Chile’s Top Trading Partners

Chile’s Top Trading Partners

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In addition to its close proximity to Drake Passage near South America’s southerly tip, Chile shares borders with Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast and Argentina to the east.

Chile shipped US$65.9 billion worth of products around the globe in 2017. That dollar figure represents a tiny percentage (0.4%) of overall global exports estimated at $15.952 trillion one year earlier during 2016.

From a continental perspective, half of Chilean exports by value were delivered to Asian countries while 18.6% were sold to North American importers. Chile shipped another 15.3% to European nations while 14.5% worth went to fellow Latin American countries (excluding Mexico) plus the Caribbean.

Chile’s Top Trading Partners

Top 15

Below is a list showcasing 15 of Chile’s top trading partners, countries that imported the most Chilean shipments by dollar value during 2017. Also shown is each importing country’s percentage of Chile’s total exported products.

  1. China: US$18 billion (27.2% of total Chilean exports)
  2. United States: $9.8 billion (14.8%)
  3. Japan: $5.8 billion (8.8%)
  4. South Korea: $4.1 billion (6.2%)
  5. Brazil: $3.8 billion (5.8%)
  6. India: $1.7 billion (2.6%)
  7. Spain: $1.7 billion (2.5%)
  8. Peru: $1.6 billion (2.5%)
  9. Netherlands: $1.6 billion (2.4%)
  10. Canada: $1.3 billion (2%)
  11. Taiwan: $1.2 billion (1.9%)
  12. Mexico: $1.2 billion (1.8%)
  13. Argentina: $1.1 billion (1.6%)
  14. Germany: $1 billion (1.5%)
  15. France: $914.5 million (1.4%)

Over four-fifths (83%) of Chilean exports in 2017 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.

Fastest-growing among trade partners importing goods from Chile were Argentina (up 42.7%), Germany (up 42.6%), Canada (up 35.8%) and Brazil (up 27.7%).

Declining export sales for Chile were led by the Netherlands (down -3.4%), South Korea (down -2.2%) and Mexico (down -2%).

Deficits

As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit.

It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.

Chile incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries:

  1. Argentina: -US$1.9 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2017)
  2. Brazil: -$1.8 billion
  3. Germany: -$1.5 billion
  4. United States: -$1.1 billion
  5. Ecuador: -$926.6 million
  6. Mexico: -$842.9 million
  7. Trinidad/Tobago: -$782.3 million
  8. Thailand: -$522.8 million
  9. Paraguay: -$493.3 million
  10. Vietnam: -$479.5 million

Among Chile’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Chilean deficits with Ecuador (up 81.1%), Thailand (up 44.9%) and Trinidad/Tobago (up 29.3%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017. Chile’s trade balance with Paraguay deteriorated from a $777,000 surplus in 2016 to a -$493.3 million in red ink during 2017.

These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Chile’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Chile to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.

Surpluses

Overall, Chile earned a $6.4 billion trade surplus in 2017 up 257.9% from $1.8 billion in black ink for 2016.

Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.

Chile incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries:

  1. China: US$4.6 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2017)
  2. Japan: $4.1 billion
  3. South Korea: $2.3 billion
  4. Netherlands: $1.1 billion
  5. Taiwan: $993.4 million
  6. India: $965.3 million
  7. Peru: $744.9 million
  8. Switzerland: $634.6 million
  9. Russia: $632.2 million
  10. Canada: $577.6 million

Among Chile’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Chilean surpluses with Switzerland (up 112.1%), Canada (up 66%) and China (up 48.3%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Chile’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Chile to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.

Companies

Companies Servicing Chilean Trading Partners

According to Forbes Global 2000 rankings, the following 8 companies are examples of leading Chilean 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)


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

Research Sources:
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Imports, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on February 15, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on February 15, 2018

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on February 15, 2018