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What Are Chile’s Main Imports and Exports_-Header.jpg

What Are Chile’s Main Imports and Exports?

Updated on 28 Dec 2023
4 min read
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Chile’s economy is regarded as one of the most stable in South America. It also has the highest gross domestic product (GDP) per capita throughout Latin America. According to the Economic Complexity Index (ECI), Chile’s economy is the 61st most complex one in the world. It also happens to be the 42nd largest economy across the globe.

The imports in Chile were recorded at 68.5 billion US dollars in 2018. Chile’s portion amounts to 0.4% of total global imports, which made it $17.788 trillion in 2017. With a population of 17.9 million people, the total imports of Chile, which came to $68.5 billion in 2018, equates to almost $3,800 with regards to the yearly product demand from every individual in Chile.

As far as exports are concerned, the total exports in Chile was reported to be 5.3 billion US dollars in the November of 2019. Now let’s take a look at the imports and exports of Chile separately.


The biggest category of imports that takes place in Chile is that of machines. Machines make up for almost one-quarter of the total imports, therefore coming up to $15.2 billion. Under this department, the goods that are most frequently imported include computers, video displays, broadcasting equipment, all coming to 1.8%, 1.2%, and 2% respectively.

Next to machines, the most imported goods are mineral products and transportation. In fact, the three major imports of Chile fall within these categories, namely that of crude petroleum ($5.43 billion, or 7.9%), refined petroleum ($5.33 billion, or 7.7%), and cars ($3.8 billion, or 5.5%).

The three biggest import partners of Chile are China, the United States of America, and Brazil. China stands at 21% with 14.8 billion dollars, the United States comes at 20% with 14 billion dollars, and lastly, Brazil falls at 7.7% with 5.31 billion dollars. Crude petroleum, which is Chile’s top import item, is supplied by Brazil (43%), Ecuador (36%), and Angola (6.4%).

Refined petroleum, which is the second largest imported good in the country at about 90%, is mainly supplied by the United States. After the US, the next two biggest suppliers of refined petroleum are Japan (4.5%) and the Netherlands (1.4%).

Cars make up for the third largest imported items in Chile, coming up to 5.5% of total imports. The top three countries to supply cars to Chile are South Korea (26%), Japan (22%), and the US (10%).


Metals form the largest export category in Chile, thereby coming up to $23.2 billion, making it close to one-third of all the exports. Within this category, the three products that are exported the most include refined copper, raw copper, and copper wire, coming at 23%, 3.8%, and 0.7% respectively.

The two categories that are exported the most after metals are mineral products and vegetables, making them $20.5 billion and $7.43 billion respectively. Copper ore is the good that’s the second largest exported one. It’s what falls under the category of mineral products, and constitutes 21% of all the exports that happen in Chile.

There are three export partners who occupy the top three spots in Chile’s exports business, and they are China ($18.9 billion, or 25%), the US ($9.3 billion, or 12%), and Japan ($7.81 billion, or 10%). These three countries combined import 47% of Chile’s exports.

Chile happens to be the biggest importer of refined copper, followed by the United States. Copper ore, on the other hand, is imported by Japan and China. Apart from copper ore and refined copper, raw copper ($1.23 billion) and sulfate chemical woodpulp ($1.17 billion) are the two other items imported by Chile.

The United States, which is the second largest importer of China, is responsible for importing fish fillets ($1.38 billion) and grapes ($694 million). Non-fillet frozen fish ($615 million) and fish fillets ($452 million) form the second and third largest products that are exported to Japan.

Summing up

While the top import origins of Chile are China ($15.4 billion), the United States ($11.5 billion), Brazil ($5.32 billion), Argentina ($2.77 billion) and Germany ($2.63 billion), the biggest export destinations include China ($19.2 billion), the United States ($10.3 billion), Japan ($6.38 billion), South Korea ($4.06 billion) and Brazil ($3.44 billion).

The items that falls under its category of imports are cars, refined petroleum, crude petroleum, broadcasting equipment, and delivery trucks. Looking at the items for exports, there are refined copper, copper ore, fish fillets, sulfate chemical woodpulp, and raw copper, as per the 1992 revised version of the HS (Harmonized System) classification.

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