Chile country brief

Australia and Chile have a strong bilateral relationship with growing trade and investment.

Key engagement

Mining, resources, education and research, people-to-people links.

Outlook

One of the fastest growing economies in Latin America in recent decades. Increasingly focused on the Asia-Pacific region.

Bilateral relations

Australia and Chile are major mining and agricultural economies, with an Asia-Pacific trade focus. Signed in 2009, the Australia-Chile Free Trade Agreement (ACIFTA) has underpinned a rapid increase in engagement between both countries, with many Australian companies now operating in Chile. Education and research cooperation have also become important areas of engagement. Australia and Chile hold a shared outlook on many international issues, and work closely together in a number of international forums, including the UN, the WTO, the Cairns Group and APEC.

Foreign policy

Chile is a member of the Pacific Alliance (a trading bloc of Pacific-focused Latin American countries also including Mexico, Peru and Colombia). It is an associate member of the Andean Community and Mercosur.

Chile is an active participant in major international forums, including the United Nations (UN), World Trade Organization (WTO), Organisation of American States (OAS), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD), International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, Union of South American States (UNASUR) and Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

Chile will host APEC in 2019.

Australia’s foreign policy is guided by the Foreign Policy White Paper.

Fast Facts

  • Chilean visitors to Australia (2017) — 23,500
  • Australian visitors to Chile (primary destination 2017)* — 19,100
  • Resident Australian population born in Chile (2016) — 26,00
  • Australian residents of Chilean descent (2016) — 34,200
  • Chilean work and holiday makers (2017-18) — 2,450
  • Chilean students in Australia (2017) — 3,200

High level engagement

  • 2018 November — Prime Minister Scott Morrison met President Piñera at APEC in Papua New Guinea.
  • 2018 September — Chilean parliamentarians undertook an official ‘Guest of Parliament’ visit to Australia.
  • 2018 March — then Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo visited Chile to sign the TPP-11.

Agreements with Chile

  • In progress — Pacific Alliance FTA (under negotiation)
  • 2018 — Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP-11)
  • 2015 — MoU on Education
  • 2013 — Australia-Chile Double Taxation Agreement
  • 2009 — Chile-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ACIFTA)
  • 2004 — Australia-Chile Social Security Agreement

Public diplomacy

There are many high-profile alumni of Australian institutions in Chile. The Australian Embassy in Chile has ramped up its alumni engagement strategy in recent years, inaugurating annual alumni awards and hosting masterclasses for alumni to leverage visits from Australian experts, as well as other networking events. 

Chile is a Tier 1 Priority country for the Endeavour Leadership Program. Under the previous Endeavour Mobility Grants and Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships programs, ten Chileans have been offered opportunities to undertake study, research and professional development in Australia and 199 Australians have been offered opportunities to undertake a study experience in Chile.

In 2018, the Council on Australia-Latin America Relations (COALAR) provided grants to the Australian academy of Science, Somos21 Limited, i2i Development Projects Pty Ltd, CSIRO, Australasian Performing Right Association/Sounds Australia and Legs on The Wall Inc. to connect and collaborate with people and institutions in Chile.

Australian Embassy in Chile

Isidora Goyenechea 3621, 9th, 12th and 13th Flrs
Las Condes
Santiago de Chile
Chile
Tel: +56 2 2 550 3500
General: consular.santiago@dfat.gov.au
Facebook: Embajada de Australia en Chile y Ecuador
Twitter: @AusEmbCL

Economic diplomacy

Chile has been one of Latin America’s fastest-growing economies in recent decades. With average GDP growth of 2.9 per cent over the past 10 years, poverty has significantly reduced. Access to Chilean markets is provided by a network of trade agreements including:

Australia and Chile explore new ways to expand and deepen the bilateral relationship through the Australia-Chile Economic Leadership Forum (ACELF). Australian institutions are sharing experiences with Chile on reducing red tape, improving regulatory practices and fostering gender equality in the workplace.

Further economic and trade information can be found in the Economic Factsheet for Chile and the Pacific Alliance Free Trade Agreement.   

Business

A relatively open and stable business environment, a well-qualified workforce and more frequent direct flights to Australia (South America’s only direct flights to Australia) make Chile an ideal base for Australian companies looking to expand into Latin America. Future areas of opportunity for Australian companies include agribusiness, mining, mining services, energy and water, education and training, and financial services.

Around 200 Australian companies are active in Chile, of which over one quarter are listed on the ASX200. Many Australian companies work in and around Chile’s mining industry, although the range of sectors attracting Australian business has diversified in recent years.

Further information on Chile’s market profile and doing business in Chile can be found on the Austrade website.

Travel

See Smartraveller for Information on travelling to Chile

* Chile reports 52,000 Australian passport holders entered Chile in 2017 (Subsecretaría de Turismo).

Last Updated: 30 January 2019