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Country Profiles

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Location: Southern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Chile and Uruguay

Area: total: 2,766,890 sq km, land: 2,736,690 sq km, water: 30,200 sq km

Climate: mostly temperate; arid in southeast; subantarctic in southwest

Natural resources: fertile plains of the pampas, lead, zinc, tin, copper, iron ore, manganese, petroleum, uranium

 Population: 39,921,833 (July 2006 est.)

Languages: Spanish (official), English, Italian, German, French

Government type: republic

Capital: Buenos Aires

Economy - overview:
Argentina benefits from rich natural resources, a highly literate population, an export-oriented agricultural sector, and a diversified industrial base. Over the past decade, however, the country has suffered problems of inflation, external debt, capital flight, and budget deficits. Growth in 2000 was a negative 0.8%, as both domestic and foreign investors remained skeptical of the government's ability to pay debts and maintain the peso's fixed exchange rate with the US dollar. The economic situation worsened in 2001 with the widening of spreads on Argentine bonds, massive withdrawals from the banks, and a further decline in consumer and investor confidence. Government efforts to achieve a "zero deficit," to stabilize the banking system, and to restore economic growth proved inadequate in the face of the mounting economic problems. The peso's peg to the dollar was abandoned in January 2002, and the peso was floated in February. The exchange rate plunged and real GDP fell by 10.9% in 2002, but by mid-year the economy had stabilized, albeit at a lower level. GDP expanded by about 9% per year from 2003 to 2005. Growth is being led by a revival in domestic demand, solid exports, and favorable external conditions. The government boosted spending ahead of the October 2005 midterm congressional elections, but strong revenue performance allowed Argentina to maintain a budget surplus. Inflation has been rising steadily and reached 12.3 percent in 2005.

GDP (purchasing power parity): $518.1 billion (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 8.7% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP): $13,100 (2005 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 9.6% (2005 est.)

Agriculture - products: sunflower seeds, lemons, soybeans, grapes, corn, tobacco, peanuts, tea, wheat; livestock

Industries: food processing, motor vehicles, consumer durables, textiles, chemicals and petrochemicals, printing, metallurgy, steel

Exports: $40 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Exports - commodities: edible oils, fuels and energy, cereals, feed, motor vehicles

Exports - partners: Brazil 15.8%, US 10.7%, Chile 10.3%, China 8.2% (2005)

Imports: $28.8 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Imports - commodities: machinery and equipment, motor vehicles, chemicals, metal manufactures, plastics

Imports - partners: Brazil 35.6%, US 16.6%, China 5.4%, Germany 5.2% (2005)

Debt - external: $118.2 billion (2005 est.)

Currency ; Argentine peso (ARS)

Exchange rates: Argentine pesos per US dollar - 2.9037 (2005),

Web-sites of International Trade & Domestic Industry

Ministry of Economy www.mecon.gov.ar

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Location: Eastern South America, bordering the Atlantic Ocean

Area: total: 8,511,965 sq km, land: 8,456,510 sq km, water: 55,455 sq km
note: includes Arquipelago de Fernando de Noronha, Atol das Rocas, Ilha da Trindade, Ilhas Martin Vaz, and Penedos de Sao Pedro e Sao Paulo

Climate: mostly tropical, but temperate in south

Natural resources: bauxite, gold, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, platinum, tin, uranium, petroleum, hydropower, timber

 Population: 188,078,227 (July 2006 est.)

Languages: Portuguese (official), Spanish, English, French  

Government type: federative republic

Capital: Brasilia

 Economy - overview: Characterized by large and well-developed agricultural, mining, manufacturing, and service sectors, Brazil's economy outweighs that of all other South American countries and is expanding its presence in world markets. From 2001-03 real wages fell and Brazil's economy grew, on average only 2.2% per year, as the country absorbed a series of domestic and international economic shocks. That Brazil absorbed these shocks without financial collapse is a tribute to the resiliency of the Brazilian economy and the economic program put in place by former President CARDOSO and strengthened by President LULA DA SILVA. In 2004, Brazil enjoyed more robust growth that yielded increases in employment and real wages. The three pillars of the economic program are a floating exchange rate, an inflation-targeting regime, and tight fiscal policy, all reinforced by a series of IMF programs. The currency depreciated sharply in 2001 and 2002, which contributed to a dramatic current account adjustment; in 2003 to 2005, Brazil ran record trade surpluses and recorded its first current account surpluses since 1992. Productivity gains - particularly in agriculture - also contributed to the surge in exports, and Brazil in 2005 surpassed the previous year's record export level. While economic management has been good, there remain important economic vulnerabilities. The most significant are debt-related: the government's largely domestic debt increased steadily from 1994 to 2003 - straining government finances - before falling as a percentage of GDP in 2005, while Brazil's foreign debt (a mix of private and public debt) is large in relation to Brazil's small (but growing) export base. Another challenge is maintaining economic growth over a period of time to generate employment and make the government debt burden more manageable.

