Chile

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PAGE LAST UPDATED ON NOVEMBER 15, 2011
Flag of Chile
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Location of Chile
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Map of Chile
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OF CHILE
 

Introduction

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Prior to the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, the Inca ruled northern Chile while the indigenous Mapuche inhabited central and southern Chile. Although Chile declared its independence in 1810, decisive victory over the Spanish was not achieved until 1818. In the War of the Pacific (1879-83), Chile defeated Peru and Bolivia and won its present northern regions. It was not until the 1880s that the Mapuche Indians were completely subjugated. After a series of elected governments, the three-year-old Marxist government of Salvador ALLENDE was overthrown in 1973 by a military coup led by Augusto PINOCHET, who ruled until a freely elected president was installed in 1990. Sound economic policies, maintained consistently since the 1980s, have contributed to steady growth, reduced poverty rates by over half, and have helped secure the country's commitment to democratic and representative government. Chile has increasingly assumed regional and international leadership roles befitting its status as a stable, democratic nation.
 
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Geography

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Southern South America, bordering the South Pacific Ocean, between Argentina and Peru
 
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30 00 S, 71 00 W
 
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total: 756,102 sq km
country comparison to the world: 38
land: 743,812 sq km
water: 12,290 sq km
note: includes Easter Island (Isla de Pascua) and Isla Sala y Gomez
 
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slightly smaller than twice the size of Montana
 
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total: 6,339 km
border countries: Argentina 5,308 km, Bolivia 860 km, Peru 171 km
 
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6,435 km
 
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territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200/350 nm
 
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temperate; desert in north; Mediterranean in central region; cool and damp in south
 
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low coastal mountains; fertile central valley; rugged Andes in east
 
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lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Nevado Ojos del Salado 6,880 m
 
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copper, timber, iron ore, nitrates, precious metals, molybdenum, hydropower
 
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arable land: 2.62%
permanent crops: 0.43%
other: 96.95% (2005)
 
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19,000 sq km (2008)
 
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922 cu km (2000)
 
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total: 12.55 cu km/yr (11%/25%/64%)
per capita: 770 cu m/yr (2000)
 
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severe earthquakes; active volcanism; tsunamis
volcanism: Chile experiences significant volcanic activity due to the more than three-dozen active volcanoes situated within the Andes Mountains; Lascar (elev. 5,592 m), which last erupted in 2007, is the most active volcano in the northern Chilean Andes; Llaima (elev. 3,125 m) in central Chile, which last erupted in 2009, is another of the country's most active; Chaiten's 2008 eruption forced major evacuations; other notable historically active volcanoes include Cerro Hudson, Copahue, Guallatiri, Llullaillaco, Nevados de Chillan, Puyehue, San Pedro, and Villarrica
 
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widespread deforestation and mining threaten natural resources; air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage
 
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party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
 
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strategic location relative to sea lanes between Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (Strait of Magellan, Beagle Channel, Drake Passage); Atacama Desert is one of world's driest regions; the crater lake of Ojos del Salado is the worlds highest lake (at 6,390m)
 
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People and Society

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noun: Chilean(s)
adjective: Chilean
 
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white and white-Amerindian 95.4%, Mapuche 4%, other indigenous groups 0.6% (2002 census)
 
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Spanish (official), Mapudungun, German, English
 
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Roman Catholic 70%, Evangelical 15.1%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.1%, other Christian 1%, other 4.6%, none 8.3% (2002 census)
 
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16,888,760 (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 59
 
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0-14 years: 22.3% (male 1,928,210/female 1,840,839)
15-64 years: 68.1% (male 5,751,091/female 5,744,014)
65 years and over: 9.6% (male 680,450/female 944,156) (2011 est.)
 
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total: 32.1 years
male: 31.1 years
female: 33.1 years (2011 est.)
 
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0.836% (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 131
 
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14.33 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144
 
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5.97 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 162
 
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0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 82
 
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urban population: 89% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: 1.1% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
 
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SANTIAGO (capital) 5.883 million; Valparaiso 865,000 (2009)
 
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at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2011 est.)
 
