MERCOSUR exports recover from the effects of the pandemic: 18.2% increase in 2022


MERCOSUR's goods exports surged by 18.2% in 2022, surpassing their 2019 levels by an impressive 43.9%, driven by soaring commodity prices linked to the Ukraine conflict. These figures were revealed in a new report by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). The report also disclosed that import values saw significant growth, with a 4.0% increase in the volume of external purchases and a 20.1% rise in import prices, leading to a 24.9% boost in import values for the subregion. The document emphasizes the need for strengthening internal integration for diversification and export growth in 2023.

ECLAC's report highlights the resilience of MERCOSUR's foreign trade in services, which fully rebounded in 2022, driven by tourism, modern services, and rising transportation costs. The recovery in services trade offset a 1.8% GDP decline in the bloc. However, 2023 presents fresh challenges, including sluggish global growth, declining export commodity prices, and ongoing international conflicts. Drought effects on agricultural production in Argentina and Uruguay may be offset by Brazil's strong performance.

ECLAC calls for an ambitious agenda to enhance regional integration, focusing on the potential of e-commerce. Overcoming regulatory obstacles, service import restrictions, cross-border platform purchases, and payment issues is essential to harness the opportunities. Improving connectivity, digital skills, logistics, trade facilitation, and financial inclusion are key areas of development to drive regional growth.

In conclusion, MERCOSUR's trade faces both opportunities and challenges in the post-pandemic era. Strategic measures, including digitalization and collaboration, are crucial for the region's economic growth and stability.