The Pacific Alliance
The Pacific Alliance was initiated in 2011 and formalised by a framework agreement in 2012. Its members – Mexico, Chile, Peru and Colombia – have outward-oriented trade liberalising policies. The Alliance aims to achieve the free movement of goods, services, capital and people among members. Australia became an observer in November 2012 and attended the May 2013 Summit held in Cali, Colombia, the June 2014 Summit in Punta Mita, Mexico, the June 2015 Summit in Paracas, Peru and the June 2016 Summit in Puerto Varas, Chile.
The other observers are Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States and Uruguay.
Australia works with the Pacific Alliance in the areas of environment, engaging with the Asia-Pacific and in education and training. Australia attended the inaugural Pacific Alliance Education Forum in Lima, Peru, in May 2016 and supported a Pacific Alliance cooperation project – “TVET in Benchmarking for Transport and Logistics Sector”. Australia is also interested in engaging with the Alliance’s mining group.
Mercosur is a trade bloc comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela (currently suspended). Bolivia is going through the ratification process to become a full member. Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Suriname are Associate Members. Mexico is an observer. Mercosur was founded in 1991. Australia and New Zealand have a formal consultation mechanism – CER-Mercosur. The last CER-Mercosur consultations took place in October 2012. Since November 2014, Mercosur has been working on options for convergence with the Pacific Alliance.
The Central American Integration System
The Central American Integration System (SICA) was formally established in 1991. Australia became in observer in 2011. Since joining, Australia has attended summits annually since 2011.
Forum for East Asia and Latin American Cooperation
Forum for East Asia and Latin American Cooperation (FEALAC) is the only formal dialogue between countries in Latin America and East Asia. It draws together 36 countries from East Asia and Latin America aiming to strengthen the relationship between the two regions. It involves in-principle biennial Foreign Ministers’ meetings as well as annual Senior Officials and Working Group meetings. Three Working Groups on Science and Technology; the Economy and Society; and Politics, Culture, Education and Sport operate to build collaboration across these thematic areas.
Australia is a founding member of FEALAC, the first time Australia was accepted as a member in the Asia region. Australia has participated in FEALAC Foreign Ministers' and Senior Officials Meetings since FEALAC's inception in 1998.
The Organization of American States
The Organization of American States (OAS) was founded in 1948. It has a permanent secretariat in Washington and includes all 35 independent states of the Americas. Cuba has been excluded since 1962.
The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States
The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) was a Mexican initiative announced in 2012. CELAC’s membership is the same as the OAS except that it excludes Canada and the United States and includes Cuba. It has no permanent secretariat and is becoming a vehicle for engagement outside the region. The first CELAC-EU Summit was held in Santiago in January 2013 and the first CELAC-China Forum was held in Beijing in January 2015. Australia met the CELAC Troika in December 2012.
Within the United Nations these countries form the Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC).
The Union of South American Nations
The Union of South American Nations (Unasur) Consultative Treaty was signed in 2008, with entry into force in 2011. It includes all 12 independent South American states (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela). Unasur's Secretariat is located in Quito, Ecuador. The Union is focused on physical regional integration, including on energy, education, health, environment, infrastructure, security and democracy. Unasur has also sought to encourage dialogue between the government and opposition in Venezuela, with Unasur Secretary General Ernest Sampo leading a delegation, including the foreign ministers of Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador, to Caracas in March 2015.
The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America
The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) was founded in 2004 by Cuba and Venezuela. They were joined by Antigua and Barbuda (2009), Bolivia (2006), Dominica (2008), Ecuador (2009), Grenada (2014), Nicaragua (2007), St Kitts and Nevis (2014), St Lucia (2013) and St Vincent and Grenadines (2007).
Latin America's Trade and economic links with Australia
Australian Companies Operating in Latin America - 2014
From two dozen in 1999, there are now over 260 Australian companies in Latin America, including 51 ASX200 companies. Most began in Chile, before expanding to Brazil and Peru.
Australian Companies Operating in Latin America - 2014 (select countries)
2013 Merchandise Trade with Latin America
In 2013, Australia's merchandise trade with Latin America was $6.9 billion, around 1.4% of Australia's global merchandise trade.
2013 Merchandise Trade with Latin America (Select Countries) $A million
2013 Trade in Travel Services with Latin America
In 2013, Australia's services trade with Latin America was $2.4 billion, around 1.9% of Australia's global services trade. Trade in travel services made up a significant portion of Australia's services trade with Latin America, particularly due to the large number of Latin American students studying in Australia and growing number of Australia tourists travelling to Latin America.
Australia's Trade in Travel Services with Latin America (select countries) 2013 (A$mil)
||Education-related travel exports
||Recreational travel exports
||Business-related travel exports
Latin American student enrolment in Australia
Latin American Students in Australia over time
In 2015, there were over 48,000 Latin American student enrolments in Australia. Over half were from Brazil and over one quarter were from Colombia.
Latin American students in Australia (select countries) 2009-2015
Latin American Students in Australia Enrolments by Sector
Most Latin American students in Australia were studying English language or vocational courses.
Latin American Students in Australia Enrolments by Sector (select countries) 2015
Latin American Students in Australia by State
In 2015, over one third of Latin American student enrolments were in NSW, over one quarter in QLD, and approximately one fifth were in Victoria.
Latin American students in Australia by State/Territory 2015
||Number of students
Latin America's Trade with the World
Latin American merchandise exports
In 2002, 58.4 per cent of Latin American exports went to North America and 6.8 per cent to Asia. By 2012, exports to Asia, in particular China, had grown to make up 17.1 per cent of Latin American exports. In this period Latin American exports to Asia grew seven-fold, from around US$22.4 billion, to US$164.9 billion.
Latin American merchandise imports
In 2002 48.2 per cent of Latin American merchandise imports came from North America and 14.7 per cent from Asia. By 2012, the share of imports from Asia had almost doubled to 26.9 per cent while the share of imports from North America fell to 33.1 per cent. Imports from Asia during this period increased from US$45.8 billion to US$261.9 billion.
Latin America's Trade with the World
||2002 Exports US$m
||2012 Exports US$m
||2012 Imports US$m
||2012 Imports US$m
|Oceania & Antarctica
Source: UN data on the DFAT STARS Database