Selling to the Government
The U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement (FTA) calls for open tendering, including the name of the supplier and the value of the contract. The FTA provisions cover all non-construction procurements by over twenty Chilean central government entities, as well as local government agencies. The agreement also calls for non-discriminatory “national treatment” for either country’s suppliers. Tender opportunities should be published at least thirty days in advance and technical specifications or requirements should be performance-based. The agreement further establishes an impartial authority to review any challenges filed against specific procurement awards.
ChileCompra, the Government of Chile procurement website, was established in March 2000 to serve as the central source for all Chilean government procurement, including the armed forces. The site is administered by the ChileCompra Directorate to increase transparency, enhance opportunities, and reduce government procurement costs. In 2022, ChileCompra facilitated more than $15 billion in purchases, a 3.9 percent increase over 2021.
To participate in public tenders, all companies, local and foreign, must register free of change on MercadoPublico. All bidders must post a bank and/or guarantee bond, usually equivalent to ten percent of the total bid, to ensure compliance with specifications and delivery dates. Bidding is best done through a local agent who is registered, well connected, and familiar with Chilean government bidding procedures.
U.S. companies bidding on Government tenders may also qualify for U.S. Government advocacy. A unit of the U.S. Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration, the Advocacy Center coordinates U.S. Government interagency advocacy efforts on behalf of U.S. exporters bidding on public sector contracts with international governments and government agencies. The Advocacy Center works closely with our network of the U.S. Commercial Service worldwide and inter-agency partners to ensure that exporters of U.S. products and services have the best possible chance of winning government contracts. Advocacy assistance can take many forms but often involves the U.S. Embassy or other U.S. Government agencies expressing support for the U.S. bidders directly to the foreign government. Consult Advocacy for Foreign Government Contracts for additional information.
Financing of Projects
Chile has a well-developed Financial Services sector, and local banks have access to capital funds at competitive prices; therefore the activity of multilateral banks in the country resembles more developed countries.
Multilateral Development Banks and Financing Government Sales
Price, payment terms, and financing can be significant factor in winning a government contract. Many governments finance public works projects through borrowing from the Multilateral Development Banks (MDB). A helpful guide for working with the MDBs is the Trade Finance Guide. The U.S. Department of Commerce’s (USDOC) International Trade Administration (ITA) has a Foreign Commercial Service Officer stationed at each of the five different Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs): the African Development Bank; the Asian Development Bank; the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; the Inter-American Development Bank; and the World Bank.
Learn more by contacting the following:
- Commercial Liaison Office to the Inter-American Development Bank
- Commercial Liaison Office to the World Bank.