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ECLAC highlights China as Argentina''s top trade partner a pandemic

2020-08-07 10:21:52 Xinhua News Agency

ECLAC on Thursday spotlighted China as an important trade partner for ries in the region, such as Argentina.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) on Thursday spotlighted China as an important trade partner for countries in the region, such as Argentina.

Argentina's exports of primary goods to China have allowed the South American country to maintain a positive trade balance when the COVID-19 pandemic has depressed economies around the globe, according to ECLAC Executive Secretary Alicia Barcena.

"Exports to China are very important," Barcena told Xinhua in a videoconference call from Santiago, Chile, where the agency is based. The call was held to present "The Effects of COVID-19 on International Trade and Logistics" report.

The value of regional exports is projected to contract by 23 percent this year, with that of regional imports down by 25 percent, even worse than the 24-percent contraction registered during the 2008-2009 financial crisis, according to the report.

"The impact of the pandemic on Argentina's trade exchange has been very significant. Imports accumulated a 23-percent drop in the first half (of 2020) compared to the same period in 2019," Barcena said.

Argentina's decrease in imports "is mainly explained by the sharp drop in the level of (economic) activity," and lower demand for manufactured goods from neighboring Brazil and the rest of the region, she added.

The ECLAC forecasts Argentina's gross domestic product (GDP) will shrink 10.5 percent in 2020.

Argentine exports "also experienced a very significant drop of at least 11 percent in the same period, although less than that sustained in other countries in the region," said Barcena.

A breakdown of Argentine exports indicated that manufactured goods and fuel took the biggest hits, dropping by 34.5 percent and 24 percent, respectively, while exports of processed agricultural goods fell 8 percent.

However, Argentina's exports of primary products grew 14 percent.

"We see that exports of primary goods have suffered the least and are recovering faster," the executive said.

"Exports to China are very important. In the first six months they grew 21 percent year-on-year, while exports from Argentina to Mercosur (Southern Common Market), the European Union (EU) and the United States fell," Barcena noted.