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. The other observers are 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, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States and Uruguay. Costa Rica and Panama are seeking full membership of the Alliance.

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

2012 Merchandise Trade with Latin America

In 2012, Australia's merchandise trade with Latin America was $7.7 billion, around 1.6% of Australia's global merchandise trade.

2012 Merchandise Trade with Latin America (Select Countries) $A million. Details in Table
2012 Merchandise Trade with Latin America (Select Countries) $A million
Argentina Brazil Chile Colombia Mexico Peru
Exports 273 991 427 29 879 141
Imports 606 638 1195 45 1977 101

2012 Trade in Travel Services with Latin America

In 2012, Australia's services trade with Latin America was $2.2 billion, around 3.6% 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
2012 Trade in Travel Services with Latin America (select countries) $A million
Education exports Personal exports Business exports Imports
Argentina 8 25 5 52
Brazil 317 45 12 57
Chile 59 22 9 46
Colombia 246 7 2 14
Mexico 44 9 3 40
Peru 47 4 2 40

Latin American student enrollment in Australia

Latin American Students in Australia over time

In December 2012, there were over 32,000 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) 2008-2012
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Argentina 174 207 265 279 280
Brazil 15939 17556 16040 15266 15092
Chile 1008 1597 1708 1972 2005
Colombia 7691 9857 10016 8917 10148
Mexico 1464 1533 1574 1586 1568
Peru 1706 2247 2263 1985 1773

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) 2012
Higher Ed VET ELICOS Schools Other
Argentina 91 80 94 4 11
Brazil 755 5306 8556 191 284
Chile 508 458 974 3 62
Colombia 1312 1810 6921 24 81
Mexico 584 292 370 26 296
Peru 274 772 708 2 17

Latin American Students in Australia by State

In 2012, two fifths of Latin American students were studying in NSW, a third in QLD and one sixth in Victoria.

Latin American Students in Australia by State 2012. Details in Table
Latin American Students in Australia by State 2012
State/Territory Number of students
NSW 13277
QLD 9379
VIC 5589
WA 3157
SA 613
ACT 239
TAS 59
NT 33

Latin America's Trade with the World

Latin American merchandise exports

In 2001, around 58 per cent of Latin American exports went to North America and 6.5 per cent to Asia. By 2011, exports to Asia, in particular China, had grown to make up almost 17 per cent of Latin American exports. In this period Latin American exports to Asia grew eight-fold, from around US$21.5 billion, to almost US$178 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 2001 around 50 per cent of Latin American merchandise imports came from North America and14.6 per cent from Asia. By 2011, the share of imports from Asia had almost doubled to 28.5 per cent while the share of imports from North America fell to 32 per cent. Imports from Asia during this period increased from around US$49 billion to over US$277 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 2001 Exports US$000 2001 Imports US$000 2011 Exports US$000 2011 Imports US$000
Africa 2,903,445 4,993,191 16,291,446 19,539,209
Asia 21,563,841 48,823,103 177,917,238 277,491,192
Caribbean 6,928,181 1,593,124 17,709,234 7,786,061
Europe 42,976,567 55,090,703 156,310,985 152,994,942
Latin America 50,686,927 53,117,046 209,651,185 179,252,295
Middle-East 4,617,419 2,549,473 23,416,620 10,794,125
North America 190,390,095 164,010,631 393,536,102 312,377,188
Oceania & Antarctica 683,521 1,409,207 4,008,926 5,167,616
Other 7,751,348 2,595,314 51,712,808 9,506,426
All Partner Countries 328,501,344 334,181,792 1,050,554,544 974,909,054