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3.4 Trade Regulations

Eligibility for Conducting Foreign Trade

Chile’s import system is based on the principle that all goods may be freely imported and anyone may engage freely in international trade transactions. As such, importers are not subject to any registration requirements. However, they are required to hire an accredited customs broker to enter the merchandise if the FOB value of such merchandise is higher than US$1,000. The use of a customs broker is not mandatory in several other instances, including if the merchandise is entered into a free trade zone, if it is imported as part of a donation in the event of a catastrophe or national disaster, or in cases of express shipments of up to US$1,000 in FOB value.

Customs brokers must be Chilean nationals and be accredited by the National Director of Customs.

Import Taxes

Products imported into Chile for consumption are generally subject to the following taxes: (i) import duties; (ii) value-added tax; (iii) excise taxes for certain products; and (iv) other charges.

Import Duties

Chile affords at least most favoured tariff treatment to all its trading partners. Virtually all imports are subject to an MFN duty of 6% ad valorem. The only exceptions are certain poultry products classified under HS heading 0207, which are subject to a 15.6% duty rate, and certain items of HS headings 4901, 4906, 4907, 8401, 8710, 8802, 8901, 8902 and 8906, which are afforded duty-free treatment. Duties are calculated based on the value of the cost of the good, plus its insurance and freight (CIF). Chile also applies a price band system to calculate duties for certain agricultural products, including wheat, wheat flour and sugar, resulting in higher applied tariffs, and maintains tariff rate quotas on an MFN basis for certain refined sugar (whereby in-quota imports are afforded duty-free treatment).

Used goods bear a surcharge of 50% above the relevant import duty, resulting in a combined duty of 9%. Goods exempt from this additional duty include used ambulances, armoured cars, public-road-cleaning vehicles, mobile homes, prison vans and cement-making vehicles.

Value-Added Tax

Chile applies a value-added tax of 19% on domestic and foreign goods and services. For imports, VAT is assessed on the basis of the CIF value of the merchandise plus all applicable import duties. Certain donations and imports of certain national defence and public security goods made by the Ministry of Defence and the armed forces are not subject to VAT. Imports of certain capital goods for investment purposes may also receive an exemption from VAT.

Excise Taxes

Chile also applies excise taxes on certain merchandise, as shown in the table below.



Assessment Basis

Articles made of gold, platinum and ivory; jewellery, synthetic or natural precious stones; fine furs; fine rugs and tapestries; caviar; airguns; and motor homes


CIF value + import duty



CIF value + import duty

Mineral water, artificial non-alcoholic drinks and syrups


CIF value + import duty

Wine, champagne, cider and beer


CIF value + import duty

Liqueurs, pisco, whiskey and distilled beverages


CIF value + import duty



Retail price



Retail price

Manufactured tobacco


Retail price

Source: Servicio Nacional de Aduanas.

Other Charges

Customs may apply an inspection and verification charge in instances where the importer itself requests a physical and documentary examination of the merchandise or when the import documentation includes omissions or is otherwise incomplete.

Import Restrictions


Chile maintains an open import regime and applies only a handful of restrictions on imported merchandise. The importation of certain classes of merchandise may be prohibited or restricted for health, safety or environmental reasons or to comply with domestic or international requirements. The Chilean government also has the authority to restrict imports from countries that impose restrictions on Chilean products.

Chile prohibits the importation of the following products.



Used vehicles, with the exception of fire lorries, ambulances, armoured cars, mobile homes, cement-making vehicles, street and highway-cleaning vehicles, prison vans and other specialised vehicles

Environmental protection

Used motorcycles

Environmental protection

Used or retreaded tyres


Asbestos in any of its forms

Health and safety



Toxic industrial waste

Environmental protection

Animals and plants in danger of extinction

Environmental protection

Products containing CFCs

Environmental protection

Goods hazardous to animals, agriculture or human health, including certain agricultural pesticides; toys and childcare articles containing toluene; and adhesives containing volatile solvents

Health and environmental protection

Goods prohibited by the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture or other public institutions


Source: Servicio Nacional de Aduanas. WTO.

Quotas and Licensing Requirements

Chile does not have any import quotas in place, nor does it impose any licensing requirements on imports or have any pre-shipment inspection requirements. However, certain goods require approval or certification prior to importation while other goods require approval or certification for customs clearance. Information on these products is provided below.


