Beyond the copper sector

Chile’s engagement in international production networks

Abstract
Although international trade has been a major driver of Chile’s economic growth in the last decades,
exports remain highly concentrated in the mining and metals sectors (which capture copper products at
different levels of processing). This export specialization pattern reflects in Chile’s insertion in
international production networks, where it is positioned as an upstream provider of low and medium lowtechnology
inputs.
This document analyses Chile’s engagement in international value chains along the period 1995-
2014, providing evidence at both the aggregate and firm level. The data show that the bulk of the
intermediate inputs supplied by Chile to other countries’ exports are natural resource-based goods,
although some more technology-intensive industries have a significant participation in intra-regional
linkages (which represent a low share of the total). Chile’s forward linkages are also concentrated in terms
of exporting firms. For many sectors, intra-regional intermediate exports are more diversified at the firm
and product level than those oriented to extra-regional markets (particularly, China). Also, the proportion
of small and medium-sized exporters tends to be significantly higher among firms selling intermediates to
other Latin American and Caribbean countries.
In order to maximize the positive spillovers associated with GVC activities (e.g., productivity gains,
creation of high-quality jobs, skills and technology transfer to local firms, greater integration of small and
medium-sized enterprises), Chile needs to upgrade and diversify its participation in international value
chains through innovation and deeper regional integration, reducing its dependence on the copper sector.

Fuente: CEPAL

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