Chile is Australia’s 41st largest trading partner in 2017, with Australian/Chilean total trade (exports + imports) worth A$1.4b in 2017. Both countries signed a free trade agreement, the Australia-Chile Free Trade Agreement in 2008, which is to be complemented by the 2018 signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership which adds further upside to the investment and export outlook. Australia sent A$625m of goods exports to Chile in 2017, made up mostly of coal, civil engineering equipment, specialised machinery and parts and education related travel. Australian imports from Chile were driven by metal ores including copper.
There has been a significant surge in Chilean student enrolments in Australia over recent years, likely driven by greater Chilean government funding for scholarships abroad. But the government’s push for greater fiscal austerity could cut the funding available for scholarships and weigh on student enrolments in Australia.
Investment in Chile has grown 14% p.a. over the last four years and continues at a steady rate. Most of this is in mining; however Australian companies are venturing into other sectors. Boost Juice for example has opened stores in Santiago to capitalise on the expanding middle class. Chile’s inclusion in the Trans-Pacific Partnership adds further upside to the investment and export outlook.