Legal Basis

Goods that require approval or certification prior to importation

Firearms, munitions, explosives and chemical substances, inflammables and asphyxiates

General Directorate of Recruitment and Mobilisation of the Armed Forces, Law No. 17.798

Facilities for the production, storage or deposit of firearms

General Directorate of Recruitment and Mobilisation of the Armed Forces, Law No. 17.798

Enriched elements or materials, fissile or radioactive, radioactive substances, devices or tools that emit ionic radiation 

Chilean Nuclear Energy Commission, Decree No. 323/1974 of the Ministry of Economy

Maps, geographical maps and others depicting international borders and borders of the national territory

Directorate of Frontiers, Decree with Force of Law No. 5/1967

Written or audiovisual material, related to martial arts for teaching purposes

General Directorate for National Mobilisation,  Article 5 of  Law No. 18.356

Goods that require approval or certification for customs clearance

Alcohol, alcoholic beverages and vinegar

Agricultural and Livestock Service., Article 1 of Law No. 18.164

Plant products and products that may be dangerous to plants

Agricultural and Livestock Service, Article 1 of Law No. 18.164

Animals, birds, products, sub-products and remains of animal or plant origin

Agricultural and Livestock Service, Article 1 of Law No. 18.164

Fertilisers and pesticides

Agricultural and Livestock Service, Article 1 of Law No. 18.164

Food products or sub-products of animal or vegetal origin

Agricultural and Livestock Service, Article 1 of Law No. 18.164

Food products

Health Service, Article 2 of Law No. 18.164

Toxic substances or substances that are dangerous to health

Health Service, Article 2 of Law No. 18.164

Pharmaceutical products, food for medical or cosmetic use

Health Service, Article 2 of Law No. 18.164

Narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances that cause addiction

Health Service, Article 2 of Law No. 18.164

Hydro-biological resources in any state of growth, including ornamental species

Sub-secretary of Fisheries, Decree No. 175/1980 of the Ministry of Economy.

Fish products

National Fisheries Services, Article 28 of Decree with Force of Law No. 5 /1983

Cinematographic and video-cassette films for commercial sale or use

Council of Cinematographic Ratings, Art. 12 of Decree-Law 679/1974

Wild fauna and flora protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species


Source: Servicio Nacional de Aduanas.

Radio-transmitting equipment also requires prior authorisation in order to be able to use a transmission band in Chile.

Trade Remedies

1. Anti-dumping (AD)/Countervailing (CV)

Chilean authorities believe that antidumping and countervailing duties should only be imposed under exceptional circumstances and have called for a revision of the WTO Anti-dumping Agreement within the framework of the Doha Development Round. Chile has been extremely restrained in its use of trade remedies and had no AD or CV duty orders in place on imports from Hong Kong or mainland China as of 30 November 2008.

Law No. 18.525 allows the imposition of AD and CV duties on imports of goods “whose entry into the country causes or threatens to cause serious injury to the domestic industry by entering at reduced prices as a result of artificial conditions in the respective home markets of the exporters”. AD and CV duties can be imposed for a maximum of one year but a new investigation can be initiated if the National Commission for Investigations on Price Distortions through Imports considers that there is evidence for the duty to be maintained.

The Commission carries out investigations related to all aspects of AD and CV measures and is composed of the National Economic Prosecutor’s Office, two representatives of the Central Bank of Chile, one representative respectively of the Ministries of Finance, Agriculture, Foreign Relations and the Economy; and the National Director of Customs.

The Commission conducts an investigation if the complainant can provide evidence of a distortion (dumping or the existence of a subsidy) and the manner in which it causes or threatens material injury to the Chilean industry.  Complaints can be submitted by any industry group or in the name of any industry group. The Commission may also conduct investigations on its own initiative when it possesses information that justifies so doing.

The Commission must publish a notice of initiation in the Diario Oficial (Chile’s Federal Register) no later than five business days after it receives an AD or CV complaint. Interested parties must submit all applicable information within 30 days from the date of publication of the notice of initiation. Before reaching a decision, the Commission must also hear the arguments of interested parties, at their request. The Commission must reach a AD/CV determination no later than 90 days from the date of publication of the notice of initiation.

