains a total FDI stock in excess of its GDP, topping $275 billion in 2017. United States Government statistics report a total FDI stock from the U.S. in Chile of $29.4 billion in 2016 (last year of information available). However, Chilean sources list U.S. FDI stock at over $38 billion, making it the leading foreign direct investor in Chile.
Treaties & Agreements
The United States - Chile Free Trade Agreement (FTA) reduced duties to zero on 90% of U.S. exports to Chile, and in January 2015, all remaining tariffs were phased out, such that all U.S.-origin products now enter Chile tariff free.