Chile’s Top 10 Exports

Chile’s Top 10 Exports


A South American nation occupying a long strip of land bordering with Argentina to its east, Peru to its north and Bolivia to its northeast, Chile shipped US$75.5 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount reflects a 0.4% increase from 2014 to 2014 and an 8.9% expansion from 2017 to 2018.

Reported as of September 7, 2019, Chile exported $36.1 billion worth of goods during the first 6 months of 2019 down -7.5% compared to the same period one year earlier.

Given Chile’s population of 17.9 million people, the total $75.5 billion in 2018 Chilean exports translates to roughly $4,200 for every person in the Latin American nation.

From a continental perspective, over half (53.8%) of Chilean exports by value were delivered to Asian countries while 17.9% were sold to North American importers. Chile shipped another 14.5% to European nations while 12% worth went to other Latin American countries (excluding Mexico) plus the Caribbean.

In macroeconomic terms, Chile’s total exported goods represent 15.7% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2018 ($481.8 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 15.7% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2018 compares to 18.3% for 2014, seeming to indicate a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Chile’s total economic performance. And while this article focuses on exported goods, it is interesting to note that Chile also provided $10.1 billion worth of exports-related services to global customers for an additional 2.1% of GDP in PPP.

Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Chile’s unemployment rate was 7.1% at May 2019 up from 7% one year earlier, according to Trading Economics.

Chile’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Chilean global shipments during 2018. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Chile.

  1. Ores, slag, ash: US$20.7 billion (27.4% of total exports)
  2. Copper: $18.6 billion (24.6%)
  3. Fish: $5.9 billion (7.8%)
  4. Fruits, nuts: $5.7 billion (7.6%)
  5. Woodpulp: $3.6 billion (4.7%)
  6. Wood: $2.6 billion (3.5%)
  7. Inorganic chemicals: $2.2 billion (3%)
  8. Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $2 billion (2.7%)
  9. Gems, precious metals: $1.6 billion (2.2%)
  10. Meat: $980.1 million (1.3%)

Chile’s top 10 exports accounted for 84.7% of the overall value of its global shipments.

Chilean gems and precious metals were the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories via its 70.5% improvement from 2017 to 2018, mostly due to stronger international sales of gold.

In second place for improving export sales was the woodpulp category which gained 36.9%.

Chile’s exported inorganic chemicals posted the third-fastest gain in value up 24.7%, trailed by the 20.6% appreciation for Chilean meat shipments.

One product category declined in value year over year, namely beverages, spirits and vinegar thanks to its -1.7% decline year over year.

Note that the results listed above are at the categorized two-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. For a more granular view of exported goods at the four-digit HTS code level, see the section Searchable List of Chile’s Most Valuable Export Products further down below.


Overall Chile earned a $6.9 billion trade surplus in 2018, up 65.2% from the $4.2 billion in black ink for 2017.

As of June 2018, Chile’s trade surplus stood at $6 billion. That’s a 131.2% improvement compared to the first 6 months of 2017.

The following types of Chilean product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.

In a nutshell, net exports equal the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.

  1. Ores, slag, ash: US$20.3 billion (Up by 6% since 2017)
  2. Copper: $18.5 billion (Up by 4.2%)
  3. Fish: $5.8 billion (Up by 12.3%)
  4. Fruits, nuts: $5.4 billion (Up by 1.8%)
  5. Woodpulp: $3.6 billion (Up by 37.4%)
  6. Wood: $2.3 billion (Up by 15.6%)
  7. Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $1.6 billion (Down by -2%)
  8. Gems, precious metals: $1.5 billion (Up by 75.4%)
  9. Inorganic chemicals: $1.3 billion (Up by 22.7%)
  10. Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $374.1 million (Up by 5%)

Chile has highly positive net exports in the international trade of copper, molybdenum, iron and zinc ores and concentrates. In turn, these cashflows indicate Chile’s strong competitive advantages for these essential construction materials.


Below are exports from Chile that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Chile’s goods trail Chilean importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: -US$11.5 billion (Up by 27.3% since 2017)
  2. Vehicles: -$8.7 billion (Up by 7.9%)
  3. Machinery including computers: -$7.9 billion (Up by 7.1%)
  4. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$6.2 billion (Down by -6.7%)
  5. Plastics, plastic articles: -$2.1 billion (Up by 14.7%)
  6. Pharmaceuticals: -$1.4 billion (Up by 15.6%)
  7. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$1.3 billion (Up by 10.2%)
  8. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): -$1.3 billion (Down by -5.4%)
  9. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: -$1.3 billion (Down by -0.05%)
  10. Articles of iron or steel: -$1.1 billion (Up by 30%)

Chile has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for mineral fuels-related products, particularly petroleum oils, gases and coal.