If the Commission considers that, on the basis of available information, it is possible to establish the existence of price distortions and that these distortions cause or threaten to cause material injury to the affected domestic industry, this is stated in its decision recommending the establishment of AD or CV duties.  The AD and/or CV duty proposed by the Commission must not exceed the margin of distortion, which is calculated by comparing dumped with non-dumped imports. The Commission may also recommend to the President the application of provisional duties.

2. Safeguards

Chile’s President has the authority to apply ad valorem tariff surcharges through a Supreme Decree of the Ministry of Finance, subject to a favourable report by the National Commission. The Commission must reach a final determination within 90 days from the initiation of the investigation on whether imports of a product have increased in such volume and under such conditions as to cause or threaten to cause serious injury to domestic producers of like or directly competitive products. If the Commission reaches an affirmative determination, it submits a resolution to the President recommending the application of tariff surcharges. In critical circumstances where delay would cause damage that would be difficult to repair, the Commission may request the President to apply provisional tariff surcharges within a period of 30 days from the initiation of the investigation. The President makes the final decision in any event.

The surcharges may not be applied for more than one year. This period may be extended by the President for one additional year, subject to a favourable report by the Commission.

Chile did not have any safeguard measures in place as of 30 June 2008. The most recent measure, a 23 percent provisional tariff surcharge on imports of certain milk and milk products from Argentina, was applied from December 2006 through July 2007.

Product Standards/Certification Requirements

Chilean standards and technical regulations do not distinguish between foreign and domestic goods. Technical regulations, which are mandatory, are issued by government institutions with competence in the specific area to be regulated. Such regulations take the form of laws, decrees or resolutions and are published in the Official Gazette. Standards, on the other hand, are voluntary and are adopted through consensus among parties from both the public and private sectors who are invited to participate in the consultations. The National Institute for Standardisation (INN), a private foundation and affiliate of the inter-agency Corporation for Production Promotion (CORFO), has overall responsibility for the elaboration of standards. Once a standard has been approved by the INN Council, it is given official status by the relevant ministry by means of decree or resolution and is published in one of the principal newspapers. INN also accredits organisations that issue quality certificates attesting that export products comply with international norms. Chile is a member of the Pan-American Standards Commission (COPANT), the International Organisation for Standardisation, the Inter-American Metrology System (SIM) and the Interamerican Accreditation Cooperation (IAAC).

Chile has issued well over 1,000 technical regulations covering a broad spectrum of products. Some of the more relevant technical regulations are briefly summarised below.

Electrical Products

According to Supreme Decree 298/2005 of the Ministry of Economy, electrical products and products that use fuels are subject to mandatory certification before they can be sold in the domestic market. These products include, but are not limited to, household appliances, electrical tools, electrical conductors, measuring apparatus, lamps and ovens and other cooking equipment. Importers and domestic producers must certify these products in accordance with one of several certification models, which are based on the ISO/CASO Guide “Assessment and verification of conformity to standards and technical specifications”. The certification process is carried out by an authorised certification body, which will perform type-testing, batch-testing or any other testing as appropriate and issue a certificate of approval if the product complies with all applicable requirements.

In instances where electrical products cannot be certified by an authorised certification body, the Superintendence of Electricity and Fuels (Superintendencia de Electricidad y Combustibles - SEC) may authorise the sale of such products if they have been certified by a foreign certification authority and meet certain other requirements. However, only six such authorisations have been issued to date, covering products certified in either the United States or the European Union. The SEC may also approve the sale of electrical products that have been certified by accredited foreign certification authorities and bear the applicable conformity mark, after any applicable type or batch testing has been performed.


Decree 114/2005 of the Ministry of Health established a range of safety and labelling requirements for toys. Toys must be designed and manufactured in a way that minimises the risk of potential injury resulting from the movement of toy components or from contact with edges, protruding sides, ropes, cables or bindings. In general, toys may not pose any strangulation, suffocation or cut hazard. Toys (including any loose components and accessories) designed for children younger than three years of age must be sufficiently large not to be ingested or inhaled. Toys designed to transport or support a child in an aquatic environment must be designed and manufactured in a way that minimises the risk of sinking of the toy or a loss of support or stability by the child, while toys that enclose a child in a confined space must have an easy exit system that can be opened by the child from the inside. For their part, toys that provide mobility to the user must, to the extent possible, incorporate a braking system that can respond to the kinetic energy generated by the toy. The shape and composition of toy projectiles and the kinetic energy generated by these projectiles when launched from a toy must be such that no bodily harm is caused to the user or the person at whom the projectiles are directed. Toys with heat-generating components must comply with certain requirements regarding maximum temperature.

