During the first eight months of 2020, Chilean foreign trade totaled US$83.126 billion, dropping 12% compared to the first eight months of 2019. Over 84% of this decrease in trade is due to a drop in imports, which continued their downward trend during August with negative growth of 22%. For their part, exports totaled US$45.380 billion during the first eight months of the year, experiencing a 3.9% drop compared to the same period in 2019, considerably tempering the decreases seen during previous periods.
Chilean exports for August totaled US$5.421 billion, down 11% from the same month in 2019. The decrease is mainly due to a 64% drop in copper exports, which totaled US$2.761 billion in August 2020, 13% less than the same month the previous year. Other exports totaled US$2.661 billion last month, down 8% from August 2019. This is mainly due to lower exports of salmon and cellulose, which totaled US$90 million and US$72 million in August, respectively.
International Economic Relations Undersecretary Rodrigo Yáñez added that despite the difficult international context in 2020, exports of 1,389 products increased during August compared to the same month in 2019. The stand-outs in this group were pork, fresh mandarins, walnuts, frozen jack mackerel, fresh kiwi fruit, olive oil, seeds, canned mussels, cardboard, sea urchin, cranberry juice, oatmeal, quillay plant extract, wooden doors, oregano, rose hip oil, oranges and medications. These products represent the offerings of every region in the country.
“Having the world’s broadest Free Trade Agreement network has given our exporters the flexibility they need to access key economies under preferential conditions to the extent that they have reactivated their productive and trade activities. Exports to countries without trade agreements dropped 17% while shipments to countries with agreements fell just 3%, demonstrating the effectiveness of our network of FTAs,” the Undersecretary said.
It is worth noting that citrus exports reached their seasonal peak in August, with shipments totaling US$92 million. China ranks third among export destinations for these products after the US and Japan even though it is only the first year that Chile has received authorization to export citrus fruits to that country. “Trade liberalization and animal and phytosanitary liberalization for our exportable offerings in global markets are decisive factors for allowing exporters to open up a space for themselves in the midst of the crisis,” the Undersecretary said.
Wine shipments grew for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, totaling US$190 million and reaching their highest amounts for the year. Noteworthy increases in sales were recorded for Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Carménère and Pinot Noir.
The regions that saw exports grow between January and August over the same period in 2019 are: Atacama, Tarapacá, O’Higgins, Maule, Ñuble and Araucanía.
Between January and August 2020, imports dropped 20% compared to the same period in 2019, totaling US$37.746 billion. Despite the difficulties that the country is facing, various types of imported goods recorded a sales increase, including electric motors, mobile phones, computers, medications, wheat and corn. This is a sign of better projected consumption for the third and fourth quarters of the year.