Latin American exports
Source Louis Proyect
Date 00/10/05/18:00

Hi Lou.

Here's a little thing I have been working on off and on now for a few
weeks. I have to give up on it because of other matters, and anyway, the
most interesting part is done. If this is not too long, would you please
post it?

Exports from Latin America

Here is a little information, and analysis, about the 200 largest exporting
"enterprises" from Latin America, and the 100 largest importing enterprises
in Latin America. The information I used was all drawn from the August 24,
2000 issue of "America economia". The magazine is the Dow Jones Spanish
language business journal for Latin America.

The information I drew on is in no sense complete. For example, it doesn't
cover the total exports of a country, nor even include all the exporting
sectors of any country's economy. Chile for example is a major exporter of
fresh fruit, vegetables, and wine - but none of these products appear
because the exporting companies are not in the top 200 exporting companies
from Latin America.

Nor are the smaller countries included, since none of them have exporting
companies big enough to make the list. A glaring omission from the data
published by "America economia" is any information on the countries of
origin of imports. Still, the information is very useful, and worth
analyzing, even if my conclusions and analysis are not really completely
new or surprising to anyone on this list.

Here are my conclusions first.

1. Latin America "as a whole" is a modern diversified economy. It is no
longer a primarily agricultural and extractive industry based economy. This
is even more true than this data shows, since smaller industries, and
domestically oriented industries are not included in this data.

2. The social and political implications of this fact are enormous. Most
important is the shift in political weight from the landowning
"oligarchies" to capitalists (including agricultural capitalists), and from
the peasantry to the urban working class. While this shift has been going
on for a long time, it has accelerated rapidly in the last decade.

3. But Latin America should not be taken "as a whole". Most (maybe all)
countries trade more with the imperialist centers than with their next door

3. Latin America's countries all - including the most industrial and high
tech - are "dependent" economies.

This is true in two important senses. First, in the sense that they export
primarily to the USA, Europe, and Japan.

Second, in the sense that about half of the large exporting firms in
virtually every country are foreign owned. But the real figure must be much
higher, because the data does not reflect "indirect" foreign investment,
especially minority shares in nationally owned private companies held by
foreign investors. (While this information was not reported in the article
I used, many of the companies or entities listed as privately owned
national firms have large foreign stakes. Embraer, the Brazilian aviation
giant for example, or Ascoflores - the association of cut flower exporters
from Colombia, one of the largest members of which is Dole.)

3. Products of agriculture and mining - including oil - continue to
dominate the exports of most Latin American countries. Within this category
are two sub-categories, "banana republics" with only one important export,
and those which have diversified their export base so as not to be
dependent on the fluctuations in one market. Venezuela - whose only
significant export is oil, epitomizes the first subcategory. Colombia which
lists oil, coal, nickel, bananas, cut flowers, and coffee (and not listed,
but still important, cocaine, heroin and marijuana.) epitomizes the second

4. Latin America is divided into two economic spheres: the "Mexican"
sphere, and the "Brazilian" sphere.

5. The older industrial base of Latin America - especially in Chile and
Argentina, has been displaced and/or replaced to a large extent by the new
industries in Brazil and/or Mexico. Argentina - rather than pursuing an
independent course as it tried to do in the past - has begun to revolve
around Brazil.

6. The state owned companies - especially the oil companies - occupy a
pivotal position in the relation of these countries to imperialism. Were
some or all of these companies to be privatized, especially if they were to
be sold to a foreign owned oil giant - Latin America would lose much of
what remains of the economic independence it still has.

7. In this regard, Venezuela deserves special mention. The position of the
Venezuelan state oil company as by far the biggest exporter of all in Latin
America, with most of its exports headed for the USA, list shows both the
reality of the Chavez government's dependence on the United States, and its
vulnerability to the United States.

