Continued trade liberalization has made Chile’s economy one of the most
open and resilient
This third Trade Policy Review of Chile has been highly informative.
Through our dialogue with the Chilean delegation we have obtained a
better understanding of the trade-related policies and practices in
place and of changes affecting them over the last six years. We owe
this in considerable measure to the presence of a large Chilean
delegation, led by Vice-Minister Rosales and Ambassador Jara, to the
incisive comments of our discussant, Ambassador Groser, and to the
active involvement of many Members.
Members expressed support for Chile's liberalization policies since
its last Review in 1997. They welcomed Chile's generally transparent
and sector-neutral trade policies, sound macroeconomic strategy and
strong progress in reducing poverty. Chile's economy has thereby
become more resilient and closely integrated into global markets,
which allowed it to cope well with a number of external shocks over
the last six years.
The various autonomous, preferential and multilateral initiatives
Chile has taken to liberalize its trade and investment regimes have
been key elements in its economic strategy. Members highlighted
Chile's active and constructive participation in the multilateral
trading system, but encouraged it to improve predictability by
enhancing its tariff and service commitments in WTO. Members sought
further information on preferential initiatives, with some also
raising concerns about the increased complexity and effects on third
parties of Chile's growing number of preferential agreements.
Members noted Chile's almost uniform applied MFN tariff, and welcomed
the unilateral steps to reduce it to 6%. However, a number of Members
expressed concerns about possible distortions induced by the price
band system, which grants special protection to a small number of
agricultural goods. Several Members also requested details on changes
to bring the system into compliance with Chile's WTO obligations.
Questions were posed on customs procedures and valuation, with some
Members suggesting that Chile effect improvements and notify its legal
framework to the WTO. Members requested information on other measures
affecting imports, such as domestic taxes, contingency measures and
technical regulations. Members also sought clarification on the
omnibus law on WTO compliance; the foreign investment regime;
incentive schemes; state-owned enterprises; government procurement;
specific activities such as electricity, maritime transport and
financial services; and the protection of intellectual property
On sectoral policies, Members highlighted the sharp contrast between
Chile's general aim to foster efficiency through sector-neutral
policies, and the high assistance granted to the sugar industry. They
also sought information on other primary industries and on several
This brings us to the conclusion of our Review of Chile. I was
encouraged to hear that trade policy is at the heart of Chile's
development strategy, and that further reforms are sought through a
multi-dimensional strategy that has WTO at its core. A process of
continuous reforms has served Chile's interests well, and I trust
Chile will continue to take advantage of the multilateral trading
system to lock-in past changes, and as a catalyst for future reforms.
This will of course depend in good part on the success of our
collective efforts in the ongoing Doha Development Agenda, to which I
note Chile is making a very valuable contribution.