These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Chile’s competitive disadvantages in the international fuel market, but also represent key opportunities for Chile to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations particularly for alternative energy sources.


Chilean Export Companies

According to Forbes Global 2000 rankings, the following 8 companies are examples of major Chilean export companies:

  • AntarChile (investment services)
  • BCI-Banco Credito (regional bank)
  • Cencosud (food retail)
  • CorpBanca (regional bank)
  • Falabella (department stores)
  • Latam Airlines (airline)
  • Quinenco (investment conglomerate)
  • SQM Materials (diversified chemicals)


Chile’s capital city is Santiago.

Searchable List of Chile’s Most Valuable Export Products

At the more granular four-digit HTS code level, Chile’s top export products are copper followed by non-dissolving chemical woodpulp, fish then wine.

The following searchable table displays 200 of the most in-demand goods shipped from Chile during 2018. Shown beside each product label is its total export value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2017.

RankChile's Export Product2018 Value (US$)Change
1Copper ores, concentrates$18.2 billion+4.5%
2Refined copper, unwrought alloys$15.8 billion+7.2%
3Chemical woodpulp (non-dissolving)$3.6 billion+36.6%
4Fish fillets, pieces$2.7 billion+5.1%
5Unrefined copper$2.3 billion-6.2%
6Wine $2 billion-1.2%
7Whole fish (frozen)$1.8 billion+17.7%
8Molybdenum ores, concentrates$1.5 billion+48.3%
9Gold (unwrought)$1.3 billion+103.9%
10Grapes (fresh or dried)$1.2 billion-8.8%
11Apricots, cherries, peaches, nectarines, plums$1.1 billion+40.2%
12Iron ores, concentrates$970.6 million-1.2%
13Sawn wood$944.7 million+17.7%
14Carbonates, percarbonates$943.2 million+37.4%
15Whole fish (fresh)$864.4 million+24.7%
16Apples, pears (fresh)$805.1 million-0.2%
17Miscellaneous fruits (fresh)$800.9 million+17.4%
18Miscellaneous nuts$571.1 million-2.1%
19Swine meat$450.6 million+17.5%
20Laminated wood (including plywood, veneer panels)$440.6 million+41.8%
21Fluorine/chlorine/bromine/iodine$428.8 million+22.8%
22Fuel wood, wood chips, sawdust$397.7 million+8.5%
23Inedible meat flour$379.1 million+16.4%
24Frozen fruits, nuts$370.7 million+12.8%
25Fresh or dried citrus fruit$366.1 million+6.9%
26Nitrites, nitrates$365.2 million+10.4%
27Poultry meat$357.1 million+30.2%
28Hydrazine, inorganic salts$324 million+27.9%
29Wood/other ligneous fiberboard$321.5 million+6.8%
30Crustaceans, molluscs (preserved/prepared)$312.5 million+2.2%
31Coated paper$306.4 million+27.4%
32Rubber tires (new)$278.1 million-14%
33Dates/figs/pineapples/mangoes/avocadoes/guavas$274.5 million-42.8%
34Copper wire$256.9 million-14.3%
35Shaped wood$253.4 million+4.1%
36Silver (unwrought)$251.9 million-8.3%
37Moluscs$240 million+31.7%
38Processed petroleum oils$228.5 million-48.2%
39Other food preparations$223.3 million-15.4%
40Fruit and vegetable juices$218.7 million+22.2%
41Acyclic alcohols$217.4 million+58.5%
42Iron ferroalloys$209.5 million+128.3%
43Sowing seeds, fruits, spores$202.9 million+21%
44Dried fruit$199.9 million-3.4%
45Fertilizer mixes$199.8 million+36.3%
46Salts, pure sodium chloride$198.6 million+53.8%
47Potassic fertilizers$181.4 million-39.5%
48Copper waste, scrap$168.6 million-15.9%
49Miscellaneous preserved fruits$168.3 million+3.4%
50Medication mixes in dosage$154.9 million+14.3%
51Automobile parts/accessories$150.7 million-17%
52Jams, fruit jellies, marmalades, purées$146.1 million+2.4%
53Fish/marine mammal fats and oils$133.3 million+57.3%
54Miscellaneous furniture$124.9 million+1342%
55Petroleum gases$124.7 million+22.9%
56Nitrogenous fertilizers$123.1 million+8.4%
57Alloy steel bars, rods$122.5 million+203.2%
58Iron or steel scrap$113.8 million+63.6%
59Flour/meal/starch/malt extract food preparations$113.1 million+12.4%
60Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$106.2 million-4.8%
61Vegetable saps, extracts$106.2 million-3.2%
62Locust beans$101.4 million-22.2%
63Machinery parts$97.9 million+11.2%
64Miscellaneous iron or steel items$97.3 million-25.7%
65Tomatoes (prepared/preserved)$95.7 million-14.1%
66Crustaceans (including lobsters)$94.6 million+13.6%
67Particle board, other ligneous materials$94.2 million+17.4%
68Corn$84.2 million+3.5%
69Cigars/cigarellos, cigarettes$84.1 million-12%
70Phone system devices $80.6 million-34.1%
71Worked cereal grains$72.4 million+604.3%
72Olive oil$71.3 million+7.7%
73Wood carpentry, builders' joinery$71.3 million+13.4%
74Propylene/olefin polymers$68.6 million+10.2%
75Packaged insecticides/fungicides/herbicides$68.1 million-8.5%
76Plastic packing goods, lids, caps$67.5 million-15.6%
77Concentrated/sweetened milk, cream$67.1 million+8.5%
78Dried, salted, smoked fish$64.4 million+5.9%
79Fish, caviar (preserved/prepared)$62 million+89.8%
80Aquatic invertebrates$61.5 million-15.5%
81Miscellaneous meat (preserved/prepared)$61.5 million+111.2%
82Miscellaneous animal feed preparations$61 million+36.4%
83Cruise/cargo ships, barges$60.2 million+290.8%
84Zinc ores, concentrates$59.9 million+25.9%
85Aluminum containers$56.6 million+10.8%
86Beryllium$55.4 million+9.5%
87Frozen vegetables$54.5 million+21%
88Red meat offal$52.9 million-4.4%
89Chlorides, bromides, iodides$51.3 million+47.7%
90Sort/screen/washing machinery$50.5 million-4.5%
91Trucks$46.6 million-74.7%
92Boron oxides, boric acides$46.5 million-18.6%
93Aluminum waste, scrap$45.6 million+18%
94Uncoated kraft paper$44.4 million+31.3%
95Insulated wire/cable$40.5 million-25.1%
96Coffee/tea extracts, concentrates$39.7 million+5.1%
97Animal guts, bladders, stomachs$39.4 million+46.8%
98Roasted cereal foods$38.3 million-67%
99Plastic tubes, pipes, fittings$38.1 million-17.5%
100Self-adhesive plastic in rolls$37.9 million+4.4%
101Rough wood$37.6 million+79.4%
102Newsprint (rolls or sheets)$37.2 million+29.4%
103Liquid pumps and elevators$37 million-9.1%
104Paper containers, cellulose wadding$36.3 million+0.3%
105Uncoated paper$35.9 million-6.6%
106Miscellaneous cast iron or steel items$35.7 million+7.7%
107Beauty/makeup/skin care preparations$35 million+3.5%
108Pig, poultry fat$35 million+49.9%
109Frozen beef$34.9 million+29.2%
110Sheep or goat meat$34.7 million+13.6%
111Safety/detonating fuses, detonating caps$34.7 million+22.4%
112Aluminum foil (thin)$33.5 million+2.3%
113Medicinal plants$33.3 million+3.5%
114Copper mattes, cement copper$32.6 million-68.1%
115Sunflower seeds$32.4 million+47.7%
116Onions, garlic, leeks$32.3 million-18.2%
117Cheese, curd$32.1 million-15.6%
118Miscellaneous iron and steel structures$30.6 million-19.3%
119Cellulose fiber paper$30.2 million-2.3%
120Iron and steel tanks, drums, boxes$30.1 million+14.6%
121Bottles, flasks, jars, pots$29.4 million-5.9%
122Chemical industry products/residuals$29.4 million+1%
123Natural honey$29 million+76.7%
124Animal/vegetable hydrogenated fats, oils$28.5 million+69.9%
125Sulphates, persulphates$28.4 million+15%
126Lead (unwrought)$25.9 million+18.9%
127Miscellaneous vegetables$25.3 million+5.1%
128Miscellaneous live plants$25.2 million-26.4%
129Refrigerators, freezers$25.1 million-31.4%
130Oxometal/peroxometal acid salts$24.9 million-28.3%
131Sanitary towels, baby napkins/liners$24.1 million+81.9%
132Household/sanitary rolls$22.9 million-20.4%
133Taps, valves, similar appliances$22.9 million-1.7%
134Bulbs, tubers, roots$22.8 million-30.6%
135Cars$22.5 million-89.4%
136Polycarboxylic acids$22.4 million-2.1%
137Petroleum oil residues$22.4 million+448.6%
138Stoppers, caps, lids, corks$22 million+14.1%
139Footwear (leather)$21.8 million+137%
140Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers)$21.7 million-50.5%
141Rape/colza seeds$21.5 million+34.8%
142Chocolate, other cocoa preparations$21.3 million-2%