Venezuela's importance as an oil producer combined with its very dependent
and unbalanced economy make it a key and unpredictable link in the
direction all of Latin America takes in the coming period: deeper into
dependence, or a reversal of the process. What it would take to reverse the
movement toward greater dependence is an interesting question, but
certainly recent movements in oil prices might help things in that direction

8. My most tentative conclusion, and most surprising at first glance, is
that the "balance of payments" of the individual foreign owned companies on
both the list of big exporters and big importers, is in almost every case
positive for Mexico, and frequently negative for Brazil. I have not
calculated all the numbers yet, but this seems to be the case from looking
over the figures. ***

Mexico is the economic and industrial power house of Latin America - thanks
to NAFTA. By the same token, Mexico has lost its economic independence. It
is both the largest and most dependent exporter by far of all the Latin
American countries. 72 of Latin America's largest exporters are based in
Mexico. 69 of them export primarily to the USA. 27 of them are foreign
owned, most by US firms.

Mexico is not only the most important Latin American exporter to the USA,
it is the most important exporter to the rest of Latin America - and many
of those companies exporting from Mexico to Latin America are US based firms.

Not surprisingly, the nationalization of Pemex is considered likely under
the Fox administration (what was that about the Fox in the henhouse?).
After NAFTA, privatization of Pemex was the next most important US foreign
policy objective in Mexico. Now it has moved to the front burner.

While in many ways Mexico is now the Trojan horse of the USA within Latin
America, the Mexican bourgeoisie has become very rich and very large thanks
to NAFTA. Its economic weight in Latin America is far greater than that of
any other Latin American bourgeoisie, and its political clout will likely
grow too.

As an exporter Brazil is not dependent on any one market, in contrast to
Mexico's dependence on the USA. More of Brazil's big exporters are
nationally owned, and they control a larger percentage of exports than do
the foreign owned firms. Brazil's exports are oriented toward Europe, the
Middle East, to Asia, and to the United States. Brazil is the real target
of US foreign policy in Latin America. it is the second largest exporter,
the largest single domestic market - and the Trojan Horse for European
capital in the Americas.

The Top Ten Exporters

The top ten exporters from Latin American countries are, and in this order:

1. Pdvsa (Petrolero de Venezuela) $16.3 billion (US)
2. Pemex 9.9 billion
3. GM of Mexico 5.0 billion
4. Chrysler of Mexico 5.0 billion
5. VW of Mexico 5.0 billion
6. IBM of Mexico 3.0 billion
7. Came (Cement) of Mexico 2.7 billion
8. Coddle of Chile 2.5 billion
9. Ford of Mexico 2.3 billion
10. Ecopetrol of Colombia 2.2 billion

The number one export market for eight of these companies is the United
States. Codelco's number one market is the UK, while Ecopetrol exports
primarily to other Latin American countries. The three oil companies and
Coddle (mining) are state owned, Came is private, but nationally owned in
Mexico. The others are US and/or German owned.

The Top Ten Importers Exports (1999) Balance

1. Petrobras (Brazil) $4,865 million (US) -$4 billion
2. Chrysler (Mexico) $3,840 million $1.2 billion
3. GM (Mexico) $3,450 million $1.9 billion
4. Pemex (Mexico) $3,100 million $6.8 billion
5. IBM (Mexico) $2,982 million $.02 billion
6. Ford (Mexico) $2,701 million -$.2 billion
7. VW (Mexico) $2,563 million $2.5 billion
8. Cintra (Mexico) $1,258 million -$.07 billion
9. Enap (Chile) $1,187 million
10. Embraer (Brazil) $1,178 million $.5 billion

Seven out of the ten are located in Mexico. Six of these are among the top
ten exporters. The other, Cintra is the number 16 exporter. Of the seven, 4
are US, German or US/German auto companies. One is a US owned computer

Embraer, the Brazilian airplane manufacturer is the number 10 importer, and
number 11 exporter.

Three of the top ten are state owned oil companies. Those of Brazil and
Chile - countries which are both net importers of oil, and Pemex
(presumably but not certainly representing imports of oil equipment, etc.)