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26 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)
country comparison to the world: 118
 
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total: 7.34 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 163
male: 8.1 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 6.55 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)
 
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total population: 77.7 years
country comparison to the world: 57
male: 74.44 years
female: 81.13 years (2011 est.)
 
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1.88 children born/woman (2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144
 
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8.2% of GDP (2009)
country comparison to the world: 52
 
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1.09 physicians/1,000 population (2003)
country comparison to the world: 100
 
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2.1 beds/1,000 population (2009)
country comparison to the world: 97
 
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improved:
urban: 99% of population
rural: 75% of population
total: 96% of population
unimproved:
urban: 1% of population
rural: 25% of population
total: 4% of population (2008)
 
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improved:
urban: 98% of population
rural: 83% of population
total: 96% of population
unimproved:
urban: 2% of population
rural: 17% of population
total: 4% of population (2008)
 
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0.4% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 76
 
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40,000 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 61
 
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NA
 
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21.9% (2003)
country comparison to the world: 19
 
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0.5% (2008)
country comparison to the world: 120
 
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4% of GDP (2008)
country comparison to the world: 103
 
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 95.7%
male: 95.8%
female: 95.6% (2002 census)
 
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total: 15 years
male: 15 years
female: 15 years (2008)
 
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total: 22.6%
country comparison to the world: 39
male: 21.5%
female: 24.4% (2009)
 
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Government

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conventional long form: Republic of Chile
conventional short form: Chile
local long form: Republica de Chile
local short form: Chile
 
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republic
 
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name: Santiago
geographic coordinates: 33 27 S, 70 40 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins third Sunday in August; ends second Sunday in May; note - the end of DST was delayed until 8 May 2011 due to the ongoing energy crisis
note: Valparaiso is the seat of the national legislature
 
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15 regions (regiones, singular - region); Aisen del General Carlos Ibanez del Campo, Antofagasta, Araucania, Arica y Parinacota, Atacama, Biobio, Coquimbo, Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins, Los Lagos, Los Rios, Magallanes y de la Antartica Chilena, Maule, Region Metropolitana (Santiago), Tarapaca, Valparaiso
note: the US does not recognize claims to Antarctica
 
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18 September 1810 (from Spain)
 
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Independence Day, 18 September (1810)
 
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11 September 1980, effective 11 March 1981; amended several times
 
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civil law system influenced by several West European civil legal systems; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court
 
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has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
 
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18 years of age; universal and compulsory
 
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chief of state: President Sebastian PINERA Echenique (since 11 March 2010); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Sebastian PINERA Echenique (since 11 March 2010)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
elections: president elected by popular vote for a single four-year term; election last held on 13 December 2009 with runoff election held on 17 January 2010 (next to be held in December 2013)
election results: Sebastian PINERA Echenique elected president; percent of vote - Sebastian PINERA Echenique 51.6%; Eduardo FREI 48.4%
 
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bicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional consists of the Senate or Senado (38 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve eight-year terms; one-half elected every four years) and the Chamber of Deputies or Camara de Diputados (120 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate - last held on 13 December 2009 (next to be held in December 2013); Chamber of Deputies - last held on 13 December 2009 (next to be held in December 2013)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CPD 9 (PDC 4, PPD 3, PS 2), APC 9 (RN 6, UDI 3); Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - APC 58 (UDI 37, RN 18, other 3), CPD 57 (PDC 19, PPD 18, PS 11, PRSD 5, PC 3, other 1), PRI 3, independent 2
 
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Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (judges are appointed by the president and ratified by the Senate from lists of candidates provided by the court itself; the president of the Supreme Court is elected every three years by the 20-member court); Constitutional Tribunal (eight-members - two each from the Senate, Chamber of Deputies, Supreme Court, and National Security Council - review the constitutionality of laws approved by Congress)
 
