If you’re a seller in Bogotá and you want to try and sell your wares in Buenos Aires, good luck. Latin America and the Caribbean have one of the lowest levels of intraregional trade: just about a quarter of exports stay within the region, compared to half of exports among NAFTA and Asian countries, and more than two-thirds of European ones. While the mammoth U.S. and Chinese markets pull a huge amount of trade flows north and east, geographical barriers from the Amazon to the Andes also impede intraregional trade, and as such, the region lacks a dominant trade hub in the way China serves Asia or Germany serves Europe.
That said, e-commerce offers an important opportunity to erase geographical barriers and develop intraregional trade amid a flagging regional economic outlook. Business-to-consumer (B2C) online sales of goods are growing more than five times faster than trade overall, rising about 20 percent per year from 2012 to 2017. There’s also a lot of room for growth in trade in services, which represents 44 percent of all exports for Central America and the Caribbean, but just 12 percent of exports for South America.
This week, AS/COA Online takes a look at e-commerce in Latin America.
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