GDP (purchasing power parity): $1.556 trillion (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 2.4% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP): $8,400 (2005 est.)

GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 8.4%, industry: 40%, services: 51.6% (2005 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 6.9% (2005 est.)

Agriculture - products: coffee, soybeans, wheat, rice, corn, sugarcane, cocoa, citrus; beef

Industries: textiles, shoes, chemicals, cement, lumber, iron ore, tin, steel, aircraft, motor vehicles and parts, other machinery and equipment

Exports: $115.1 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Exports - commodities: transport equipment, iron ore, soybeans, footwear, coffee, autos

Exports - partners: US 19.8%, China 7.5%, Argentina 7.3%, Germany 5.2%, Netherlands 4.3% (2005)

Imports: $78.02 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Imports - commodities: machinery, electrical and transport equipment, chemical products, oil

Imports - partners: US 19.6%, Germany 8.6%, Argentina 8.5%, China 6.2%, Nigeria 5.6% (2005)

Debt - external: $188 billion (2005 est.)

Currency: real (BRL)

Exchange rates: reals per US dollar - 2.4344 (2005)

Web-sites of International Trade & Domestic Industry

Economy and Commerce Section, Embassy of India www.indianembassy.org.br

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Location: Southern South America, bordering the South Pacific Ocean, between Argentina and Peru

Area: total: 756,950 sq km, land: 748,800 sq km, water: 8,150 sq km
note: includes Easter Island (Isla de Pascua) and Isla Sala y Gomez

Climate: temperate; desert in north; Mediterranean in central region; cool and damp in south

Natural resources: copper, timber, iron ore, nitrates, precious metals, molybdenum, hydropower

 Population: 16,134,219 (July 2006 est.)

 Government type: republic

Capital: Santiago 

 Economy - overview: Chile has a market-oriented economy characterized by a high level of foreign trade. During the early 1990s, Chile's reputation as a role model for economic reform was strengthened when the democratic government of Patricio AYLWIN - which took over from the military in 1990 - deepened the economic reform initiated by the military government. Growth in real GDP averaged 8% during 1991-97, but fell to half that level in 1998 because of tight monetary policies implemented to keep the current account deficit in check and because of lower export earnings - the latter a product of the global financial crisis. A severe drought exacerbated the recession in 1999, reducing crop yields and causing hydroelectric shortfalls and electricity rationing, and Chile experienced negative economic growth for the first time in more than 15 years. Despite the effects of the recession, Chile maintained its reputation for strong financial institutions and sound policy that have given it the strongest sovereign bond rating in South America. By the end of 1999, exports and economic activity had begun to recover, and growth rebounded to 4.2% in 2000. Growth fell back to 3.1% in 2001 and 2.1% in 2002, largely due to lackluster global growth and the devaluation of the Argentine peso. Chile's economy began a slow recovery in 2003, growing 3.2%, and accelerated to 6.1% in 2004-05, while Chile maintained a low rate of inflation. GDP growth benefited from high copper prices, solid export earnings (particularly forestry, fishing, and mining), and stepped-up foreign direct investment. Unemployment, however, remains stubbornly high. Chile deepened its longstanding commitment to trade liberalization with the signing of a free trade agreement with the US, which took effect on 1 January 2004. Chile signed a free trade agreement with China in November 2005, and it already has several trade deals signed with other nations and blocs, including the European Union, Mercosur, South Korea, and Mexico. Record-high copper prices helped to strengthen the peso to a 5-year high, as of December 2005, and will boost GDP in 2006.

GDP (purchasing power parity): $187.1 billion (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 6% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):  $11,300 (2005 est.)

GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 6%, industry: 49.3%,  services: 44.7% (2005 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3.1% (2005 est.)

