In 2012, Paraguay exported commodities and goods with a value of more than $5.087 million, which was 7.8 percent less than in 2011, and 12.2% more than in 2010. The main factor for the export reduction lies in the soybean production chain, which was 37.7 percent of the total exports in 2012. With regard to 2011, soy bean exports decreased by 30.8 percent, and soybean oil reached 49.7 percent.
Most of the other sectors performed well. Exports of beef, even though temporarily suspended due to outbreak of hoof-and-mouth disease in September 2011, still experienced an increase of 4.6 percent in 2012 compared to 2011. Maize, wheat and rice were the main products of mechanized farming exported and their quantities increased by 57.4%, 122.3% and 39.6% respectively.
Cotton showed a remarkable recovery after several years in decline; its exports increased by 159.5%. The exports increase of leathers grew by 7.1%, exports of cigarette products increased by 46.3%, and Paraguayan manufactured medicinal drugs experienced a growth of 23.9%.
However, 2012 had been a slow year for sesame seed production and farming; its exports were reduced by 14.2%. The exports of these products comprise 83.5% of the total goods shipped overseas in 2012.
According to official statistics compiled by the National Agency of Customs and Central Bank of Paraguay, a substantial quantity of commodities such as soybeans and its derivatives were bound for Argentina or Uruguay, countries that serve as transhipment or transit points for Paraguayan products to reach EU countries and the United States.
Thanks to the Single Exports’ Registration Window (VUE), approximately 75 percent of total exports are shipped to countries outside of the MERCOSUR regional trade bloc. Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay consume only 24.6 percent of Paraguayan exports. The rest of Paraguayan products are exported to the European Union (24.0%), Middle East and North Africa (7.7%), Asia (7%), Europe outside of EU (17.5%), North America (3.8%), South American countries and the Caribbean (12.9%) and Sub-Saharan Africa and Oceania (2.7%).
Speronews writer Peter M. Tase is an analyst of Latin American Trade and Diplomatic affairs.