Uruguayan trade with China decreased in 2023

Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Trade between Uruguay and China – excluding free trade zones – declined last year, according to the latest report from the International Business Institute of the Catholic University of Uruguay. Uruguay faces a significant trade deficit of $750.2 million, a challenge for the South American country’s economy.

Uruguayan exports to China, excluding free trade zones, totaled $1.6 billion in 2023, a 40% decrease compared to the previous year.

This decline is reflected in several sectors, with meat being the main contributor, representing 78.5% of exports in the second half of the year. However, meat exports also declined by 14.1% to $570.6 million.

Frozen beef stood out as the star product, accounting for 66.3% of exports to China, excluding free trade zones. Seventeen companies exported more than $10 million worth of meat to China, with the top five companies accounting for 44.6% of these exports.

In addition to meat, other key sectors saw declines. Exports of seeds, oilseeds, and fruits fell dramatically by 97%, timber by 11%, and pharmaceuticals by 38.8%.

In contrast, imports from China to Uruguay experienced a modest increase of 2%, totaling $2.4 billion in 2023. However, in the second half of the year, imports decrease by 5.3%, reaching $1.2 billion.

This scenario suggests the need for a strategic review to improve the trade balance and strengthen the economic relationship between the two countries. The situation poses significant challenges that will require carefully designed measures to maintain a beneficial economic partnership for both nations.