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Broad Social Movement or MAS; Clean Chile Vote Happy or CLVF (including Broad Social Movement, Country Force, and Regionalist Party of Independents or PRI); Coalition for Change or CC (formerly known as the Alliance for Chile (Alianza) or APC) (including National Renewal or RN [Carlos LARRAIN Pena], Independent Democratic Union or UDI [Juan Antonio COLOMA Correa], and Chile First [Vlado MIROSEVIC]); Coalition of Parties for Democracy (Concertacion) or CPD (including Christian Democratic Party or PDC [Ignacio WALKER], Party for Democracy or PPD [Carolina TOHA Morales], Radical Social Democratic Party or PRSD [Jose Antonio GOMEZ Urrutia], and Socialist Party or PS [Osvaldo ANDRADE]); Partido Ecologista del Sur; Together We Can Do More (including Communist Party or PC [Guillermo TEILLIER del Valle], and Humanist Party or PH [Danilo MONTEVERDE])
 
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Roman Catholic Church, particularly conservative groups such as Opus Dei; United Labor Central or CUT includes trade unionists from the country's five largest labor confederations
other: revitalized university student federations at all major universities
 
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APEC, BIS, CAN (associate), CD, FAO, G-15, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAES, LAIA, Mercosur (associate), MIGA, MINUSTAH, NAM, OAS, OECD, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, SICA (observer), UN, UNASUR, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNMOGIP, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Arturo FERMANDOIS Vohringer
chancery: 1732 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 785-1746
FAX: [1] (202) 887-5579
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Juan (Puerto Rico)
 
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chief of mission: Ambassador Alejandro D. WOLFF
embassy: Avenida Andres Bello 2800, Las Condes, Santiago
mailing address: APO AA 34033
telephone: [56] (2) 330-3000
FAX: [56] (2) 330-3710, 330-3160
 
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two equal horizontal bands of white (top) and red; a blue square the same height as the white band at the hoist-side end of the white band; the square bears a white five-pointed star in the center representing a guide to progress and honor; blue symbolizes the sky, white is for the snow-covered Andes, and red represents the blood spilled to achieve independence
note: design was influenced by the US flag
 
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huemul (mountain deer); Andean condor
 
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name: "Himno Nacional de Chile" (National Anthem of Chile)
lyrics/music: Eusebio LILLO Robles and Bernardo DE VERA y Pintado/Ramon CARNICER y Battle
note: music adopted 1828, original lyrics adopted 1818, adapted lyrics adopted 1847; under Augusto PINOCHET"s military rule, a verse glorifying the army was added; however, as a protest, some citizens refused to sing this verse; it was removed when democracy was restored in 1990
 
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Economy

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Chile has a market-oriented economy characterized by a high level of foreign trade and a reputation for strong financial institutions and sound policy that have given it the strongest sovereign bond rating in South America. Exports account for more than one-fourth of GDP, with commodities making up some three-quarters of total exports. Copper alone provides one-third of government revenue. During the early 1990s, Chile's reputation as a role model for economic reform was strengthened when the democratic government of Patricio AYLWIN - which took over from the military in 1990 - deepened the economic reform initiated by the military government. Since 1999, growth has averaged 4% per year. Chile deepened its longstanding commitment to trade liberalization with the signing of a free trade agreement with the US, which took effect on 1 January 2004. Chile claims to have more bilateral or regional trade agreements than any other country. It has 57 such agreements (not all of them full free trade agreements), including with the European Union, Mercosur, China, India, South Korea, and Mexico. Over the past seven years, foreign direct investment inflows have quadrupled to some $15 billion in 2010, but FDI had dropped to about $7 billion in 2009 in the face of diminished investment throughout the world. The Chilean government conducts a rule-based countercyclical fiscal policy, accumulating surpluses in sovereign wealth funds during periods of high copper prices and economic growth, and allowing deficit spending only during periods of low copper prices and growth. As of September 2008, those sovereign wealth funds - kept mostly outside the country and separate from Central Bank reserves - amounted to more than $20 billion. Chile used $4 billion from this fund to finance a fiscal stimulus package to fend off recession. In December 2009, the OECD invited Chile to become a full member, after a two year period of compliance with organization mandates, and in May 2010 Chile signed the OECD Convention, becoming the first South American country to join the OECD. The economy started to show signs of a rebound in the fourth quarter of 2009, and GDP grew more than 5% in 2010. Chile achieved this growth despite the magnitude 8.8 earthquake that struck Chile in February 2010, which was one of the top ten strongest earthquakes on record. The earthquake and subsequent tsunamis it generated caused considerable damage near the epicenter, located about 70 miles from Concepcion - and about 200 miles southwest of Santiago. The Chilean Ministry of Finance estimates the total immediate losses were close to 17% of GDP.
 
