During the last few decades, our country’s economy has stood out for its stability.
Backed by the excellent dividends obtained by exports, especially Copper, Chile also reaps the benefits brought on by signing important trade and cooperation agreements.
Up to 1997, our country was growing around 7% a year, a number that was vastly above the rest of the countries in Latin America. After the Asian crisis, which inevitably shook our national economy, there was a slow recovery, until in 2005, the country reached encouraging statistics when it came to employment and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which were around 4 and 6.5% respectively.
The economic expansion must be understood as an accomplishment of fiscal policy, but also as a success of the trade relations established internationally by our country.
The fiscal surplus we are currently enjoying is in great part due to exports, which insert our country into the international arena and transform it into a dynamic player within the world economy. According to foreign indicators, our country is considered the best place to do business in Latin America.
Even non traditional exports have had a sustained growth in the last few years. Wine, panels, flowers and raspberries, among other products, show a significant increase in sales abroad, growing 20.5% in 2006 compared to the previous year.
Today, copper is considered the pillar of our economy. According to different estimates, Chile possesses one fifth of the world’s copper reserves, which provides us with an unbeatable position for trading this product in international markets.
As of July 11th, 1971, date on which copper was nationalized thanks to Law 17,450, our country has enjoyed the important dividends reported by the extraction, production and trading of this mineral. Worldwide, copper is a high demand product because it has many uses. For example, it is a conductor of electricity; it can be used for making pipes, cables and electromagnets, among other things.
This way, with a plan headed up by the Copper Corporation (Codelco), our country has become the world’s main copper producer and trader, with 1.83 millions tons of fine copper accounted for in 2005.
The main destinations of these exports are Asian markets, which receive nearly 40%.
They are followed by Europe (33%), North America (17%) and South America (10%).
The new fishing drive
Our country is the world’s second largest salmon producer, bested only by Norway. Although this activity has gained strength during the last decade, it began its development in Chile in 1920.
Since 1974, this industry received a shot in the arm to position us as world class producers. This is how rainbow trout farming began. The first breeding grounds were created down south, and with the creation of the Undersecretary of Fishing and the National Fishing Service, the activity received strong state support.
As the nineties began and thanks to the gamble made by many entrepreneurs that saw the chance to make good business, the activity became more professional, improving the fish’s food supply, infrastructure and training the fulltime staff, enabling them to provide quality work.
This was how, after overcoming the economic instability left in the wake of the Asian crisis, the salmon industry became one of the most important industries in the country. Currently, it is the country’s number four export sector.
Member of APEC
Belonging to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) means having an important point of encounter and economic debate. This forum is a consulting and cooperating mechanism at a government level. Its main objective is promoting economic growth the region’s sense of community.
It is made up by 21 member economies, which all together represent 55% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product with around 19 billion dollars. Australia, Brunei, Canada, the United States, Russia and Peru are just a few of them. Are country is also a member since November of 1994, after participating in several group sessions as a guest.
The benefits of belonging to this forum are many.
The Asia Pacific zone corresponds to the world’s largest and most dynamic economic market, reason for which it is a unique opportunity for making alliances and reaching agreements. To this date, our country has also enjoyed a proven tax relief for our main exports, the main destinations of which are the APEC economies, such as the United States, China and Korea.
On November 20th and 21st of 2004, Chile hosted the APEC Leaders’ Summit for the first time.
Santiago was the stage that received illustrious heads of state, like Vladimir Putin and George Bush.