Of the top 200 exporters from Latin America, 72 are in Mexico. The value of
their exports is $65.1 billion (US).

Of the top 50 exporters from Latin America, 30 are in Mexico. 12 are
foreign owned, 2 are state owned, and 16 are private but nationally owned.
29 of them have their primary export market in the USA. One, Fotografia,
has its primary export market in Singapore. Secondary export markets
reported are: Spain (1), European Union (14), Latin America (13), Japan
(1), Canada (5), Germany (1), Asia (4) , Saudi Arabia (1), France (1),.

Of the 72 of the top 200 exporters located in Mexico: four (4) are state
owned (and three of the four are parts of Pemex); 41 are nationally owned
private companies; 27 are foreign owned companies.

69 have their primary export markets in the USA: the three which do not are
Fotografia, Coca-Cola Femsa whose primary export market is Argentina, and
Lucent Technologies whose primary export market is Latin America in general.

Secondary export markets reported are: Spain (1), Latin America (27),
European Union 25, Japan (1), Canada (1), Asia (8).

The total value of the four state owned Mexican companies' exports is about
$12 billion (US): about $10.8 billion from three Pemex companies, and about
$1.2 billion from the state owned airline group.

The total value of exports from the 41 nationally owned private Mexican
exporters is about $21.7 billion (US).

The total value of exports from the 27 foreign owned companies is $31.4
billion (US) about equal to the sum of the nationally owned companies, both
private and state.

25 of the top 100 importers are located in Mexico. 10 out of the top 15 are
located in Mexico. 13 are foreign owned, nine of those US companies. One is
state owned, and the other fifteen are private, nationally owned, companies.

The value of the imports of these companies is $26,951 million (US). Of
that amount the top ten account for $22,480 million (US).


72 of the 200 largest exporters are located in Brazil, tying with Mexico in
the number of firms.

However, the total value of the exports of these 72 companies from Brazil
is $22.8 billion (US), compared to $65.1 billion for the 72 exporters from
Mexico. Brazil is really a distant second to Mexico in the value of its
exports, and in the size of exporting firms. Brazil's major markets are
more often in Europe, the Middle East, or Asia rather than in the United

Of the top 50 Latin American exporters, 9 are based in Brazil, compared to
30 in Mexico. Six (6) are nationally owned, private firms, three (3) are
foreign owned. None are state property.

Unfortunately the survey reports no available data for the export markets
of 42 of the 72 companies exporting from Brazil.

Of the nine companies in Brazil in the top fifty Latin American exporters,
four report no data. One of the four, Embraer the Brazilian airplane
manufacturer - markets globally, mostly in competition with deHaviland
(Canadian subsidiary of Boeing). Two others of the four are part of the
Norberto Odebrecht group - a diversified group of companies based in the
construction industry, with contracts all over the world. The fourth
company reporting no available date is Ford, which according to people I
know, exports mostly to other Latin American countries.

Of the other five companies with available data, two report the United
States, two the European Union, and one Saudi Arabia as their primary
export markets. Secondary markets reported for the five include: Asia,
South Korea, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the USA.

The primary export markets of the 30 companies with data available are: USA
(9 companies), European Union (3), Asia (1), Japan (3), Saudia Arabia (4),
Uruguay(1), the Benelux countries (1), Hong Kong (1), Germany (1).

Secondary export markets listed included: USA (2), Latin America (3),
European Union (2), Asia (3), South Korea (1), Turkey (1), Saudia Arabia
(1), Argentina (1), UK (1), Peru (1) , Germany (2), Spain (1)

Of the 72 Brazilian based firms in the top 200 Latin American exporters, 31
are foreign owned, 39 are privately and nationally owned, and only one is
state owned. The state owned company is Petrobas Distributors, the
distributing company for Petrobas - the Brazilian oil company. The
ownership of Petrobas is mixed, part state part private.

