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Preliminary estimates by IDB for 2000 show strong recovery of Western Hemisphere trade flows

Trade within the Americas grew by 20 percent during 2000, according to preliminary estimates released by the Integration and Regional Programs Department of the Inter-American Development Bank.

As in previous years, intrahemispheric exports have remained more dynamic than the Western Hemisphere’s total exports, which grew by 17 percent with respect to 1999.

After a steep decline in 1998, and sluggish growth in 1999, Latin American exports expanded by a record 23 percent in 2000, with intraregional exports growing even faster, by 26 percent compared with 1999.

All subregional integration groups in Latin America, with the exception of the Central American Common Market (CACM), show strong recovery in 2000 in terms of both total and intra-group exports. Growth has been particularly impressive in those subregions that suffered most from the effects of the recent global financial crisis. Fueled by rising oil prices, Andean Community exports to the world increased by 37 percent in value terms this year, while the group’s intraregional exports were up 29 percent.

In Mercosur, the Southern Common Market, the recovery in exports appears to have been driven mostly by the group’s intra-regional trade (up 21 percent) and by its exports to North American markets (up 27 percent). The group’s total exports expanded by 16 percent.

For the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) countries, intraregional and total exports followed a similar pattern, growing by 20 and 16 percent, respectively. Figures for the CACM suggest that the group’s total exports will remain surprisingly flat this year, while its intraregional exports will grow by 10 percent, much slower than trade within all other sub-regions.

These and other data on the region’s recent trade performance will be published in the December 2000 issue of the IDB Integration Department’s Periodic Note on Integration and Trade in the Americas.

In addition to examining the evolution of trade flows in the past decade in Latin America and the Caribbean and presenting preliminary estimates for 2000, the Periodic Note also reviews recent progress in all major trade and integration initiatives in the Americas. Specific chapters of this year’s Periodic Note are dedicated to a review of the U.S. Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI), LAC trade relations with the European Union, and physical infrastructure in South America.

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