Globalized Chile: Connecting every corner of the earth

Chile’s location may not be close to key markets, but it has been ranked as the most connected country in all of South & Central America and the Caribbean according to DHL’s Global Connectedness Index 2018.

The Global Connectedness Index (GCI) is a detailed analysis of globalization, measured by international flows of trade, capital, information and people. In the latest release, Chile holds the 51st position.

Francisco Javier González Silva, Assistant Professor of Economics at the Faculty of Humanities at University of Santiago de Chile explains from the local’s perspective what’s behind the numbers.

How do you see Chile getting more globalized in everyday life?

Business opportunities in Chile have improved well during the last six years and attract many to our country. Migration has intensified from Latin America, European countries, North America and Asia, otherwise the free trade agreement between China and Chile has definitely had a positive effect as well. 

The country has several advantages in comparison to other Latin American countries or even to other continents. Take for example our privileged position in South America - from the north to the Chilean Antarctic we have access to South-East Asia, China, Africa, as well as the EU.

The government in cooperation with the private sector has been focusing strongly on supporting small and medium enterprises to expand abroad, institutions such as ProChile are promoting goods and services of Chile to boost foreign investment and tourism. 

Educational institutions are urging students to study a semester abroad to improve English and get some international experience. The amount of people doing so has been strongly increasing in the last years. 

From the cultural and societal aspect, Chile has been adopting more liberal values when it comes to religious tolerance. These days, Chile has become quite an individualized and open-minded society. 

What is the business environment in Chile like? Is there anything the country can offer that others can't?

In my point of view, Chile has globalized not only its economy but also culture. The last six years the country has seen a big wave of migration from Latin American countries, some escaping the humanitarian crisis for example in Venezuela and Haiti, as well as an increasingly large influx of tourists interested in our country and diversity of flora. 

Although the dynamism of the Chilean economy has slowed this year, mainly due to the U.S.-China trade war, the country continues to be attractive to foreign investors due to its political and social stability. We have a strong commercial network supported by 26 commercial agreements in 64 markets. It means that companies operating from Chile can reach 86.3% of the GDP world with privileged tariff conditions.

Our country is one of the 15th largest exporters in the agricultural world and has positioned more than 50 products in different markets in which it participates. For example, we are world leaders in the export of blueberries, cherries, grapes, prunes, dried apples, salmon, mussels, wine, and raspberries. 

In my opinion, our country is the most important travel destination for adventure tourism worldwide, offering astronomical observation in the world's driest desert, millenary glaciers in the southernmost areas of the planet, forests and lakes located at the foot of volcanos. Not to forget about our wine culture, challenging routes to climb and trend-setting Santiago that breathes modernity.

How would the country look like without globalization?

Despite the country's geographical position at the "end of the world", Chile is a globalized country - this process started in the early 1990s since the first period of democratic governments. In my opinion, it is very difficult to imagine Chile without globalization. We are so connected and take international trade very seriously. Our impact on negotiating the TPP-11 treaty that covers the Asia-Pacific economies has been huge. 

Yet the discussion among specialists and the Chilean Congress about the country's economic development model is lively and ongoing.  Some continue to support Chile's commercial opening, while others advocate the development of the national industry. 

It can be being said that Chile still has a way to go. The country has yet to close the gaps when it comes to equal access to services in relation to communications and media or overall higher standard of living. The globalization has reached the institutions and private companies, but I believe the benefits have not yet reached all the Chileans. Meribel Sinikalda

DHL Global Connectedness Index

Published: June 2019

Francisco Javier González Silva, Assistant Professor of Economics at the Faculty of Humanities at University of Santiago de Chile

Images: Istockphoto; Francisco Gonzales