Argentina is a relatively small player in international trade, responsible for about 0.4% of globally exported products.
Argentina’s trading partners are relatively concentrated. The top 5 customers for Argentinian exports in 2021 were Brazil, mainland China, United States of America, India and Chile. Combined, that quintet of main importers for Argentinian products accounted for two-fifths (40.3%) of Argentina’s total export sales during 2021.
Applying a continental lens, 35% of Argentina’s exports by value were delivered to Asian countries while 31.7% were sold to importers in Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean. Argentina shipped another 16.3% worth of goods to Europe.
Smaller percentages went to North America (8.3%), Africa (7.6%) then Australia and New Zealand only from Oceania (1%).
Argentina’s Top Trading Partners
The list below showcases 25 of Argentina’s top trading partners, countries that imported the most Argentine shipments by dollar value during 2021. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Argentine exports.
- Brazil: US$11.8 billion (15.1% of Argentina’s total exports)
- China: $6.2 billion (7.9%)
- United States: $5 billion (6.4%)
- India: $4.3 billion (5.5%)
- Chile: $4.2 billion (5.4%)
- Vietnam: $3.2 billion (4.1%)
- Netherlands: $3 billion (3.8%)
- Peru: $2 billion (2.6%)
- Indonesia: $1.9 billion (2.4%)
- Spain: $1.8 billion (2.4%)
- South Korea: $1.7 billion (2.2%)
- Egypt: $1.54 billion (2%)
- Algeria: $1.47 billion (1.9%)
- Malaysia: $1.43 billion (1.8%)
- Uruguay: $1.36 billion (1.7%)
- Paraguay: $1.3 billion (1.7%)
- Iran: $1.2 billion (1.5%)
- Colombia: $1.1 billion (1.5%)
- Italy: $974 million (1.3%)
- Switzerland: $954.5 million (1.2%)
- Bangladesh: $875.7 million (1.1%)
- Saudi Arabia: $850.2 million (1.1%)
- Germany: $806.8 million (1%)
- Poland: $778.3 million (1%)
- United Arab Emirates: $773.5 million (1%)
Well over three-quarters (77.6%) of Argentina’s exports in 2021 were delivered to the above 25 trade partners.
From the above list of top importers, Iran increased its import purchases from Argentina by the highest percentage thanks to a 1,264% acceleration from 2020 to 2021.
In second place via a 908.4% gain was the United Arab Emirates trailed by Colombia (up 329.1%), South Korea (up 272.8%), United States of America (up 226.1%), Paraguay (up 205%), Poland (up 171.1%) and Bangladesh (up 165.1%).
Countries Causing Greatest Trade Deficits for Argentina
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.
Argentina incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries.
- China: US-$7.4 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2021)
- Germany: -$1.7 billion
- Paraguay: -$1.6 billion
- Thailand: -$1.1 billion
- United States: -$934 million
- Mexico: -$707.9 million
- Brazil: -$681.6 million
- France: -$564.2 million
- Bolivia: -$490.7 million
- Qatar: -$440.2 million
Among Argentina’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Argentinian deficits with Qatar (up 324.5%), mainland China (up 81.5%) and Thailand (up 36.9%) grew at the fastest pace from 2020 to 2021.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Argentina’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Argentina to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.
Countries Resulting In Greatest Trade Surpluses for Argentina
Argentina garnered an overall $14.7 billion trade surplus for 2021, up by 17.6% from $12.5 billion in black ink one year earlier.
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.
Argentina incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries.
- Chile: US$3.5 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2021)
- India: $2.9 billion
- Netherlands: $2.3 billion
- Vietnam: $2 billion
- Peru: $1.8 billion
- Indonesia: $1.5 billion
- Algeria: $1.4 billion
- Iran: $1.2 billion
- South Korea: $1.1 billion
- Egypt: $960.6 million
Among Argentina’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Argentinian surpluses with Iran (up 1,274%), South Korea (up 1,017%) and the Netherlands (up 154.6%) grew at the fastest pace from 2020 to 2021.
These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Argentina’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Argentina to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.
Companies Servicing Argentina’s Trading Partners
Not one of Argentina’s corporations ranks among Forbes Global 2000.
Wikipedia lists smaller-scale exporters from Argentina. Selected examples are shown below.
- Al Este (wine)
- Aluar (aluminum)
- Bridas Corporation (oil, gas)
- Bunge Limited (grains, oilseed)
- Grupo Arcor (chocolates, cookies, ice cream)
- La Serenísima (dairy products)
- Loma Negra (cement)
- SanCor (dairy products)
- Transportadora de Gas del Sur (natural gas)
- Zanella (motorcycles)
See also Argentina’s Top 10 Exports, Argentina’s Top 10 Imports and Top South American Export Countries
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 29, 2022
Forbes 2017 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 29, 2022
Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on March 29, 2022
Investopedia, Net Importer Definition. Accessed on March 29, 2022
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Argentina. Accessed on March 29, 2022