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$257.9 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 46
$245 billion (2009 est.)
$249.2 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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$203.3 billion (2010 est.)
 
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5.3% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 64
-1.7% (2009 est.)
3.7% (2008 est.)
 
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$15,400 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 73
$14,800 (2009 est.)
$15,100 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
 
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agriculture: 5.1%
industry: 41.8%
services: 53.1% (2010 est.)
 
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7.918 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 58
 
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agriculture: 13.2%
industry: 23%
services: 63.9% (2005)
 
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7.1% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 73
9.6% (2009 est.)
 
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11.5% (2009)
 
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lowest 10%: 1.5%
highest 10%: 42.5% (2009)
 
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52.1 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 17
57.1 (2000)
 
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20.9% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 102
 
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revenues: $45.65 billion
expenditures: $46.26 billion (2010 est.)
 
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22.5% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 135
 
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-0.3% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 48
 
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9.2% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 122
6.2% of GDP (2009 est.)
 
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1.4% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 42
1.5% (2009 est.)
 
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3.12% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 137
0.5% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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4.753% (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138
7.25% (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$34.39 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 53
$26.22 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$190.5 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 39
$160.3 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$160.7 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 41
$144.7 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$341.6 billion (31 December 2010)
country comparison to the world: 29
$209.5 billion (31 December 2009)
$132.4 billion (31 December 2008)
 
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grapes, apples, pears, onions, wheat, corn, oats, peaches, garlic, asparagus, beans; beef, poultry, wool; fish; timber
 
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copper, lithium, other minerals, foodstuffs, fish processing, iron and steel, wood and wood products, transport equipment, cement, textiles
 
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-0.4% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 150
 
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60.28 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 43
 
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56.35 billion kWh (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 42
 
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0 kWh (2009 est.)
 
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818 million kWh (2009 est.)
 
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10,640 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 85
 
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302,700 bbl/day (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 42
 
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52,390 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 78
 
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305,100 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 34
 
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150 million bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 64
 
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1.35 billion cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 61
 
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2.84 billion cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 75
 
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0 cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 76
 
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1.49 billion cu m (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 53
 
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97.97 billion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 54
 
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$3.802 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 39
$2.57 billion (2009 est.)
 
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$71.03 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 42
$54 billion (2009 est.)
 
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copper, fruit, fish products, paper and pulp, chemicals, wine
 
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China 23.8%, Japan 10.2%, US 10%, Brazil 6%, South Korea 5.9% (2010)
 
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$55.17 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 48
$39.89 billion (2009 est.)
 
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petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, electrical and telecommunications equipment, industrial machinery, vehicles, natural gas
 
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US 17%, China 13.6%, Argentina 8.5%, Brazil 7.9%, South Korea 5.8%, Japan 5%, Germany 4% (2010)
 
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$27.83 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 51
$25.29 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$96.57 billion (30 June 2011 est.)
country comparison to the world: 44
$84.03 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
 
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$137.4 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 27
$121.6 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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$49.69 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 33
$41.2 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
 
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Chilean pesos (CLP) per US dollar -
525.34 (2010)
560.86 (2009)
509.02 (2008)
526.25 (2007)
530.29 (2006)
 
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Communications

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3.458 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 45
 
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19.852 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 43
 
