EU-Latin America/Caribbean trade in facts and figures

The EU is the second economic partner for Latin America-Caribbean region. Bilateral trade amounts around €160billion annually. In 2007 the EU represented around 14% of Latin American exports. For the Caribbean the EU is even more important as an export destination with 19% of products shipped to the EU. These numbers are constantly rising.

Some facts and Figures

  • Key EU export products are machinery, transport equipment and chemicals. The EU imports mainly agricultural and energy products from Latin America.
  • Although the Latin American-Caribbean region represents almost 10% of the world's population, it only accounts for around 3% of the global GDP. All Latin American and Caribbean countries benefit from preferential access schemes for their exports to the EU market. The EU is also a large provider of development assistance to the region.
  • The EU is a huge investor in Latin America, which is relatively open to foreign investment. The EU is the largest investor in many Latin American countries. EU investment stocks in the region amount around €400bn, around 12% of total EU FDI. The EU also attracts FDI from Latin America, mainly from Brazil, Chile and Venezuela.
  • Although proximity makes the US a natural export market for the region, most Latin American countries have sought to diversify their economies away from dependence on the US market. This means seeking new markets in Europe and strengthening trade among the countries of Latin America via regional integration processes.
  • Both Chile and Mexico have concluded Free Trade Agreements with the EU which cover both trade and investment. Since these agreements are in place, bilateral EU trade with Mexico and Chile grew by 70% and 250% respectively.
  • The EU is also negotiating Free Trade Agreements with Central America (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Nicaragua) and the Andean Community (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru), which are designed both to boost trade with the EU but also to create regional markets among these countries. These negotiations were launched in 2007 and have made good progress.
  • The EU is also negotiating an FTA with Mercosur (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela). These talks are closely tied to the result of the Doha Round of WTO trade talks and have been temporarily suspended until greater clarity on the likely outcome of those negotiations is possible.
  • On December 17 2007 the European Commission initialled an Economic Partnership Agreement with Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Surinam, and Trinidad and Tobago (the CARIFORUM countries). The EPA fully opens the EU market to Caribbean exports and gradually opens the Caribbean market to new trade from the EU.
  • Trade in goods with the European Union is important for the 15 Caribbean ACP countries (Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Commonwealth of Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago). Caribbean exports to the EU have increased by more than 40% between 2004 and 2006 to over €4 billion, mainly due to the increase in fuel exports.
  • EU imports from CARICOM have traditionally been dominated by oil, aluminium oxide, rum, sugar, and bananas.

Also, on the coming 16th May 2008, 60 Heads of State and Government from the EU Member States, Latin America and the Caribbean will gather in Lima, Peru to celebrate the fifth EU-LAC Summit. Leaders from various countries will debate two key themes for the bi-regional agenda. Firstly poverty reduction and social cohesion and secondly environment, climate change and sustainable development.