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Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

Bolivia is open to foreign trade on which the country's economy strongly depends: its trade to GDP ratio reached 57% (World Bank, 2016). However, corruption and other structural problems, such as its landlocked isolation, harm its trade. Bolivia's trade with neighbouring countries is growing, partly because of several regional preferential trade agreements. Bolivia is a member of the Andean Community (Peru, Ecuador and Colombia) and an associate member of Mercosur (Southern America Common Market), a status which the country is trying to change in order become a full time member. The Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA) has allowed many Bolivian products to enter the American tax-free market. Bolivia is also a member of the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI - in Spanish), whose main objective is the establishment of a common market, aimed at the economic and social development of the region.

Bolivia had a traditionally positive trade balance, fuelled by structural needs for gas of the Brazilian and Argentinean markets. Nevertheless, in the last three years Bolivia incurred a trade deficit. In 2017, especially, the country recorded its bigger trade deficit, at USD 1.3 billion. Exports reached USD 7.9 billion (33,5% hydrocarbons, 33.1% manufacturing, 28.7% minerals, 4.7% agriculture and fishing), while total imports were worth USD 9.2 billion (Instituto Boliviano de Comercio Exterior – IBCE).
Bolivia's main exports are natural gas, soy, crude oil and mining products to Brazil, Argentina, South Korea and the United States. The main import products are petro-products, plastic, paper, cooked foods, cars and insecticides from China, Brazil, Argentina and the United States.

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20122013201420152016
Imports of Goods (million USD) 8,5789,33810,5199,6028,374
Exports of Goods (million USD) 11,25411,65712,2668,2616,969
Imports of Services (million USD) 1,8952,3023,0072,3522,784
Exports of Services (million USD) 1,1051,1971,3291,5281,204
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 4815-5-4
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 13411-6-6
Trade Balance (million USD) 3,1352,8102,922-331-889
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 8581856857
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 3837423732
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 4744433125

Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank - Latest available data.

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2016
Brazil 19.2%
United States 13.6%
Argentina 11.4%
Colombia 8.8%
China 6.7%
Japan 5.9%
South Korea 5.4%
Peru 4.8%
Belgium 4.6%
United Arab Emirates 2.8%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2016
China 20.0%
Brazil 17.6%
Argentina 10.5%
United States 9.7%
Peru 6.9%
Japan 4.9%
Chile 4.1%
Mexico 2.6%
Colombia 2.3%
Germany 2.1%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

 

Main Products

7.1 bn USD of products exported in 2016
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 29.3%
Zinc ores and concentrates 13.9%
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 10.5%
Precious metal ores and concentrates 9.2%
Oil-cake and other solid residues, whether or not ground or in the form of pellets, resulting from the extraction of soya-bean oil 7.8%
Unwrought tin 4.2%
Soya-bean oil and its fractions, whether or not refined (excl. chemically modified) 4.0%
Coconuts, brazil nuts and cashew nuts, fresh or dried, whether or not shelled or peeled 2.6%
Lead ores and concentrates 2.3%
Silver, incl. silver plated with gold or platinum, unwrought or in semi-manufactured forms, or in powder form 1.5%
8.4 bn USD of products imported in 2016
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 8.4%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 4.8%
Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl. chassis with engine and cab 3.5%
Bars and rods, of iron or non-alloy steel, not further worked than forged, hot-rolled, hot-drawn or hot-extruded, but incl. those twisted after rolling (excl. in irregularly wound coils) 2.6%
Insecticides, rodenticides, fungicides, herbicides, anti-sprouting products and plant-growth regulators, disinfectants and similar products, put up for retail sale or as preparations or articles, e.g. sulphur-treated bands, wicks and candles, and fly-papers 2.4%
Self-propelled bulldozers, angledozers, graders, levellers, scrapers, mechanical shovels, excavators, shovel loaders, tamping machines and road rollers 2.3%
Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line telegraphy, incl. line telephone sets with cordless handsets and telecommunication apparatus for carrier-current line systems or for digital line systems; videophones; parts thereof 1.8%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 1.6%
Motor vehicles for the transport of >= 10 persons, incl. driver 1.5%
Tractors (other than tractors of heading 8709) 1.3%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

 
 
 

Main Services

3.7 bn USD of services exported in 2014
Travel
52.53%
Transportation
23.02%
Insurance services
10.51%
Communications services
6.48%
Other business services
2.12%
Computer and information services
1.69%
Royalties and license fees
1.53%
Government services
1.44%
Financial services
0.49%
Cultural and recreational services
0.14%
Construction services
0.05%
9.0 bn USD of services imported in 2014
Travel
26.71%
Transportation
26.56%
Other business services
16.77%
Insurance services
11.35%
Construction services
11.25%
Government services
1.53%
Communications services
1.51%
Royalties and license fees
1.36%
Computer and information services
1.36%
Financial services
1.08%
Cultural and recreational services
0.51%

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data

 
 

Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
Main International Economic Cooperation
Member of Andean Community

Member of Asociación latinoamericana de integración

Member of MERCOSUR (Associate member)

Member of Organization of American States - OAS

Useful Resources
National Customs (in Spanish)
National Organisation of Intellectual Property
The SENAPI, National Industrial Property Center.
 
 
 

 

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Last Updates: June 2018