Intraregional Trade in South America, 1912-1950: The Cases of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile and Peru
This paper assesses whether the disruption of world trade, protectionist policies and industrial growth that dominated South American economic history from 1912 to 1950 permitted an increase in intraregional trade. The paper demonstrates that during this period intraregional trade reached some of the highest levels of the entire 20th century. These levels have since receded. With the exception of some Brazilian exports, most of intraregional trade had the same features as global trade during this period: a high concentration on few products of very low value-added. These main findings suggest that, in contrast with other global experiences, intraregional trade did not directly support industrialization in South America during the first half of the 20th century. This resembles similar results from other Latin American studies, which remark that, beyond the rhetoric of regional integration and the signature of different trade agreements, few changes in the character of interregional trade emerged from the 1950s to the late 1980s (see Bulmer-Thomas (2003) and Devlin and Estevadeordal (2001)). In a time when intraregional trade is again at the forefront of the economic strategy of most South American countries (see Devlin and Ffrench-Davis (1999); Devlin and Estevadeordal (2001), and ECLAC (2011)), this finding certainly demands further study and explanation.
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Volume (Year): 28 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 (December)
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