Chile exported US$89.8 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2021. That dollar amount reflects a 36.4% increase from 2017 to 2021 and a 33% uptick from 2020 to 2021.
The 5 biggest trading partners for Chile during 2021 was a diversified subset of countries: mainland China, United States of America, Japan, South Korea and Brazil. Collectively, that cohort of leading importers accounted for almost three-quarters (72.7%) of Chile’s total exports.
Applying a continental lens, 57.3% of Chile’s exports by value were delivered to Asian countries while 19.4% were sold to importers in North America. Chile shipped another 11.3% worth of goods to Europe ahead of the 11% supplied to Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.
Smaller percentages went to Africa (0.6%) then Oceania (0.4%) led by Australia and New Zealand.
Chile’s Top Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing 25 of Chile’s top trading partners, countries that imported the most Chilean shipments by dollar value during 2021. Also shown is each importing country’s percentage of Chile’s total exported products.
- China: US$34.4 billion (38.3% of Chile’s total exports)
- United States: $14.8 billion (16.5%)
- Japan: $6.9 billion (7.7%)
- South Korea: $4.6 billion (5.1%)
- Brazil: $4.5 billion (5%)
- Taiwan: $1.9 billion (2.2%)
- Peru: $1.6 billion (1.8%)
- Spain: $1.5 billion (1.7%)
- Netherlands: $1.5 billion (1.6%)
- Mexico: $1.4 billion (1.6%)
- Canada: $1.22 billion (1.4%)
- France: $1.15 billion (1.3%)
- Germany: $1.11 billion (1.2%)
- India: $1.08 billion (1.2%)
- Switzerland: $951.5 million (1.1%)
- Argentina: $812.4 million (0.9%)
- Colombia: $798.6 million (0.9%)
- Italy: $740 million (0.8%)
- United Kingdom: $632.1 million (0.7%)
- Russia: $623.3 million (0.7%)
- Ecuador: $519.8 million (0.6%)
- Thailand: $516.7 million (0.6%)
- Belgium: $462 million (0.5%)
- Australia: $333.4 million (0.4%)
- Bolivia: $291.6 million (0.3%)
Well over nine-tenths (94.1%) of Chilean exports in 2021 were delivered to the above 25 trade partners.
From 2020 to 2021, the fastest increases resulting from Chile’s trade were with Taiwan (up 65.3%), United States of America (up 57.6%), Brazil (up 50.2%), France (up 50%), Spain (up 44.2%) and Thailand (up 43.8%).
There were 2 year-over-year decliners namely Russia (down -10.6%) and Bolivia (down -8.3%).
Countries Causing the Greatest Trade Deficits for Chile
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.
- Argentina: -US$4.1 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2021)
- Brazil: -$3.1 billion
- Germany: -$1.8 billion
- Mexico: -$1.1 billion
- Paraguay: -$935.6 million
- Vietnam: -$903.5 million
- Italy: -$733.8 million
- Ecuador: -$696.1 million
- Colombia: -$586.6 million
- Spain: -$536.6 million
Among Chile’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Chilean deficits with Brazil (up 155%), Mexico (up 113.8%) and Vietnam (up 79.5%) grew at the fastest pace from 2020 to 2021.
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.
Countries Generating the Greatest Trade Surpluses for Chile
Overall Chile earned a $2.8 billion trade surplus in 2021, down -77.1% from the $12.2 billion in black ink for 2020.
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.
- China: US$8.9 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2021)
- Japan: $5.2 billion
- South Korea: $3.1 billion
- Taiwan: $1.6 billion
- Netherlands: $892.1 million
- Switzerland: $641.6 million
- Russia: $424.6 million
- Bulgaria: $257.2 million
- Costa Rica: $204.5 million
- Panama: $204.4 million
Among Chile’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Chilean surpluses with Taiwan (up 69.3%), Bulgaria (up 58.2%) and Panama (up 52%) grew at the fastest pace from 2020 to 2021.
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.
Chile’s Major Companies
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 Imports, Chile’s Top 10 Exports, Brazil’s Top 10 Exports and Top South American Export Countries
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on March 26, 2022
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 26, 2022
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on March 26, 2022