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Our relationship with Chile

Chile is one of New Zealand’s longest standing and closest friendships in Latin America. Both opened embassies in each other’s countries in 1972 and at Chile’s bicentennial in 2009 New Zealand gifted the Plaza Nueva Zelandia in Santiago as a symbol of this important relationship.  

There’s political cooperation with Chile as well as close contact in a number of multilateral forums. Business and commercial opportunities are promoted between the two countries particularly in agriculture and energy, education and there’s a working holiday exchange scheme for young people.

Political and foreign policy connections

The Foreign Ministers from both countries meet regularly to consult on a wide range of issues, and both countries are involved in a number of international forums focused common interests:

  • We share a common belief in trade liberalisation through the WTO, and are both are members of the Cairns Group, working toward freeing up agricultural trade.
  • Both countries are members of APEC, and share a vision of economic integration in the Pacific region.
  • New Zealand and Chile share interests in addressing climate change, sustainable management of fisheries (e.g. South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation; International Whaling Commission) and protection of Antarctica.
  • Chile and New Zealand work to address greenhouse gas emissions in the agricultural sector as members of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases and and Livestock Emissions Abatement Research Network.
  • Cooperation in agriculture includes the Primary Sector Cooperation Agreement 2004; New Zealand Trade and Enterprise’s pastoral farming project in agri-tech and food sectors; and New Zealand providing training for farm workers and managers from Chile.


2014 statistics

Total trade in goods 

$255 million


Exports to Chile

$145 million 

Top exports: cheese, butter and dairy spreads, seeds, fruit, and spores for sowing

Imports from Chile

$110 million

Top imports: plywood, copper wire, non-dissolving chemical wood pulp, soda, or sulphate


US$258 billion

GDP per capita US $14,477 (NZ GDP per capita is US$43,837)
GDP growth  1.8%  

New Zealand and Chile produce similar products at the same time of year so trade in goods between the two countries is modest. However, Chile is a significant destination for New Zealand investment, particularly in the agricultural and energy sectors. Fonterra owns a 99.4% share of Soprole, Chile’s largest dairy processor. We also have significant farming investments in southern Chile, eg New Zealand company Manuka purchased Chile’s largest farm (19,000ha) in March 2008.

Trade in services has become a significant part of our relationship with Chile. In education, Chile is an important source of students for New Zealand - 856 Chileans studied here in 2013. Under the Chilean programme “Penguins without Borders” New Zealand has hosted more than 240 secondary students.

There's strong potential for growth in tourism services, helped by LAN airline's Santiago to Auckland route.

Free trade agreements with Chile

We have regional free trade agreements that include Chile:

We're also negotiating another regional free trade agreements that include Chile:

Working Holiday Scheme

New Zealanders aged between 18 and 35 can apply for a 12-month working holiday visa for Chile.

To apply, you can go to the Embassy of Chile in Wellington.


The New Zealand Aid Programme's work in Chile focuses on agricultural training.

Read about the New Zealand Aid Programme in Latin America


Recent official visits

New Zealand to Chile
  • 2015: Prime Minister’s Special Envoy Jim McLay visited Chile to exchange views on the United Nations Security Council
  • 2015: Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce visited Chile with an education delegation
  • 2014: Minister Paula Bennett visited Chile to attend the inauguration of President Bachelet
  • 2014: Education Minister Hekia Parata visited
Chile to New Zealand
  • 2013: Economy Minister Pablo Longuiera visted New Zealand 
  • 2011: Labour Minister Evelyn Matthei visited New Zealand to focus on industry training
  • 2010: Environment Minister Maria Ignacia Benitez visited New Zealand to focus on environmental cooperation