Bolivia’s Top Trading Partners

La Paz monument, Bolivia

La Paz monument

A landlocked country in western-central South America, the Plurinational State of Bolivia shipped US$7.9 billion worth of products around the globe in 2017. That figure represents roughly 0.04% of overall global exports estimated at $17.581 trillion.

From a continental perspective, $3.6 billion or 45.4% of Bolivian exports by value were delivered to other Latin American (excluding Mexico) plus Caribbean countries while 33.1% were sold to Asian importers. Bolivia shipped another 10% worth of goods to Europe, with 9.7% arriving in North America.

Bolivia’s Top Trading Partners

Top 15

Below is a list showcasing 15 of Bolivia’s top trading partners, countries that imported the most Bolivian shipments by dollar value during 2017. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Bolivian exports.

  1. South Korea: US$512.2 million (country-specific trade surplus in 2017)
  2. India: $406.9 million
  3. United Arab Emirates: $358.6 million
  4. Japan: $222.4 million
  5. Belgium: $220.1 million
  6. Colombia: $150.4 million
  7. Netherlands: $142.1 million
  8. Australia: $140 million
  9. Canada: $101.4 million
  10. Argentina: $67 million

Over nine-tenths (92.4%) of Bolivian exports in 2017 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.

The United Arab Emirates increased their import purchases from Bolivia at the highest percentage, up an astounding 41,546% from 2013 to 2017. India boosted its imports from Bolivia by 26,746% year over year, trailed by South Korea (up 50.8%) and Japan (up 35.9%).

Leading the cutbacks over the 5-year period were: Brazil (down -64%), Peru (down -56.1%), the United States (down -52.2%) and Argentina (down -50.9%).

Deficits

Overall, Bolivia realized a -$1.45 billion deficit in 2017 reversing an $2.9 billion trade surplus 5 years earlier during 2013.

As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit.

It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.

In 2017, Bolivia incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries:

  1. China: -US$1.6 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2017)
  2. Peru: -$334.1 million
  3. Mexico: -$264.1 million
  4. Chile: -$263.3 million
  5. United States: -$162.8 million
  6. Sweden: -$141.8 million
  7. Germany: -$141.1 million
  8. Brazil: -$107.7 million
  9. Italy: -$105.9 million
  10. Austria: -$90.7 million

Trading with Brazil, Bolivia went from a $2.4 billion trade surplus in 2013 to -$107.7 million in red ink for 2017. Similarly, Bolivia experienced a deficit-to-surplus reversal with Peru over the 5-year period (from $27 million to -$334.1 million) as was the case with the United States (from $43.6 million to -$162.8 million).

These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Bolivia’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Bolivia to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.

Surpluses

Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.

In 2017, Bolivia earned the highest trade surpluses with the following countries:

  1. South Korea: US$512.2 million (country-specific trade surplus in 2017)
  2. India: $406.9 million
  3. United Arab Emirates: $358.6 million
  4. Japan: $222.4 million
  5. Belgium: $220.1 million
  6. Colombia: $150.4 million
  7. Netherlands: $142.1 million
  8. Australia: $140 million
  9. Canada: $101.4 million
  10. Argentina: $67 million

Among Bolivia’s trading partners that cause the greatest positive trade balances, Bolivia transitioned from a -$106 million deficit to $406.9 million with India, from a -$51.6 million deficit to a $222.4 million surplus with Japan, and from -$12.6 million in red ink to $358.6 million in black ink over the 2013-to-2017 timeframe.

These positive cashflow streams indicate Bolivia’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Bolivia to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.

Companies

Companies Servicing Bolivian Trading Partners

Not one Bolivian corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000.

Wikipedia lists some exporting companies from Bolivia. Selected examples are shown below:

  • Banco Mercantil Santa Cruz (financial services)
  • Banco Nacional de Bolivia (financial services)
  • Boliviana de Aviación (airlines)
  • Línea Aérea Amaszonas (airlines)
  • Transportes Aéreos Bolivianos (air cargo)
  • YPFB (oil, gas)


 
See also Bolivia’s Top 10 Exports, Bolivia’s Top 10 Imports and Top South American Export Countries

Research Sources:
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on August 20, 2018

Investopedia, Net Importer Definition. Accessed on August 20, 2018

The World Factbook, Field Listing: Imports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on August 20, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on August 20, 2018

Wikipedia, Bolivia. Accessed on August 20, 2018

Wikipedia, Airlines of Bolivia. Accessed on August 20, 2018

Wikipedia, Category: Banks of Bolivia. Accessed on August 20, 2018

Wikipedia, Oil and Gas Companies of Bolivia. Accessed on August 20, 2018