The value of Petrobras (two companies) exports is $870 million: a drop in
the bucket compared with the exports of the state owned oil companies of
Venezuela, Mexico, and even Colombia.

The value of the exports of the 39 nationally and privately owned Brazilian
exporters is $14.5 billion (US), compared to $21.7 billion for the exports
of the 41 nationally owned Mexican exporters on the list.

The value exports from Brazil by the 31 foreign owned companies is $8.2
billion (US), contrasted to $31.4 billion exports by the 27 foreign-owned
companies exporting from Mexico.

Brazil is the location of 53 of the top one hundred importers, with imports
valued at $19.1 billion (US). Although there are more important importers
located in Brazil than in Mexico (25) the value of the imports of these
companies is $7.5 billion (US) less than the $26,951 million (US) value of
imports of the 25 firms located in Mexico. Again, the large Brazilian firms
are on average much smaller than the large Mexican firms, more frequently
European than US firms, and more frequently nationally owned firms than
foreign owned firms.

4 out of the top 15 importers are located in Brazil.

Of the 53 large importers located in Brazil, four are state owned, 21 are
private but nationally owned, and 28 are foreign owned (Fiat, Erickson,
Motorola, GM, Mercedes-Benz, VW, NG Ind., Ford, Lucent, Novartis, Dupont,
BASF, Renault, Robert Bosch, Compaq, Siemens, Monsanto, Xerox, Hewlett
Packard, Roche, Bayer, Scania, Schering Plough, Caterpillar, Kodak, Honda,
Cyanamid, Philco.


Venezuela has only one company on the exporter's list, the state owned oil
company, Pdvsa (Petrolera de Venezuela). But the value of its exports of
$16.3 billion (US) places it third on this list. It's primary export market
is the USA, its secondary market is the European Union.

Venezuela also has only one company on the list of importers, also Pdvsa.
The value of its imports are only $.6 billion, giving it a positive trade
balance of $15.7 billion!


In fourth place is Argentina with 31 exporters among the top 200. The total
value of the 31 companies' exports from Argentina is $10.7 billion (US).

Four of these companies are in the top 50: all are foreign owned. YPF is an
petroleum company, the other three are food companies. Their primary export
markets are: Brazil, Italy, China, and Egypt. Secondary export markets are:
the European Union, Chile, Egypt (2), Iran (2), the USA, China and Malaysia.

Of the 31 Argentine exporters on the list 15 are foreign owned, and 16 are
nationally owned. None are state owned.

Their primary export markets are: China (3), Brazil (14), no data available
(3), Italy (3), the USA(1), Venezuela (1), Russia (1), Japan (1), Saudia
Arabia (1), Iran (1).

Secondary markets include: Thailand (1), Spain (2), Egypt (5), Japan,
Mexico (2), Germany (1), Iran (5), Uruguay, Paraguay (2), Japan, Chile
(4), China (2), Benelux (2), India (1), Nigeria (1), Turkey (1), the USA
(3), Korea (2), Malaysia (1), Asia (1), Peru (1) Brazil (3).

The total value of the 31 companies exports from Argentina is $10.7 billion
(US). The total value of exports from the 16 nationally owned companies is
$4.1 billion (US). The total value of exports from the 15 foreign owned
companies is $6.6 billion (US)

The 8 big importers located in Argentina import just a whisker less than $2
billion (US) worth of goods and services.


Eight of the top 200 exporters are in Chile. Two, Coddle a state owned
mining company and Escondida a foreign owned mining company, are in the top
50. Of the eight two are state owned, four are foreign owned, and two are
private national companies.

The total value of exports from Chile by the eight firms on the list is
$5.1 billion (US). The total value of exports of the two state owned
companies is $2.8 billion (US). The total value of exports by the four
foreign owned companies on the list in Chile is $1.6 billion (US). The
total value of exports of the private Chilean owned exporters is $.7
billion (US).

