Foreign Trade

In 2001, foreign trade equaled about 18% of GDP--up from 11% in 1990--and plays an increasingly important role in Argentina's economic development. Still, exports represented only 10% of Argentine GDP, only slightly larger than 1990. Given the uncertainty caused by ongoing political volatility, the lack of financing caused by the financial crisis, and constantly changing trade regulations, exports may not increase as much as expected given the size of the devaluation.

The United States recorded trade surpluses with Argentina every year from 1993-2001, as Argentina's firms increased purchases of capital goods during that period. This trend reflects the Argentine Government's policy of encouraging modernization and improved competitiveness of industry through relatively lower tariffs on capital goods.

Although Argentina's trade patterns may be affected by the factors outlined above, its major export markets are likely to remain MERCOSUR countries, NAFTA countries, and the European Union. These same areas are likely to remain the principal sources of Argentina's imports as well.