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Latin America in Argentine exports: The importance of the regional market in the quality of international integration

Publication date: 
Monday 2 December 2013
Daniel Berrettoni

Over the last three decades, Latin America has doubled its share in Argentine exports, soaring from 20% to 40% of total Argentine exports to the world. Apart from this expansion of Latin America as market for Argentine products, qualitative aspects such as the composition and diversification of Argentine exports to the region play a very significant role in Argentine foreign trade.

Argentine exports to ALADI countries show a greater share of industrial products with a higher technological content as compared to exports to Rest of the world. In particular, exports to the regional market of medium-technology manufactures, such as Motor vehicles, stand out, accounting for 25% of total exports. In contrast, primary products and manufactures based on natural resources stand out in the composition of the exports to Rest of the world, accounting for 83% of total exports and for only 50% of exports to ALADI countries.

On the other hand, exports to ALADI countries include many more products and show a much greater level of product diversification as compared to exports to Rest of the world. There are a considerable number of products which are dependent on the region (either because they are only sold to said market or because the greater volume of exports to the world is destined to that region). Among these products, some high-technology manufactures stand out.

Within ALADI countries, significant differences in Argentine exports can be observed. Some destinations show a higher level of diversification and a low relative share of manufactures based on natural resources (MERCOSUR countries, Mexico and Bolivia), whereas others (such as Peru and Colombia) show a profile which is more similar to extra-regional markets, with a greater concentration and a high share of manufactures based on natural resources.

Lastly, the analysis of the main products exported to ALADI markets shows that Argentina has high relative preferences in the Brazilian market in relation to its competitors. In contrast, in countries such as Uruguay and Paraguay, in spite of the high preferences, Argentina has a preferential access which is very similar to that of products coming from other countries. In turn, in markets such as Chile, Mexico and Peru, Argentine products compete on an equal footing with their competitors in terms of tariff preferences.

(Full text only available in Spanish).