Toys such as costumes, capes, toy houses and tents, masks and wigs must be made with materials that do not burn when exposed to a flame, spark or any other fire source. If this is not feasible, these toys must be made with a slow-burning material with a low degree of flammability.

Toys must be designed and manufactured in such a way that their ingestion, inhalation or contact with the skin, mucosa or eyes does not represent a hazard for children. The daily bioavailability of certain substances as a result of toy use must not exceed the following.

  • Antimony – 0.2 micrograms.
  • Arsenic – 0.1 micrograms.
  • Barium – 25 micrograms.
  • Cadmium – 0.6 micrograms.
  • Chromium – 0.3 micrograms.
  • Lead – 0.7 micrograms.
  • Mercury – 0.5 micrograms.
  • Selenium – Five micrograms.

Chilean authorities are considering a proposal that would require imported toys to include a certification from the country of origin attesting compliance with the daily bioavailability requirements described in the paragraph above.

Toys must not include any hazardous substances of preparations in quantities that may negatively affect the health of children. Such substances are allowed if they are required for the operation of certain toys (e.g., chemical experiments for children), provided certain conditions are met. Solvents used in the production of toys must be removed from the finished product to prevent any residue from having an adverse effect on children’s health. In the case of toluene, its residual concentration on toys may not exceed 170 parts per million (170 milligrams of toluene per kilogramme), as measured with the headspace method. Imported toys must include a certification from the country of origin attesting compliance with the toluene requirements.

Toys that operate with electricity must not have an electrical current in excess of 24 volts. Toy parts or components that may come in contact with an electrical source must be appropriately protected and isolated. These toys may not reach temperatures that could pose a burn hazard to users. 

Decree 114/2005 also established a range of labelling requirements for toys. These requirements are summarised in the section on Labelling.

Cosmetics and Pharmaceuticals

Imports of cosmetics and pharmaceuticals into Chile must obtain an authorisation from the Ministry of Health and be registered with the National Health Service (Instituto de Salud Pública) prior to their commercialisation, as per Decrees 239/2002 and 1876/1995 of the Ministry of Health. Cosmetics and pharmaceuticals must comply with all applicable requirements. For example, cosmetics may not incorporate some 451 substances and colour additives. Chilean regulations allow the use of more than 8,500 substances, preservatives, colour additives and sun filters in cosmetics. Some substances are permitted up to certain maximum concentrations.


The production, importation, warehousing and distribution of food and beverages must comply with certain sanitary requirements. These requirements cover such issues as permitted ingredients and their respective concentrations, disclosure of nutritional information, labelling requirements and maximum concentrations of hazardous substances. Among many other things, the sanitary regulations include a list of additives that can be used in food, maximum concentrations/levels for certain heavy metals, radionuclides, mycotoxins (aflatoxin and zearalenone), pesticides and veterinary drugs, and provisions regarding contamination with hazardous micro-organisms. Metals subject to maximum concentrations include arsenic, cadmium, copper, tin, iron, mercury, lead, selenium and zinc. These maximum concentrations vary from product to product.

Importers are required to obtain two separate certificates from Chilean health authorities (SEREMI de Salud) in order to be able to import and commercialise foodstuffs. Applications may be accepted or rejected, depending on whether the products at hand can be imported into Chile and comply with all applicable sanitary requirements. First, a customs certificate (Certificado de Destinación Aduanera) is necessary to transport the imported foodstuffs from a customs facility to an authorised warehouse. Second, the importer must request an authorisation to use and commercialise or otherwise dispose of the merchandise (Autorización de Uso y Disposición). After considering the epidemiological risk, food composition, import history and any prior infractions, the health authorities may: (i) grant an authorisation without inspecting or testing the merchandise; (ii) perform an inspection without testing any samples; or (iii) perform an inspection and test samples of the imported merchandise.  


Chile has labelling regulations in place for a wide range of products. Some of these labelling requirements are summarised below.


