Located mostly in the southern cone-shaped portion of South America, the Argentine Republic bought US$65.4 billion worth of imported goods in 2018. That dollar amount reflects a 0.8% gain since 2014 but a -2.2% downturn from 2017 to 2018.
From a continental perspective, over a third of Argentina’s total imports by value in 2018 were purchased from fellow Latin American countries excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean. Asian trade partners supplied 30% of import purchases by Argentina while 14% worth of goods originated from Europe. Smaller percentages came from exporters in North America (14%) and Africa (2%).
Given Argentina’s population of 44.7 million people, its total $65.4 billion in 2018 imports translates to roughly $1,500 in yearly product demand from every person in the South American country.
Argentina’s Top 10 Imports
The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Argentina’s import purchases during 2018. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Argentina.
- Vehicles: US$13.2 billion (19.8% of total imports)
- Machinery including computers: $9.9 billion (14.9%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $8.6 billion (12.9%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $5.5 billion (8.2%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $2.4 billion (3.6%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $2.4 billion (3.6%)
- Organic chemicals: $2.3 billion (3.5%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $1.8 billion (2.7%)
- Other chemical goods: $1.4 billion (2.2%)
- Iron, steel: $1.3 billion (1.9%)
Imported iron and steel had the fastest-growing increase in value among the top 10 import categories, almost doubling (up 92.7%) from 2017 to 2018.
In second place for boosted import purchases was vehicles via a 36.9% uptick led by higher purchases of foreign cars and trucks. Argentine imports of electrical machinery and equipment delivered the third-fastest gain, up 21.9%.
Organic chemicals was the laggard among the top 10 Argentine imports, improving by a modest 2.9% year over year.
Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level. Information presented under other virtual folder tabs is at the more granular 4-digit level.
At the more detailed four-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level, Argentina’s most valuable imported products are cars followed by auto parts or accessories, refined petroleum oils, soya beans, mobile phones, trucks, medication mixes in dosage, blood fractions including antisera, computers then electric motor parts.
In 2018, Argentine importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles.
- Cars: US$5.2 billion (down -16.8% from 2017)
- Automobile parts/accessories: $2.9 billion (up 0.5%)
- Trucks: $1.3 billion (down -36.8%)
- Tractors: $553.8 million (down -22.4%)
- Motorcycles: $500.9 million (down -18.3%)
- Motorcycle parts/accessories: $127.4 million (down -13.8%)
- Chassis fitted with engine: $78.8 million (down -50.8%)
- Public-transport vehicles: $58.1 million (down -62.1%)
- Special purpose vehicles: $42.6 million (down -46.4%)
- Trailers: $39.9 million (down -4.5%)
Among these import subcategories, only Argentine purchases of automobile parts or accessories (up 0.5%) expanded from 2017 to 2018.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of vehicles-related imports among Argentine businesses and consumers.
In 2018, Argentine importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery including computers.
- Computers, optical readers: US$731.2 million (down -35.6% from 2017)
- Engines (diesel): $640 million (up 10.4%)
- Liquid pumps and elevators: $468.9 million (up 37.2%)
- Air or vacuum pumps: $452.1 million (down -11.2%)
- Taps, valves, similar appliances: $421.7 million (up 19.3%)
- Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $404 million (up 3.6%)
- Piston engine parts: $400.6 million (up 2.4%)
- Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers): $374.3 million (down -43.4%)
- Transmission shafts, gears, clutches: $298.6 million (up 9%)
- Miscellaneous machinery: $292.2 million (up 5.9%)
Among these import subcategories, Argentine purchases of liquid pumps and elevators (up 37.2%), taps, valves or similar appliances (up 19.3%) and diesel engines (up 10.4%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of machinery-related imports among Argentine businesses and consumers.
In 2018, Argentine importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electrical goods including consumer electronics.
- Phone system devices including smartphones: US$2.1 billion (down -13.5% from 2017)
- Electric motor parts: $657.2 million (down -47.1%)
- TV/radio/radar device parts: $629.3 million (down -2.3%)
- Insulated wire/cable: $524.6 million (up 14.8%)
- Electric motors, generators: $327.1 million (up 44.6%)
- Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $322.2 million (up 5.9%)
- TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $298.9 million (up 42.3%)
- Electrical converters/power units: $256.2 million (down -5.6%)
- Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels: $201.9 million (down -8.7%)
- TV receiver/transmit/digital cameras: $191.9 million (up 6.7%)
Among these import subcategories, Argentine purchases of electric motors and generators (up 44.6%), TV receivers, monitors and projectors (up 42.3%) and insulated wire or cable (up 14.8%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of electronics-related imports among Argentine businesses and consumers.
In 2018, Argentine importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels-related products.
- Processed petroleum oils: US$2.5 billion (up 23.2% from 2017)
- Electrical energy: $225.7 million (down -41.2%)
- Petroleum gases: $225.1 million (down -89.9%)
- Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $213.5 million (down -16.3%)
- Crude oil: $115.2 million (down -74.7%)
- Petroleum oil residues: $25.1 million (down -36.5%)
- Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $14.9 million (down -3%)
- Tar pitch, coke: $5.7 million (down -75.4%)
- Asphalt/petroleum bitumen mixes: $5 million (down -10.9%)
- Peat: $2.5 million (up 34.6%)
Among these import subcategories, only Argentine purchases of peat (up 34.6%) and processed petroleum oils (up 23.2%) grew from 2017 to 2018.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of mineral fuels-related imports among Argentine businesses and consumers.
See also Argentina’s Top Trading Partners, Argentina’s Top 10 Exports and Top South American Export Countries
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on September 9, 2019
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on September 9, 2019
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on September 9, 2019