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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 26, 1997


U.S. - Chile Trade Relations

At the 1994 Summit of the Americas in Miami, President Clinton committed to completing a comprehensive free trade agreement with Chile, working with our North American partners. Since then, both countries have made progress towards this goal, deepening their trade relations and achieving mutual gains.

U.S. exports to Chile in 1996 totaled US$4.1 billion placing Chile above the large emerging markets of India, Indonesia and Russia in value. The largest U.S. export items to Chile have been machinery and mechanical appliances, transportation equipment, chemicals and plastics.

Bilateral trade relations are growing rapidly: Compared with 1990, U.S. exports to Chile have increased 148 percent and imports have risen 72 percent. U.S. imports from Chile in 1996 were US$2.26 billion resulting in a surplus for the United States of US$1.9 billion.

Chile has a uniform tariff of 11 percent ad valorem and no quantitative restrictions. A comprehensive free trade agreement with Chile would not only reduce these tariffs, but also yield gains for the U.S. in additional areas such as intellectual property rights, market access for services and technical barriers to trade. Also, issues such as greater access for U.S. agricultural products and sanitary and phytosanitary matters would be addressed.

Chile has pursued open markets in its international relations and is achieving gains from trade. Primarily, Chile has sought bilateral trade agreements with countries in Latin America and Asia and with the European Union. Most notably, Chile has trade agreements with U.S. NAFTA partners Mexico and Canada. Chile has concluded an agreement with Mercosur, the Southern Cone Common Market. As a result, Chile will eliminate its tariffs on most products from Mercosur countries, including Brazil and Argentina, within the next decade.

Chile has grounded its successful open market approach in a solid domestic economic performance that is sustainable. Chile has a particularly high rate of domestic savings and investment. In addition, it has a strong record of job creation and poverty reduction.

Chile's success in maintaining free markets at home and encouraging open markets abroad make it a strong partner for the U.S. in furthering President Clinton's vision of economic progress in the hemisphere.

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