The primary export markets of these companies are: the USA (3), UK, South
Korea, China, Belgium, France. Secondary export markets are: the USA (),
South Korea (3), Taiwan (4), South Korea, Italy (2), Japan, Germany, China,
Brazil, Belgium, Saudi Arabia.

Chile makes the importers list with two companies, Coddle and ENAP, whose
imports are worth about $1.3 billion (US). Colombia

Ten of the top exporters from Latin America are located in Colombia. Two -
Ecopetrol the state owned oil company, and Asocoflores (the Association of
cut-flower exporters) are in the top 50. Of the ten, five are foreign
owned, four are privately owned national companies, and one is state owned.

The total value of the exports of the ten companies is $4.8 billion (US).
The value of Ecopetrol's exports is $2.2 billion (US). The value of the
four privately owned companies' exports is $1.2 billion (US). The value of
exports of the five foreign owned companies is $1.2 billion (US).

The primary export markets of these ten companies are: Latin America, no
data (4), UK(2), USA (2), Germany. Secondary markets are: Denmark (2), the
USA (2), France, Germany, the European Union.

Colombia's four big importers are Ecopetrol, Avianca (the state owned
airline), Carbocol, and the Ministry of Defense (but, its the smallest of
the four, at least it was in 1999.) The value of their imports was $.7
billion - compared to Ecopetrol's exports of $2.2 billion.


Five of the top 200 Latin American exporters are based in Peru. None of the
five are in the top fifty. The total value of their exports is $ 1.8
billion (US). Four of the companies are foreign owned, one a privately
owned national company. None are state owned. The primary export markets of
these five companies are: UK, Switzerland, no data (2), the USA. Secondary
markets are: Netherlands Antilles, Benelux, Belgium, Germany (2), and the UK.

Peru's presence on the list of big importers is due to Southern Peru
Copper, a foreign owned firm with imports of $.1 billion (US).


Ecuador makes the export and import lists by virtue of its state owned oil
company, with exports valued at $.7 billion (US) and imports valued at $.5
billion, with a positive balance of about $200 million (US). Its primary
export market is Japan, with secondary markets in South Korea and Taiwan.

And here's a little breakdown of the exporters by industry sector
Automobile, Auto Parts, Tires

3 GM Mexico $5 billion (US) USA, Japan
63 GM Brazil $.45 b Saudia Arabia, USA
140 GM Argentina $.2 b Brazil, Italy

4 Chrysler Mexico $5 billion (US) USA, Latin America

5 VW Mexico $5 billion (US) USA,Canada,Germany
53 VW Brazil $.5b no data

9 Ford Mexico $2.3 billion (US) USA, Canada
44 Ford Brazil $.6b no data
78 Ford Argentina $.4b Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay

12 Nissan Mexico $1.6 b USA, Saudi Arabia

30 Fiat Brazil $.8 b Saudi Arabia,EuropeanUnion
121 Fiat Argentina $.25 b Brazil

42 Unik Mexico $.6 b USA, Latin America
60 Grupo Dina Mexico $. 5b USA, Canada, Latin America
67 San Luis Mexico $.4 b USA, European Union
84 Saltillo Mexico $.3 b USA
91 Delphi Mexico $.3 b USA, Euro. U. Latin America
93 Condumex Mexico $.3 b USA, LA, EU
99 Lear Mexico $.3 b USA, LA, EU
105 Bosch Brazil $.3 b Germany, USA
130 Goodyear Brazil $.2 USA
131 Mercedes Brazil $.2 Saudi Arabia
153 Enermex Mexico $.2 b USA, Latin America
156 Nemak Mexico $.2 b USA, EU
159 Starexport Brazil $.2 b no data
169 Scania Brazil $.2 b Saudi Arabia
172 Pirelli Brazil $.2 USA, Argentina
187 Mahle Brazil $.1 b no data