Supreme Decree 17/2006 of the Ministry of Economy established new labelling regulations for footwear effective from 1 May 2007. The regulations apply to all footwear commercialised in Chile with the exception of safety and toy footwear, which are regulated separately. Footwear must be labelled with the following information in Spanish: (1) size; (2) country of origin; (3) materials used in the upper, outersole and lining; and (4) importer’s or domestic producer’s name and tax identification. The information described in points (1) through (3) must be provided by means of a permanent and indelible marking or by sewing a printed or embroidered label to the footwear. The information described in point four must be provided by using one of these two methods or by using a self-adhesive label or attaching a label to the footwear. In all cases, the required information must be firmly secured to at least the right-foot unit and be presented in a visible and easily accessible form and in easily legible characters.

The term “cuero” (leather) can only be used for footwear components that are wholly made of this material. If any components are made from synthetic materials, the label must indicate the generic name of that material (e.g., polyurethane, PVC). The generic name must also be used in the case of textile or any other materials. The term “fibra de cuero aglomerada” (agglomerated leather fibre) should be used if one or more footwear components are made from materials obtained from the bonding of leather fibres or scrap. Terms like “cuero sintético” (synthetic leather), “sustituto de cuero” (leather substitute) or “cuero reconstituido” (reconstituted leather) are not acceptable.

In instances where one or more components are made from a combination of materials (including various kinds of synthetic and textile materials), the label must include the generic name of the material that accounts for at least 80 percent of that component as well as the actual content percentage. If no single material accounts for at least 80 percent, the label must include the generic names of the two materials with the largest preponderance with their corresponding content percentages in descending order. Alternately, if no content percentages are shown, the component can be labelled as synthetic.

For purposes of determining the content percentage of uppers and linings, the surface of that component must be considered without regard to accessories or reinforcements such as edging, ankle patches, ornamentation, buckles, tabs, eyelet stays or similar attachments.

According to the regulations, the footwear must be labelled in the country of origin and, in the case of importations, the requirements must be met upon submission of the import declaration. However, as per Oficio Circular of 11 May 2007, Chilean Customs provided some additional flexibility for importers to incorporate any missing labelling information at a special facility.

In Oficio Circular 180 of 21 June 2007, Chilean Customs provided several examples of footwear that is not commercialised in Chile and is therefore not subject to the labelling requirements. These examples include the following.

  • Slippers imported by hotel chains to be used by hotel guests. The upper and lining of this kind of footwear is typically made from cotton towel and the sole is made from ethylene vinyl acetate. For importations involving these items, Chilean Customs will require a sworn declaration attesting that the merchandise will be consumed by hotel guests and will not be commercialised in Chile.
  • Footwear purchased through the Internet strictly for personal use, which generally arrives in Chile by courier.
  • Footwear samples with no commercial value, provided those samples comply with the requirements of heading 0019 of Section 0 of the Harmonised Tariff Schedule of Chile.
  • Footwear classified as a gift of no commercial value under heading 0023, with an FOB value not exceeding US$50.

Textiles and Apparel

Textiles and apparel must comply with the labelling requirements set forth in Decree 26/1984 of the Ministry of Economy. Apparel products, with the exception of socks and hosiery, must bear labels with the following information: the producer’s or importer’s name or registered brand; the country of origin; the product’s size; the product’s fibre content indicated in percentage terms; care instructions; any special finishing characteristics, such as “no encoje” (does not shrink) or “inarrugable” (does not wrinkle); and any other information of use to the consumer. Used apparel of foreign origin must include the following information: country where the apparel was imported from; name of the importer; size; and language centred on the label indicating that the apparel is used (i.e., “ropa usada”, or used clothing). Labels must be printed or embroidered, sewn to the apparel, made of a material of compatible characteristics with the apparel fabric to which they are attached, and be able to withstand wet or dry cleaning as appropriate.

Fabrics must carry two or more hanging labels firmly linked to each end of the piece or roll with the following information: the producer’s or importer’s name or registered brand and address; the commercial name of the fabric; the country of origin; the finished fabric’s total width in centimetres; the product’s fibre content indicated in percentage terms; any special finishing characteristics, such as “no encoje” (does not shrink) or “inarrugable” (does not wrinkle); care instructions; and, if the finished fabric has been determined to be faulty, the term “con fallas” (faulty) must be printed on the fabric. In addition to the labels, the producer may also include markings on the edge of woven fabrics.

