Asia-Latin America: Damaged goods

Nov 1, 2012

Latin America has become ever more dependent on commodities exports to Asia – some fear at the expense of boosting the productivity of its own domestic industries

By Ivan Castano

That Asia's rise has been transformative for Latin America is nothing new.

As the main source of growth for the region's exports, trade with Asia has meant high growth for many countries across Latin America â€" in many cases, without the need for measures to boost productivity.

But companies and investors are now urging authorities in Latin America to do more to shift the pattern of commerce, while improving the quality of trade and investment between the regions â€" especially as demand grows for competitive manufactured goods and not just raw materials.

Trade between the two regions hit $442 billion in 2011, according to the Inter-American Development Bank, and is poised to grow sharply in the coming years.

Latin America's exports to Asia are forecast to exceed $230 billion by 2017, up from $180 billion in 2011, according to research firm IHS Global Insight. At the same time,...

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“The crisis has been a setback for reserve diversification."

Jan Dehn, Ashmore Investment Management