Beyond Bananas: Amazing Exports from Spanish-Speaking Countries
Latin American exports range from handicrafts to vehicles. Do you know what an export is and why intergovernmental agreements reduce costs for consumers? Want to discover the top exports from Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America? ¡Vámonos!
Spanish-speaking countries are leaders in exports around the world! Check out these interesting facts:
- Ecuador is the largest exporter of bananas.
- Argentina is the 6th largest exporter of wheat.
- Colombia exports the 2nd largest amount of coffee worldwide.
- Chile is the world’s largest exporter of copper ore, followed by Peru.
- The largest exporters of cut flowers are Colombia and Ecuador (after the Netherlands).
- Argentina is the largest wine producer in Latin America.
- Mexico is the top exporter of avocados and papayas in the world.
- Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves with more than 300 billion barrels.
- Argentina is the 2nd largest exporter of corn in the world (after the U.S.).
What is an Export?
An export is a tangible or intangible item that is transferred from one country to another. Exports can be transported via container ship, airplane, or electronically, in exchange for money or other compensation.
Trade Agreements in Spanish-Speaking Countries
Latin America’s largest trading partners are the United States, China, Germany, Japan, and Canada. International trade agreements streamline trade between countries. These agreements outline rules covering tariffs (import/export taxes), trade barriers, sanitary measures, etc. They aim to increase efficiency and ensure that consumers get the lowest price possible.
Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America are part of trade blocs, or intergovernmental trade agreements. There are many other smaller trade agreements in place, but the major players are:
North American Free Trade Agreement: a trade agreement among the United States, Mexico, and Canada.
The Southern Common Market is a regional common market made up of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Their main trade partner is the European Union.
The Pacific Alliance is a trade bloc involving Chile, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, and 55 observer states. Their primary trade partners are in Asia.
Pros and Cons of Trade Blocs
Trade agreements are implemented to allow the movement of goods across borders and reduce unnecessary costs, which benefits importers, exporters, and consumers. They give smaller countries a voice in the global marketplace.
However, trade agreements have drawbacks including loss of independence in decision-making and economic power for individual nations, increased outsourcing of jobs, and degradation of natural resources to meet global demands.
Exports from Spanish-Speaking Countries
The most commonly known exports from Spanish-speaking countries are bananas and coffee. Lots of other fascinating exports also come from Latin America!
Top Products Exported by Spanish-Speaking Countries
|Exporting Country||Value of Exports (2019 data, in USD)||Unique Country Exports|
|Mexico||$472.3 billion||electronics, vehicles and auto parts, oil, silver, plastics, cotton|
|Spain||$333.6 billion||machinery, vehicles, pharmaceuticals, medicines|
|Chile||$75.5 billion||copper, fish products, paper and pulp, wine, chemicals|
|Argentina||$61.6 billion||wheat, soybeans, maize, barley, rice, sugarcane, flax seed, grapes, beef, cotton, wine, gold|
|Peru||$47.2 billion||copper, gold, zinc, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, machinery, fish meal|
|$41.8 billion||live trees and cut flowers, coal briquettes, plastics, vehicles|
|Venezuela||$34.9 billion||crude oil and petroleum products, tropical fruit, rice, pork, fish, corn|
|Ecuador||$21.6 billion||cut flowers, cacao, crude oil and its derivatives, crustaceans, processed fish|
|Panama||$11.9 billion||aircraft spare parts, cement, shrimp, coal tar oil, passenger and cargo ships, gold|
|Costa Rica||$11.3 billion||medical devices, pharmaceuticals, financial outsourcing, software development, ecotourism|
|Guatemala||$11 billion||cardamom, electricity, precious stones, knit sweaters and t-shirts, bananas, coffee, sugar|
(See more amazing start-ups from Guatemala!)
Benefits and Impacts of Exporting
Exporting increases the availability of resources. What would we do without coffee, bananas, and papaya?
However, its negative effects are significant. Accessing natural resources damages the earth. Forests are cut to make space available for grazing animals, for example. Small businesses can suffer financially from being taken advantage of by larger corporations.
We Are All Connected
Next time you buy something from the store, look at where it is made. You will find many things from Spanish-speaking countries! You’ll realize what a global economy we have.
Want to learn more about Spanish and Latin American history and culture? Check out these posts!
I began studying Spanish at age 11 and have been interested in language and culture ever since! While at university, I studied abroad in Spain and Costa Rica and got a B.A. in Environmental Economics with a minor in Spanish. After spending over a decade in corporate America, I now enjoy the simpler things in life. ¡Pura Vida!
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