Labels must be made from paperboard or another appropriate material and the information contained therein must be in Spanish and in easily legible characters.

Care labels must include information pertaining to the washing, bleaching, ironing and dry cleaning of textiles and apparel. This information must be presented in Spanish or by means of care symbols.


Labelling requirements for toys are set forth in Decree 114/2005 of the Ministry of Health. The information included in toy labels or toy packaging must be accurate and be provided in Spanish; misleading statements regarding the nature and characteristics of the toy in question should be avoided. The following information must be provided: the generic name of the product when that product cannot be fully identified by the consumer; the name and address of the producer or importer; the country of origin; a legend or symbol indicating the manufacturer’s recommended age for use of the product; and the following warning whenever necessary – “advertencia, se debe utilizar bajo vigilancia de un adulto” (warning, this product must be used under adult supervision).

Toys that are clearly inappropriate for use by children younger than three years of age must include the following warning: “ADVERTENCIA, NO APROPRIADO PARA NIÑOS MENORES DE 3 AÑOS” (Warning, inappropriate for children younger than three years of age). Toys with small parts that can be ingested and/or inhaled by children younger than three years of age must add the following statement to the previous warning: “CONTIENE PARTES PEQUEÑAS” (contains small parts).

Toys designed to transport or support a child in an aquatic environment must include a warning indicating that the toy must be used under adult supervision. This warning must be indelible and its colour must stand in clear contrast to the colour of the body of the toy. Scientific toys must include a range of information, while toys that require special precautions due to a flammability hazard (including costumes, capes, toy houses and tents, masks, wigs, etc.) must include a statement in their packaging warning consumers of the dangers of using such products near a fire. Lastly, toys that ought to be handled with special precautions must be accompanied by a manual or set of instructions, which must include clear and precise instructions regarding the use of the product as well as any necessary warnings.

The required labelling information may be added to imported toys in Chile, after the customs clearance of the toys but before their commercialisation.

Packaged Food Products

Imported food products for sale in Chile must display the country of origin. Packaged food must be marked to show the quality, purity, ingredients or mixture, as well as the net weight or measure of the contents. Canned or packaged foodstuffs must bear labels in Spanish for all ingredients, including additives, the dates of manufacture and expiry, and the name and address of the producer or importer. In addition, labels must include usage and storage instructions as appropriate, nutritional information, quality grade information whenever required, and the number and date of the official resolution and governmental entity authorising the importation of the product.

All sizes and weights of the net contents must be converted into metric units; goods that do not comply with these measurements may be imported but may not be sold to consumers until the conversion is made. The required labelling information must not contain any misleading information and must be presented in characters that are clear, visible, indelible and easy to read by the consumer.

Plastic Products

Imported plastic products must include information identifying, at a minimum, the importer and the country of origin. Such information may be included on a label adhered to the product and/or be provided through of any of the methods described in Decree 197/1987 of the Ministry of the Economy (the appropriate method varies depending on the product).

Portable Fire Extinguishers

Decree 369/1996 of the Ministry of Economy sets forth labelling requirements for portable fire extinguishers. Among other things, fire extinguishers must be painted in red and labelled in Spanish in indelible and easily legible characters. Labels must include a range of information regarding the characteristics of the cylinder and extinguisher as well as use instructions.


All imports must be accompanied by an import declaration, which must contain a range of information including: the identity of the importer or consignee, shipper and exporter; a description of the merchandise (weight or quantity, unit price, HS code); the importer’s tax identification number; the country of origin and the country of purchase of the merchandise; the mode of transportation and ports of lading and unlading; and the CIF value for customs purposes. In addition, the following documents must be submitted with the import declaration: the original bill of lading; the original commercial invoice; a sworn declaration by the importer of the customs value for import declarations exceeding US$5,000 in FOB value; the mandate for the customs broker; a certificate of origin if preferential treatment is claimed; a packing list whenever applicable (a sworn declaration by the exporter can be used if a packing list is not available); an insurance certificate if the value of the guarantee is not included in the commercial invoice; a bill of costs when costs are not included in the commercial invoice; and permits, visas, approvals and/or certifications whenever applicable.

