Although Chile's economy has been expanding over the past 15 years, it began to experience a slowdown in 1998 that lasted throughout most of 1999. Positive GDP growth in the beginning of 2000 marked the official end of the recession with growth projections being estimated at 6 percent. Since Chilean growth is heavily reliant on exports, concentrated mainly in primary products and processed natural resources, the country is extremely vulnerable to a decreased demand by other countries, which invariably lowers the prices of these commodities and slows the country's growth. However, continued foreign investment and government policies, designed to stimulate the economy, are expected to lead to a sustainable recovery.
In general, the international community is not concerned about the slight recession of the Chilean economy. Nevertheless, the Chilean government is watching the market carefully to ensure that the economy remains strong and continues to grow. As such, Chile is likely to continue with its free trade negotiations, having launched exploratory trade talks in early 2000 with the European Union. It has also expressed strong interest in becoming a full member of MERCOSUR. The political and economic situation in Chile looks promising and is likely to carry the country to increased growth and success for years to come.