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general assessment: privatization begun in 1988; most advanced telecommunications infrastructure in South America; modern system based on extensive microwave radio relay facilities; domestic satellite system with 3 earth stations
domestic: number of fixed-line connections have stagnated in recent years as mobile-cellular usage continues to increase, reaching a level of 100 telephones per 100 persons
international: country code - 56; landing points for the Pan American, South America-1, and South American Crossing/Latin America Nautilius submarine cables providing links to the US and to Central and South America; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2009)
 
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national and local terrestrial television channels, coupled with extensive cable TV networks; the state-owned Television Nacional de Chile (TVN) network is self-financed through commercial advertising revenues and is not under direct government control; large number of privately-owned TV stations; about 250 radio stations (2007)
 
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.cl
 
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1.056 million (2010)
country comparison to the world: 43
 
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7.009 million (2009)
country comparison to the world: 39
 
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Transportation

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366 (2010)
country comparison to the world: 22
 
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total: 84
over 3,047 m: 5
2,438 to 3,047 m: 8
1,524 to 2,437 m: 23
914 to 1,523 m: 24
under 914 m: 24 (2010)
 
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total: 282
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 12
914 to 1,523 m: 50
under 914 m: 217 (2010)
 
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gas 3,064 km; liquid petroleum gas 517 km; oil 895 km; refined products 768 km (2010)
 
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total: 7,082 km
country comparison to the world: 28
broad gauge: 3,435 km 1.676-m gauge (850 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 3,647 km 1.000-m gauge (2010)
 
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total: 80,505 km
country comparison to the world: 59
paved: 16,745 km (includes 2,414 km of expressways)
unpaved: 63,760 km (2004)
 
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total: 48
country comparison to the world: 71
by type: bulk carrier 11, cargo 10, chemical tanker 8, container 1, liquefied gas 2, passenger 4, passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker 8, roll on/roll off 1
foreign-owned: 1 (Norway 1)
registered in other countries: 48 (Argentina 6, Belize 1, Brazil 1, Cyprus 1, Isle of Man 8, Liberia 7, Panama 17, Singapore 7) (2010)
 
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Coronel, Huasco, Lirquen, Puerto Ventanas, San Antonio, San Vicente, Valparaiso
 
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Military

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Army of the Nation, Chilean Navy (Armada de Chile, includes Naval Aviation, Marine Corps, and Maritime Territory and Merchant Marine Directorate (Directemar)), Chilean Air Force (Fuerza Aerea de Chile, FACh), Carabineros Corps (Cuerpo de Carabineros) (2011)
 
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18-45 years of age for voluntary male and female military service, although the right to compulsory recruitment is retained; service obligation - 12 months for Army, 22 months for Navy and Air Force (2008)
 
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males age 16-49: 4,324,732
females age 16-49: 4,251,954 (2010 est.)
 
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males age 16-49: 3,621,475
females age 16-49: 3,561,099 (2010 est.)
 
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male: 141,500
female: 135,709 (2010 est.)
 
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2.7% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 53
 
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Transnational Issues

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Chile and Peru rebuff Bolivia's reactivated claim to restore the Atacama corridor, ceded to Chile in 1884, but Chile has offered instead unrestricted but not sovereign maritime access through Chile to Bolivian natural gas; Chile rejects Peru's unilateral legislation to change its latitudinal maritime boundary with Chile to an equidistance line with a southwestern axis favoring Peru, in October 2007, Peru took its maritime complaint with Chile to the ICJ; territorial claim in Antarctica (Chilean Antarctic Territory) partially overlaps Argentine and British claims; the joint boundary commission, established by Chile and Argentina in 2001, has yet to map and demarcate the delimited boundary in the inhospitable Andean Southern Ice Field (Campo de Hielo Sur)
 
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transshipment country for cocaine destined for Europe and the region; some money laundering activity, especially through the Iquique Free Trade Zone; imported precursors passed on to Bolivia; domestic cocaine consumption is rising, making Chile a significant consumer of cocaine (2008)
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