143Move/grade/scrape/boring machinery$20.7 million-70.9%
144Precious metal waste, scrap$20.5 million+32.9%
145Solid-form sugars, fructose, glucose, lactose$19.7 million+1.4%
146Natural polymers$19.3 million-23.5%
147Engines (diesel)$19.1 million-39.1%
148Personal toilet/shaving preparations, deodorants$18.9 million+13.5%
149Interchangeable hand/machine tools$18.9 million-9.2%
150Veneer sheets, sheets for sawn wood$18.6 million+6.1%
151Temperature-change machines$18.4 million+37%
152Automobile bodies$18.4 million+12.7%
153Prepared glues, adhesives$17.6 million-5.7%
154Miscellaneous plastic items$17.5 million-50.4%
155Computers, optical readers$17.4 million-21.1%
156Flat-rolled stainless steel items$17.2 million+1883.4%
157Air or vacuum pumps$16.9 million-2.8%
158Uninsulated copper wire, cables$16.7 million+16.1%
159Wool (uncarded, uncombed)$16.4 million+27.9%
160Combed wool or coarse animal hair$16.4 million+17.6%
161Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)$16.3 million-39.1%
162Coal, solid fuels made from coal$15.7 million-51.1%
163Malt$15.3 million+84.5%
164Special purpose vehicles$15.3 million-34.5%
165Copper bars, rods$15.1 million-15.4%
166Woven fabrics of combed wool/fine animal hair$14.3 million+5.7%
167Other animal/vegetable hydrogenated fats, oils$14 million+16%
168Soups, broths, food preparations$13.6 million+148.2%
169Dried vegetables not further prepared$13.5 million-12.5%
170Aircraft, spacecraft$13.2 million+322%
171Transmission shafts, gears, clutches$13 million+24.6%
172Carboxylic acids$12.9 million+118.5%
173Bovine/equine leather$12.3 million-10%
174Whey$12.2 million-13.5%
175Sauces, mixed condiments, seasonings$12.2 million+16%
176Scents used for beverage or industrial manufacturing$12.1 million-0.1%
177Agglomerated cork$12.1 million+22.8%
178Perfumes, toilet waters$11.9 million-6.9%
179Dried shelled vegetables$11.9 million+22.8%
180Hay, alfalfa, clover$11.8 million+4.9%
181Soya beans$11.8 million-7.1%
182Lifting/loading machinery$11.1 million-22.1%
183Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries$10.9 million+10.1%
184Paper/paperboard waste, scrap$10.9 million+407.3%
185Fixed vegetable fats/oils$10.8 million-13.2%
186Other animal leather$10.6 million+3.3%
187Iron and steel stranded wire, cables (uninsulated)$10.4 million+22.2%
188Men's suits, trousers (not knit or crochet)$10.4 million-67.2%
189Pasta, couscous$10.4 million+38.9%
190Asphalt/petroleum bitumen mixes$10.4 million+29.8%
191Base metal mountings, fittings$10.2 million-9%
192Butter, ghee, other milk fats$10.1 million-39.8%
193Carbon/natural mineral products$10.1 million-1.4%
194Other prepared/preserved vegetables (non-frozen)$10 million-18.8%
195Miscellaneous printed matter$9.8 million-29.6%
196Prepared exposives$9.8 million-5.2%
197Electric motors, generators$9.7 million+30.6%
198Electro-medical equipment (e.g. xrays)$9.6 million-14.9%
199Hair preparations$9.5 million-1.8%
200Other organic compounds$9.4 million+41.2%

These 200 exported goods were worth a subtotal of US$71.8 billion or 95.2% by value for all products exported from Chile during 2018.

See also Chile’s Top 10 Imports, Chile’s Top Trading Partners and Top South American Export Countries

Research Sources:
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on September 7, 2019

Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on September 7, 2019

International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on September 7, 2019

International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on September 7, 2019

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on September 7, 2019

Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on September 7, 2019

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Chile. Accessed on September 7, 2019

Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on September 7, 2019