The importer must hire an accredited customs broker to enter the merchandise if the FOB value of the merchandise is higher than US$1,000. Otherwise, the importer can enter the merchandise on its own, by providing certain information to be included in the import declaration and submitting the original bill of lading, the commercial invoice, a power of attorney from the owner or the consignee if a third party is entering the merchandise, and any required approvals or certifications.

Temporary Entry and Samples

Good entered into Chile under the temporary admission system (admisión temporal) are liable for payment of customs duties. The duty is based on the number of days for which the merchandise is admitted. For temporary admission of 1 to 15 days the duty is 2.5% of the normal duty, for 16 to 30 days 5%, for 31 to 60 days 10%, for 61 to 90 days 15%, for 91 to 120 days 20% and for more than 121 days 100%.

The following merchandise is exempt from these provisions (the maximum temporary admission period varies from item to item).

  • Merchandise entered for exhibitions sanctioned or sponsored by the government.
  • Clothing, decorations, machinery, apparatus, tools, musical instruments, vehicles and animals for theatrical, circus or other similar performances.
  • Vehicles and personal effects used in temporary trips by tourists or residents of special customs zones.
  • Cattle complying with certain conditions.
  • Foreign tax stamps entered into Chile for re-exportation.
  • Certain items used by transportation companies unloaded for washing or mending.
  • Vehicles used for the international transportation of persons and merchandise.
  • Containers and similar metallic packing receptacles.
  • Movies and videos for TV stations.
  • Foreign civilian aircraft.
  • Other merchandise as determined by the National Director of Customs.

Products classified under the following HS chapters and headings do not qualify for temporary entry: headings 0301 through 0304, 0306, 0307, 0401, 1506 through 1517 and 1101; and chapters 2, 6, 8 and 19.

Chilean Customs accepts “ATA Carnets” for goods being brought into Chile under temporary entry.

The National Director of Customs, with the approval of the Ministry of the Treasury, may establish special temporary entry regimes (admisión temporal para perfeccionamiento activo) for raw materials, parts, components or semi-finished goods to be transformed, assembled, integrated, elaborated or undergo any other finishing operations in specially designated locations in plants or factories, provided the finished good is exported within a certain time period.

Samples with no commercial value are admitted duty-free under tariff items 0019.0100 (samples for international official fairs) or 0019.8900 (all other). Tariff item 0019.0100 is limited to sample materials valued at no more than US$200 FOB per exhibitor that are needed to make a demonstration of the operation of machinery or equipment exhibited at international fairs.

Chile operates a general drawback system, which is available to all exporters who have used imported inputs. Exporters are reimbursed for import duties paid on all imports incorporated or consumed during the production process.  Payments of surcharges and CV duties are not reimbursed. Chile also maintains a simplified duty drawback system, that is, a simplified refund of 3% of the FOB value of exports. This refund is granted exclusively on exports that include at least 50% of imported inputs. Certain merchandise is specifically excluded from the simplified drawback system.

Exchange Controls

Chile does not impose any limits on the total amount of currency derived from trade operations that can be exported/imported to/from the country. Chilean exporters and importers with a total export or import value of US$5 million or higher on an FOB basis in any single year are required to provide certain information to Chile’s Central Bank.

As regards foreign investment flows, foreign investors have the choice between two statutes when bringing capital into Chile – a special voluntary investment regime (Foreign Investment Statute) and the Central Bank's Compendium of Foreign Exchange Regulations – although most foreign investment enters the country under the provisions of the Foreign Investment Statute. Under this statute, applications submitted by investors for foreign investment are subject to authorisation by the Foreign Investment Committee, which accepts or rejects applications and establishes the terms and conditions for the relevant investment contracts. If the Committee rejects an application because it considers the application concerns short-term speculative investment, the capital may still enter Chile under Chapter XIV of the Central Bank’s Compendium for Foreign Exchange Regulations.

Chapter XIV of the Central Bank’s Compendium of Foreign Exchange Regulations establishes rules for investment (including portfolio investment), capital contributions and foreign credit. Under Chapter XIV, the Central Bank is not allowed to reject foreign investments although it may impose conditions based on its monetary policy on the transfer of funds into and out of Chile, such as a one-year retention requirement. 






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