Computers and Electronics

6 IBM Mexico $3 b USA, Canada
18 Phillips Mexico $1.1b USA, LA
24 GE Mexico $1 b USA, LA
28 HP Mexico $.9b USA, Canada
35 Motorola Mexico $.7 b USA, France, S. Korea
72 Nokia Mexico $.4 b USA, LA
86 Mabe Mexico $.3 b USA, LA
103 Lucent Mexico $.3 b LA
129 Siemens Mexico $.3b USA,LA
139 Compaq Brazil $.2 b no data

143 Erickson Mexico $.2 b USA, Germany, Latin America
189 Erickson Brazil $.1 no data

154 Xerox Mexico $.2 USA, Arg.
171 Xerox Brazil $.2 no data


1 Pdvsa Venezuela $16.3 b USA, EU

2 Pemex Mexico $9.9 b USA, Spain, LA
75 Pemex Refin. Mexico $.4b USA, LA

10 Ecopetrol Colombia $2.2b Latin America

14 Reposol YPF Argentina $1.4b Brazil, Chile, USA

34 Petrobras Brazil $.7b USA
190 Petrobras Dis Brazil $.1b no data

37 Petroecuador Ecuador $.7b Japan, S. Korea, Taiwan
69 BP Colombia $.4b no data
111 Petrol San J. Argentina $.3 no data
138 Shell Brazil $.2 USA
173 PanAmEn Argentina $.2 no data
181 Perupetro Peru $.1 USA, N. Antilles, Benelux



13 VdR Duce Brazil $1.5 EU, Asia
23 Escondida Chile $1 Japan, S. Korea, Germany
29 Grupo Min. Mexico $.9 USA, Asia, LA
52 S. Peru Cop. Peru $.5 UK, Bel., Ger.
58 Ind. Peņoles Mexico $.5 USA, EU, Asia
65 Min. Alumbr. Argentina $.4 no data
73 Doe Run Peru $.4 no data
83 MBR Brazil $.35 no data
87 Min El Abra Chile $.3 USA, Taiwan, Japan
107 Ferteco Brazil $.3 USA, EU
113 Enami Chile $.3 USA, Taiwan, China
115 Intercor Colombia $.3 UK, Denmark, USA
120 Carbocol Colombia $.3 UK, Denmark, France
122 Int. Col. Res. Colombia $.2 no data
155 Mantos Bla. Chlie $.2 France, Italy, Brazil
160 Drummond Colombia $.2 no data
166 Samitri Brazil $.2 no data
168 Cerromatoso Colombia $.2 Germany, USA
184 Tecumseh Brazil $.1 no data
188 Caraiba Brazil $.1 no data

Cellulose and Paper



32 CST Brazil $.8 USA, S. Korea, Turkey
36 IMSA Mexico $. 7 USA, LA

Beer and Processed Food

20 Gruma Mexico $1b USA, LA, EU
21 Bimbo Mexico $1b USA, LA, EU
27 Ceval Brazil $.9 EU, Asia
38 L. Dreyfus Argentina $.7 China, Iran, Egypt


7 Cemex Mexico $2.7 b USA, EU, LA


17 N. Odebrecht Brazil $1.1 b no data
39 ICA Mexico $.7 b USA, Canada, Latin America
179 Bufete Ind. Mexico $.1 USA, LA


19 Cargill Argentina $1.1 Italy, Egypt, Iran
31 Savia Mexico $.8 USA, EU, Asia
40 Ac. Gen. De. Argentina $.7 Iran, Benelux, Chile
47 La Plata Ce. Argentina $.6 Egypt, China, Malaysia
76 Nidera Arg. Argentina $.4 Brazil, Iran, Egypt

Cut Flowers

50 Asocoflores Colombia $.6 no data


26 Telcel Mexico $.9 USA, EU, LA
48 Telmex Mexico $.6 USA, EU, Asia


11 Embraer Brazil $1.7 b no data

And that's all for now, folks.


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