Volume 44, Number 174,
July-September 2013
Colombia: Commercial Integration
and Trade Imbalances in the Pacific Basin
Jaime Torres

Colombia’s primary export pattern in the first decade of the century is similar to that of other Latin American nations, as can be seen in Figures 12 and 13. According to eclac, even countries with a relatively high content of industrial exports, such as Brazil, have fallen in the realm of manufactured good exports. Argentina has maintained an industrial export rate of nearly 30% of the total, while in Chile, Venezuela,11 Ecuador and Colombia, primary exports gained preference at the start of the century. Factors such as: 1) improved prices and terms of exchange for primary products over the past years, 2) growing foreign mining investment, 3) the re-evaluation of currencies in South America, 4) reduced growth for national industrial sectors and 5) low levels of technological innovation in broad and informal economic sectors in these countries, have been key in defining the productive patterns of Latin America towards economic reprimarization.

Figure 12. Latin American Manufacturing Exports, 1970-2010

Source: http://websie.eclac.cl/anuario_stadístico/anuario_2011/esp/content_es.asp, consulted on July 20, 2012.

Figure 13. Latin American Manufacturing Exports, 1970-2010

Source: http://websie.eclac.cl/anuario_stadístico/anuario_2011/esp/content_es.asp, consulted on July 20, 2012.

Central American nations such as Costa Rica and El Salvador show a rather different pattern, where manufacturing exports grew over this same time period. Mexico has also experienced this trend since 1990 when it joined nafta. The capacity of these industries to absorb an important part of the widespread informal sectors in these nations will soon be apparent. East Asian countries managed to absorb a significant portion of their agricultural and urban laborers at the end of the twentieth century, and climb the ladder of technological development (Brülhart and Thorpe, 1999).12

11 eclac did not provide information on manufacturing exports from Venezuela starting in 2007.

12 See: http://www.hec.unil.ch/mbrulhar/papers/apjeb98b.pdf, consulted on July 20, 2012.

Published in Mexico, 2012-2017 © D.R. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).
PROBLEMAS DEL DESARROLLO. REVISTA LATINOAMERICANA DE ECONOMÍA, Volume 49, Number 192, January-March is a quarterly publication by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, CP 04510, México, D.F. by Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas, Circuito Mario de la Cueva, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán,
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