The Chilean-American Chamber of Commerce, AmCham Chile, was founded in Valparaíso on December 23rd 1918, making it one of the oldest Chambers of Commerce in the country. As party as the beginning of the last century, a small group of businessmen were astute enough to foresee the important rolethat trade with the United States would play for Chile over the coming years. Since it was founded, the Chamber has worked tirelessly to promote trade and investment between the two countries.
As the beginning of the 21th century, AmCham Chile played a significant role in supporting the negotiations to conclude the signing of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Chile and the United States in 2003. Thanks to its links to the US Chamber of Commerce and the American Association of Chambers of Commerce in Latin America (AACCLA), AmCham Chile proved to be instrumental in a role as a bridge between the private sectors of both countries. Likewise, it provided valuable information to members of the US Congress regarding the advantages of the Free Trade Agreement for the United States.
Currently, the United States is one of Chile’s main trading partners. Total trade between the two countries grew by 294% over a period of ten years, from US$6.564 billion in 2003 to US$25.844 billion in 2013.
Furthermore, the United States is the largest foreign investor in Chile, accounting for 26% of all foreign direct investment in Chile (between 1974 and June 2013). Regarding trade diversification, it is the number one destination country for Chilean exports.
In January 2015, total tariff exemption was secured for trade between the two countries.
During the visit of US President Barack Obama to Chile in 2011, the Chile-US Energy Business Council was created, with AmCham Chile selected to fulfill the role of its Executive Director. The goal of this Council is to develop the energy sector in both countries, by creating space for bilateral collaboration and discussion on issues relevant to the industry. This is being achieved by exchanging ideas, experiences and best practices, as well as facilitating the transfer of knowledge and strengthening business opportunities, in both Chile and the United States.
In 2008, the Chile-California Plan was established following its signing by President Michelle Bachelet and the Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger, during the Chilean President’s visit to the US state. AmCham Chile forms part of the Executive Council of this organization, which is made up of business leaders, academics and government representatives from both countries.
This non-profit organization aims to support and promote joint activities and collaborative relationships between Chile and California. Likewise, it backs the creation of a series of agreements for boosting cooperation for the development of human capital and encouraging innovation and collaboration in areas such as energy, the environment, agriculture and education.
AmCham Chile also forms part of the Executive Council of the Chile-Massachusetts Plan, established in 2011 following an agreement signed by President Sebastián Piñera and the Governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick. The areas of collaboration covered by the Plan include education, energy and biotechnology. This Council is made up of representatives from the public and private sectors of both Chile and the United States.