Chilean foreign trade grew 32% to over US$120 billion in 2010

Though Chile’s strongest commercial partners remain in the Americas, growth markets in Asia saw the largest increases in imports and exports.


Chile’s National Customs Service reports a 32 percent growth in international trade in 2010, reaching a total of over US$120 billion. Overall imports increased by 36 percent, led primarily by petroleum and fuels, while exports, led by raw mined materials, grew by 28 percent over the course of the fiscal year.

The growth saw exports increase by nearly US$15 billion, reaching a total of US$68 billion, while imports rose by just over US$14 billion, to a total of US$52.8 billion.

Trade with Japan saw the greatest percentage increase in 2010 at 57 percent, while trade with China grew by US$7 billion, reaching about US$25 billion in total. Growth in these two key markets combined contributed to a 44 percent increase in trade with Asia, the largest increase anywhere.

Despite the incredible growth in trade with Asia, the Americas remain Chile’s primary trading partner. Trade with the United States grew by 25 percent to reach US$46.6 billion. In Latin America, trade with Mexico grew 46 percent, while a US$3.2 billion increase in trade with Brazil accounted for the majority of the 33 percent increase in growth with the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) nations of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

Exports of mined materials, which do not include finished products made from these materials, were once again Chile’s primary export, accounting for US$43 billion of exports, or 63 percent. Earnings from these exports grew by 40 percent, largely due to a 39 percent increase in copper prices.

Non-mining materials, which make up the remaining 37 percent of exports, include finished products made from forestry and produce, copper, and other mined materials amongst others. In total, these exports brought in US$25 billion in 2010.

Fruit exports increased 14 percent to reach nearly US$4 billion, with the United States as the largest importer of most popular varieties.

Of the goods imported by Chile in 2010, roughly half came from within the Americas, increasing by 29 percent from 2009.

Imports from Asia grew an extraordinary 66 percent, while imports from Europe saw the smallest growth at 13 percent.

About 21 percent of all goods imported are fuels, including petroleum, diesel and gasoline. The US$2.7 billion spent on importing automobiles was the largest non-fuel import, growing by a staggering 124 percent.

This post is also available in Spanish