Latin American Regional Organisations

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 and the June 2014 Summit in Punta Mita, Mexico. The other observers are Belgium, Canada, China, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Paraguay, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States and Uruguay. Costa Rica and Panama are seeking full membership of the Alliance.

Australia works with the Pacific Alliance in the areas of environment, engaging with the Asia-Pacific and in education and training. Australia is also interested in engaging with the Alliance’s mining group.

Mercosur

Mercosur is a trade bloc comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela. Bolivia is currently going through the ratification process to become a full member. Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Suriname are Associate Members. It 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.

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 in 2011 and 2012 and is active in the SICA security process.

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 annual Foreign Ministers, 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, with the exception of Cuba.

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 in includes Cuba. It has no permanent secretariat and is becoming a vehicle for engagement outside the region, with dialogues proposed or underway with China and the European Union.

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.

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), Nicaragua (2007) 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. Details in Table
Australian Companies Operating in Latin America - 2014 (select countries)
Argentina Brazil Chile Colombia Mexico Peru
Non-ASX200 28 75 76 25 33 45
ASX200 11 25 25 9 18 17

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. Details in Table
2013 Merchandise Trade with Latin America (Select Countries) $A million
Argentina Brazil Chile Colombia Mexico Peru
Exports 178 743 359 47 393 78
Imports 812 577 1,004 54 2,089 137
Total 991 1,321 1,362 100 2,482 215

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.

2012 Trade in Travel Services with Latin America (select countries) $A million. Details in Table
Australia's Trade in Travel Services with Latin America (select countries) 2013 (A$mil)
Education-related travel exports Recreational travel exports Business-related travel exports Imports Total
Argentina 8 26 7 86 127
Brazil 364 46 13 122 545
Chile 52 25 7 92 176
Colombia 264 9 4 43 320
Mexico 46 10 4 100 160
Peru 41 4 2 99 146

Latin American student enrollment in Australia

Latin American Students in Australia over time

In 2013, there were over 37,000 Latin American students in Australia.  Half were from Brazil and one third from Colombia.

Latin American Students in Australia (select countries) 2008-2012. Details in Table
Latin American students in Australia (select countries) 2009-2013
2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Brazil 17,556 16,040 15,268 15,090 17,554
Colombia 9,857 10,014 8,918 10,130 12,030
Chile 1008 1597 1708 1972 2005
Mexico 1,533 1,574 1,585 1,566 1,753
Peru 2,243 2,262 1,984 1,769 1,642
Venezuela 532 854 1,075 933 965
Ecuador 169 192 171 273 553
Argentina 207 265 278 279 282

Latin American Students in Australia Enrollments by Sector

Most Latin American students in Australia were studying English language or vocational courses.

Latin American Students in Australia Enrollments by Sector (select countries) 2012. Details in Table
Latin American Students in Australia Enrollments by Sector (select countries)
Higher Ed VET ELICOS Schools Other
Brazil 795 5,318 10,026 343 1,072
Colombia 1,311 1,833 8,800 19 67
Chile 548 410 988 11 57
Mexico 560 378 408 56 351
Peru 315 690 618 5 14
Venezuela 281 259 409 1 15
Ecuador 337 79 83 1 53
Argentina 94 75 100 3 10

Latin American Students in Australia by State

In 2013, one third of Latin American students were studying in NSW, one quarter in QLD, one sixth in Victoria and one tenth in Western Australia.

Latin American Students in Australia by State 2012. Details in Table
Latin American students in Australia by State/Territory 2013
State/Territory Number of students
NSW 13,494
QLD 10,622
VIC 6,749
WA 3,543
Not defined 1,293
SA 905
ACT 345
TAS 111
NT 24

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 America's Merchandise Exports in 2001 - data in table below
Latin America's Merchandise Exports in 2011 - data in table below

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 Merchandise Imports in 2001 - data in table below
Latin America's Merchandise Imports in 2011 - data in table below
Latin America's Trade with the World
Partner Country 2002 Exports US$m 2012 Exports US$m 2012 Imports US$m 2012 Imports US$m
Africa 4,082 20,585 3,671 18,770
North America 193,144 407,697 150,070 322,217
Caribbean 7,029 12,824 1,890 8,787
Latin America 44,554 177,376 47,563 173,657
Asia 22,448 164,949 45,820 261,865
Middle-East 4,194 17,866 2,193 11,348
Europe 44,306 145,988 49,846 154,876
Oceania & Antarctica 113 444 464 775
Other 11,012 19,162 9,938 22,172
Total 330,882 966,891 311,454 974,467

Source: UN data on the DFAT STARS Database