Trade barriers

Government authorities

What government office handles complaints from domestic exporters against foreign trade barriers at the WTO or under other agreements?

The Directorate General of International Economic Relations (Direcon) (www.direcon.gob.cl/la-institucion/), which is under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Complaint filing procedure

What is the procedure for filing a complaint against a foreign trade barrier?

There is no formal investigation process for such complaints.

Grounds for investigation

What will the authority consider when deciding whether to begin an investigation?

The authority addressing a complaint will likely take into consideration the complaint’s merits and the evidence presented to substantiate it, the interests of other Chilean importers or exporters, the broader political relationship between Chile and the country or territory in question, and the remedies available to address the barrier.

Measures against foreign trade barriers

What measures outside the WTO may the authority unilaterally take against a foreign trade barrier? Are any such measures currently in force?

In the event of acts, policies or practices of the government of a country that adversely affect, or lead directly or indirectly to adverse effects on, trade in goods or services of Chile, the government may take measures including suspension or withdrawal of statutory rights or privileges granted to that country or imposition of a surtax on its goods. In the event that it is not possible to agree on proper compensation with a country that has applied a safeguard measure, Law 18,525 authorises the President of the Republic to apply additional duties applicable to goods exported from the other country. Currently there are no measures in force.

Private-sector support

What support does the government expect from the private sector to bring a WTO case?

Any assistance that reduces the government’s cost in proceeding with the case is likely to be welcome. The government will expect affected domestic private sector interests to provide relevant economic data and other evidentiary material that will substantiate the complaint. Assistance from qualified private sector counsel and experts in preparing and reviewing arguments and obtaining and reviewing evidence may have a bearing on whether the government proceeds with the case.

Notable non-tariff barriers

What notable trade barriers other than retaliatory measures does your country impose on imports?

Chile imposes strict sanitary and phytosanitary controls, mainly to protect Chilean agriculture. Chile maintains a price band system for wheat, wheat flour and sugar that, under several FTAs and following a WTO panel loss against Argentina, will be phased out for imports. Mixtures containing more than 65 per cent sugar content, such as high fructose corn syrup, are subject to the sugar price band system. The price band system guarantees a minimum and maximum import price for the affected products, adding a special tax to the tariff rate to raise the price to the minimum price. The government sets a minimum import price that is normally higher than both international and Chilean domestic prices. Since 2008, the minimum price has been adjusted downward by 2 per cent per year. The export or import process requires every company operating in the country to contract the services of a customs agent. The customs agent is the link between the exporter or importer and the National Customs Service. The customs agent’s mission is to facilitate foreign trade operations and to act as the official representative of the exporter or importer in the country. Customs agents’ fees are not standardised. This is an extra cost borne by non-Chilean companies operating in the country. However, companies established in any of the Chilean duty-free zones are exempt from the obligation to use a customs agent when importing or exporting goods.