Table of Contents

Handbook on Trade and Development

Handbook on Trade and Development

Edited by Oliver Morrissey, Ricardo Lopez and Kishor Sharma

This Handbook comprehensively explores the complex relationships between trade and economic performance in developing countries. Insightful chapters cover issues such as trade, growth and poverty reduction; trade costs, facilitation and preferences; sub-Saharan Africa’s reliance on trade in primary commodities, informal cross-border trade, agglomeration and firm exporting; imported technology, exchange rates and the impact of firm exporting; the increasing importance of China in world trade and links between FDI and trade. This Handbook provides an essential overview of trade issues facing developing countries.

Chapter 15: Export diversification dynamics in Latin America

Manuel R. Agosin and Luis David Chancí Arango

Subjects: development studies, development economics, economics and finance, development economics, international economics


The abundance of natural resources in Latin American countries poses a challenge for governments when designing their public policies for economic growth. Moreover, in recent years the increase in the price of commodities has stimulated a rise in the terms of trade and a tendency towards export concentration. At the same time, today there is more agreement than ever on the role of export diversification in enhancing economic growth in developing economies. This chapter presents a detailed description of the export behaviour of 15 countries in Latin America between 1990 and 2012, focusing on export diversification in terms of commodities and markets. Also we decompose the export growth rate into the contribution of existing, new and disappearing exports. We find that exports in Latin America have diversified, with Mexico, Brazil and Argentina being the most diverse. However, in all the Latin American countries export growth is strongly dependent on existing exports rather than on new exports.

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