Chile’s Food Exports to the European Union Grew By 42% in the Past Five Years

By Prochile, PRNE
Wednesday, October 19, 2011

SANTIAGO, Chile, October 20, 2011 -

Chilean food exports to the European Union grew by 42% over the past five years. Sales climbed from US$ 1,618 million in 2006 to US$ 2,304 million in 2010. Of all the food exported by the South American country to the EU, 34% was fruit (fresh, frozen and dehydrated), followed by wine (29%) and seafood (16%).

Chile’s total food and beverage exports have exhibited a sustained increase during the last 10 years. Except for the decline that occurred in 2009 due to the international financial crisis, a growth rate of 137% was recorded between 2000 and 2010, with total exports approaching US$ 11,700 million for 2010. The Chilean goal, for which an intense private-public effort is being implemented, is to position Chile among the 10 leading food-exporting countries in the world, with annual shipments that could be as high as US$ 20,000 million in 2015.

In this context, Chile is expecting to keep increasing its exports of food products to the European Union. At an event organized by the Chilean delegation for ANUGA 2011 (one of the largest food fairs in the world held every two years in Cologne, Germany, which was attended by some 40 Chilean companies in 2011), Chile’s ambassador to Germany, Jorge O’Ryan said: “We realize we have to work very hard to achieve excellence in food production, diversifying our products, moving forward with environmentally sustainable production — creating a supply that doesn’t cause damage, with investments in agricultural and livestock technology and training for a labor force that produces profitable value chains that are well integrated between production and final markets.”

In Europe, concerns grow each day regarding environmental issues, people’s health, food safety and innovation. With regard to this last point, Ambassador O’Ryan emphasized that “We have established a strategic alliance with Germany to set up in Chile the first center of the Fraunhofer company in Latin America, which will give the country prominence as a platform for innovation in the region.” Indeed, one of the focal points of the work of the Fraunhofer Chile Research Center for Systems Biotechnology will be agribusiness.  

For Chile, the European Union represents the second-place destination for its total exports. Antonio Dominguez, Director de Chilealimentos also sees good prospects in Europe for Chilean food exports. “I thought that at ANUGA I would find clients who were very pessimistic because of the economic situation on the continent. I thought they would not want to buy, or make long-term decisions, and yet the perception I’ve come away with these days is that they are going to continue buying, so I see a good future for our shipments,” he says as he assesses efforts to date. In his opinion, the Chilean food industry has been gaining in competitiveness, which is now enabling this sector to establish better terms as it comes up against European producers.  

To Andres Rodriguez, Executive President of Chilean Walnut and Executive Vice President of Chilean Dried Plums, the Economic Association Agreement between Chile and the European Union has been one of the elements facilitating Chilean exports to the EU.  ”The accessibility of Chile, both in terms of tariff conditions as well as the level of trust among their economies, has come to figure in the export-import relationship, giving rise to very strong commercial ties that are increasingly fruitful,” he notes.

Sources at ProChile, the Chilean government agency charged with promoting exports, let it be known that they will continue to work in areas of growing demand in Europe, such as functional, organic foods, and products requiring certification such as halal, kosher, or with the seal associated with fair trade.  

With regard to environmental concerns in these markets, as far as the distance to distribution centers is concerned, it is not a limiting factor that affects the carbon footprint of these exports, since the emissions of greenhouse gases related to the transportation of Chilean products is substantially lower than that of goods produced and sold in Europe. This is chiefly due to the fact that 90% of Chile’s exports travel by ship, whose efficiency is 3.2 times greater than the ground transport used in Europe and the United States.


As an extension of this approach, and as a practical measure, starting in 2011, ProChile is also neutralizing the carbon footprint resulting from Chile’s participation in the world’s food and beverage fairs, measuring all CO2 emissions these events generate in the categories of international and domestic transport of the entire Chilean delegation, the shipment of materials and/or samples, energy consumption in the pavilion, as well as trash generated.  

Since February of 2011 up until now, six of Chile’s international events have had the equivalent of 1,855 tons of CO2 emissions neutralized: Fruit Logistica 2011 (Berlin), Biofach 2011 (Nuremberg), Prowein (Dusseldorf), London Wine (London), Carbon Expo (Barcelona) and Fancy Food Show (Washington).  In doing this, Chile is seeking to reconcile the interests of economic growth, social wellbeing and the environmental sustainability of the country, consistent with its commitment to mitigate the effects of climate change.  


In 2010, total Chilean exports to member countries of the European Union were US$ 12,226 million, which represented a growth of 25% over the previous year. As for imports from the EU, during the same period they came to US$ 7,561 million. Commercial exchange added up to US$ 19,787.

In 2010, Chilean exports to the European Union were chiefly concentrated in the Manufacturing Sector, with a share of 54%,  followed by the Mining Sector (15%); Agricultural Foodstuffs (10%); the Forest Industry (8%); Wines (6%), Seafood (3%) and Services and Other (2)%. During the first six months of 2011, Chilean exports to the EU totaled US$ 8,010 million

Department of the National and International Press at ProChile

Source of statistical information: ProChile based on figures from Global Trade Atlas, the National Customs Service and the Banco Central de Chile.

Juan Paez, +56-2-827-5588, jpaez at

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