In Chile, there is a partly extreme market economy,
combined with some state enterprise. The military regime
returned the activities of the Allende government socialized
into private ownership. Private investment, especially of
foreign capital, has been encouraged in order to build up
capital-intensive industries and develop the mining sector.
Since the mid-1980s, the country's economy has shown stable
countryaah, Chile has emerged as an economic pattern country: growth
is steady, exports are rising, investments are high,
inflation is under control and the cost share of external
debt is falling. One of the few worrying clouds is the
country's great dependence on copper exports. Certainly,
copper exports' share of the 1970-96 export value decreased
from 88 to 40 percent, but the great dependence makes the
country sensitive to changes in the world market price.
Chile was reminded of this in 1997-98 when the economic
crisis in Asia had a negative impact on the country's
Half of the country's total area is unusable for the
arable industries (agriculture, forestry and livestock
management). About 12 percent of Chile is covered by forest,
16 percent is utilized as meadow and pasture land and just
over 6 percent is cultivated land. The economic-political
situation of the last few decades has meant very different
conditions for agriculture as an industry. Agriculture is of
great importance for employment and partly also for the
country's exports (fruit, grapes), but it has generally been
conducted inefficiently in both large goods and small farms.
In the northern parts of the country there are irrigated
oasis cultures. Otherwise, agriculture is highly
concentrated in the fertile long valley of central Chile. In
the part of this area that has a Mediterranean climate,
grapes, fruits and vegetables and maize and rice are grown.
Further south, where the climate is more temperate, large
quantities of wheat are produced, but also other cereals and
sugar beets. Animal production is also of great importance
here. Farthest south, in western Patagonia and on Tierra del
Fuego (Lake of Fire), sheep breeding is important.
South of Concepción, agricultural areas are increasingly
being transformed into a forest region. Of Chile's 15
million ha of forest, 1/4 is suitable for economic forestry.
Transportation difficulties constitute a limitation.
Primarily, conifers and fast-growing eucalyptus are used.
The center for forestry is Valdivia, but forest industries
are also found in, among other things. Concepción and Puerto
Montt. Forest products, especially pulp and wood chips,
account for an increasing share of the country's exports. In
recent years, the increasing deforestation has meant that
the forest stock decreased rapidly alarmingly.
Fishing is of great economic importance. The Humboldt
stream provides good conditions for this industry, which has
expanded greatly in recent years. In terms of catch volume,
Chile is now one of the world's five largest fishing
nations. About 6 million tonnes of fish are landed annually.
Over 90 percent of the catch (sardines, mackerel) is used as
industrial fish. Fishmeal (mainly for feed) is an important
export product. The growth of fish farms in southern Chile
has made the country the second largest salmon exporter
Chile has very rich mineral resources. Most important are
copper, where Chile accounts for 1/4 of the world's known
reserves and has 1/6 of world production. The mines are
mainly located in the northern parts, with the privately
owned La Escondida and the state Chuquicamata as the largest
and most famous. Copper means a lot to government revenue
and accounts for 40 percent of Chile's export earnings. Upon
extraction, valuable by-products, including molybdenum, are
obtained. Other important metals are gold, silver and
manganese. Northern Chile also has the world's largest
reserves of lithium.
The salt extraction, which dominated the economy of Chile
before the First World War even more than copper in recent
decades, is now of limited importance, but in terms of
iodine by-product, Chile is a world leader. In the Coquimbo
area, 370 km north of Santiago, there are large assets of
high-quality iron ore (over 60 percent), which is partly
exploited by the country's own industry and partly exported.
Significant oil resources can be found at the Magellan
Strait in southern Chile. They are expected to eventually be
able to meet the country's own needs, which are now covered
by 2/3 of imports, mainly through imports of oil and gas
from Argentina. A liquefied gas plant has been built at
Punta Arenas in the south. The coal mining, including
low-grade coal south of Concepción, has some significance.
Chile's water energy resources (per capita) are considered
to be among the largest in the world. In recent years, a
major expansion has been carried out, and several power
plants are under construction.
In Chile, even before the Second World War, a relatively
extensive industry was developed, protected by tariffs and
geared towards consumer goods. The light industry that
survived the introduction of free trade policy is mainly
concentrated in the Santiago area, which also has the bulk
of the engineering and electronics industries, among others.
