Winners and Losers in Latin American Trade

How LatAm countries stack up in trade


Chile’s openness makes it the only Latin American nation in the global top 10 for enabling trade, according to the World Economic Forum’s Enabling Trade Report 2014. Chile boasts the lowest average import tariff in the world (3.5%) and provides the most open market. However, one challenge is transport infrastructure where the country ranks a lowly 64th of the nations surveyed.

Mexico scores reasonably well on market access and benefits from the fact that the vast majority of the country’s imports enter free of duty (ranking 16th on this measure). However, key infrastructure like railroads and postal services lack efficiency, as do public institutions (128th.) Meanwhile, poor physical security (130th) plagues Mexico’s operating environment.

Brazil’s market access is generally poor with high tariff rates (117th.) The availability and use of information technology is a competitive advantage, with mobile phone connectivity and Internet use by business and government notably good. However, corruption, bureaucracy, and low physical security (103rd) hold the nation back.

Argentinian importers benefit from simple, albeit relatively high, domestic tariffs. Other advantages include high levels of connectivity. Major challenges include border administration, insufficient protection of property rights, poor access to finance, and restrictive regulations governing foreign investors. goldbrown2

This article first appeared on the World Economic Forum Agenda and was republished with permission.

Mark Jones is Commissioning Editor of The World Economic Forum Agenda.

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