In recent years, industrial policy has focused on the export
sector (canned goods, fishmeal, etc.) and on heavier
industries. The pulp and paper industry has expanded to the
south. In the Concepción area, since 1950, a large
industrial complex (San Vicente) has grown up, with iron and
steel plants, oil refinery and petrochemical industry. Also
in the country's third major industrial area, Valparaíso,
there are petrochemicals and various consumer goods
The introduction of free trade policy affected all parts
of the business community and also Chile's foreign trade.
Trade has widened in terms of both trading partners and
goods, and exports have increased significantly. Copper
accounts for 40 percent of the export value and other mining
products account for 8 percent. The focus on other products
has been successful: fruits, grapes and the like (8
percent), forest products (mainly pulp, percent).
Furthermore, exports from the fishing industry (fishmeal)
are significant. Imports consist of machinery and transport
equipment, oil and raw materials, as well as food and other
consumer goods. The most important trading partners are
China, the USA and Brazil.
Tourism and gastronomy
For the past 20 years, Chile has invested in building a
tourism industry, including large investments have been made
in the tourist and ski centers. The investment has yielded
results and the country was visited in 2016 by 5.6 million
visitors. Foremost are tourists from Argentina, Europe and
Chile has a very diverse landscape. Within the sterile
coastal area in the north, the Andes rise, with green
valleys and blue lakes between snow-capped volcanoes of over
6,000 m. a rich bird fauna.
In central Chile lies the capital of Santiago, one of the
most visited European-style city tourists, located on the
Mapocho mountain river. The historical museums and the
pre-Columbian art museum are also very worthwhile for the
experienced museum visitor. Several rickety and kitschy
collectors' homes from the turn of the century have been
turned into museums. Palacio Cousino. In Santiago's older
city center, Lastarria, you will find antique shops,
boutiques and small restaurants, while the large restaurant
and entertainment districts are in Belavista on the other
side of Rio Mapocho. The San Francisco Monastery from the
Baroque era is also worth seeing.
The port city of Valparaiso, located west of Santiago,
offers fine views and picturesque buildings. To the north,
the tourist towns close by the coast, to the better known
include Viña del Mar. A few miles from Santiago, there are a
number of well-equipped ski resorts, available during the
months of summer in Europe. Chile's more interesting areas
include the lake district south of Santiago, with blue
lakes, rushing streams and snow-capped volcanic cones. In
these parts of Chile one can often make themselves
understood in German; the well-to-do farms have not rarely
belonged to three or four generations of German immigrants
From the area of Puerto Montt you can get out on
ferries and country roads to the island world south of it.
Interesting is Chiloé, Spain's last area in South America,
which was first stated in 1826. The landscape is untouched,
rugged and sparsely populated; there are huge,
two-hundred-year-old wooden churches in villages with a few
houses. The clear, cold water with its penguins is
reminiscent of the southern tip of the continent, with Punta
Arenas and Cape Horn.
The Easter Island of Chile, Polynesia's easternmost
island, has become a popular tourist destination with its
stone pillars and other historical attractions.
From a gastronomic point of view, the country is
characterized mainly by the extremely rich fishing. Mussels,
crabs, shrimp, oysters and various fish species are crowded
into stews and stews, here is the chance to devour the
caldillo de congrio, sea bass stewed with potatoes,
onions and tomatoes. Erizos are large sea urchins,
eaten raw with chopped onion, lemon juice, salt and pepper;
chupe de mariscos are scallops with cheese and
cream sauce. Grilled lamb is advantageously eaten in the
southern part of Chile. Empanadas, meat or fish
pies, are available in many varieties, and chicken an
esabeche, cooked in a vinegar-based sauce, or
Cazuela de ave, which is a stew on rice, corn, chicken,
beans, pumpkin and peas, is everyday food. One form of
preparation that learns to originate from the Aruacian
indigenous people is the technique of preserving meat and
berries (eg cranberries) together by drying and eating
porotos granados as boiled beans, corn and chopped
pumpkin as an accessory or as an exclusive.
Chile's wines are the best in South America, see Chilean