Agriculture - products: grapes, apples, pears, onions, wheat, corn, oats, peaches, garlic, asparagus, beans; beef, poultry, wool; fish; timber

Industries: copper, other minerals, foodstuffs, fish processing, iron and steel, wood and wood products, transport equipment, cement, textiles

Exports: $38.03 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Exports - commodities: copper, fruit, fish products, paper and pulp, chemicals, wine

Exports - partners: US 15.8%, Japan 11.1%, China 11.1%, Netherlands 5.8%, South Korea 5.5%, Brazil 4.4%, Italy 4.1%, Mexico 4.1% (2005)

Imports: $30.09 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Imports - commodities: petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, electrical and telecommunications equipment, industrial machinery, vehicles, natural gas

Imports - partners: Argentina 14.8%, US 14.6%, Brazil 11.7%, China 7.8%, South Korea 4.8%, Yemen 4.4% (2005)

Debt - external: $47.45 billion (2005 est.)

Currency (code): Chilean peso (CLP)

Currency : CLP

Exchange rates: Chilean pesos per US dollar - 560.09 (2005)

Web-sites of International Trade & Domestic Industry


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Location: Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Panama and Venezuela, and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Ecuador and Panama

Area: total: 1,138,910 sq km, land: 1,038,700 sq km, water: 100,210 sq km
note: includes Isla de Malpelo, Roncador Cay, and Serrana Bank

Climate: tropical along coast and eastern plains; cooler in highlands

Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, nickel, gold, copper, emeralds, hydropower

 Population: 43,593,035 (July 2006 est.)

Languages: Spanish

 Government type: republic; executive branch dominates government structure

Capital: Bogota   

Economy - overview:

Colombia's economy has been on a recovery trend during the past two years despite a serious armed conflict. The economy continues to improve thanks to austere government budgets, focused efforts to reduce public debt levels, an export-oriented growth strategy, and an improved security situation in the country. Ongoing economic problems facing President URIBE range from reforming the pension system to reducing high unemployment. New exploration is needed to offset declining oil production. On the positive side, several international financial institutions have praised the economic reforms introduced by URIBE, which succeeded in reducing the public-sector deficit below 1.5% of GDP. The government's economic policy and democratic security strategy have engendered a growing sense of confidence in the economy, particularly within the business sector. Coffee prices have recovered from previous lows as the Colombian coffee industry pursues greater market shares in developed countries such as the United States.

GDP (purchasing power parity): $337.5 billion (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 5.1% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP): $7,900 (2005 est.)

GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 12.5%,  industry: 34.2%,  services: 53.3% (2005 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 5% (2005 est.)

Agriculture - products: coffee, cut flowers, bananas, rice, tobacco, corn, sugarcane, cocoa beans, oilseed, vegetables; forest products; shrimp

Industries: textiles, food processing, oil, clothing and footwear, beverages, chemicals, cement; gold, coal, emeralds

Exports: $19.3 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Exports - commodities: petroleum, coffee, coal, apparel, bananas, cut flowers

Exports - partners: US 39.4%, Venezuela 8.9%, Ecuador 5.6% (2005)

Imports: $18 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Imports - commodities: industrial equipment, transportation equipment, consumer goods, chemicals, paper products, fuels, electricity

Imports - partners: US 29%, Venezuela 6.6%, Mexico 6%, Brazil 5.6%, China 5%, Germany 4.6%, Japan 4.3% (2005)

Debt - external: $32.35 billion (2005 est.)

Currency: Colombian peso (COP)

Exchange rates: Colombian pesos per US dollar - 2,320.75 (2005)

Web-sites of International Trade & Domestic Industry

Ministry of External Trade www.mincomex.gov.co
Proexport Colombia (Export Promotion Agency) www.proexport.com.co
National Association of Industry (ANDI) www.andi.com.co
Bogota Chamber of Commerce www.ccb.org.co
Confederation of Chambers of Commerce www.confecamaras.org.co
Corferias (Corporation of Fairs & Exhibitions) www.corferias.com
Association of Financial Entities of Colombia (asobancaria) www.asobancaria.com
Coinverti(Foreign Investment Support Agency) www.coinvertir.org.co

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Location: Middle America, bordering the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, between Belize and the US and bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Guatemala and the US

Area: total: 1,972,550 sq km, land: 1,923,040 sq km, water: 49,510 sq km

Climate: varies from tropical to desert

Natural resources: petroleum, silver, copper, gold, lead, zinc, natural gas, timber

 Population: 107,449,525 (July 2006 est.)

Languages: Spanish, various Mayan, Nahuatl, and other regional indigenous languages

 Government type: federal republic

Capital: Mexico (Distrito Federal) 

 Economy - overview: Mexico has a free market economy that recently entered the trillion-dollar class. It contains a mixture of modern and outmoded industry and agriculture, increasingly dominated by the private sector. Recent administrations have expanded competition in seaports, railroads, telecommunications, electricity generation, natural gas distribution, and airports. Per capita income is one-fourth that of the US; income distribution remains highly unequal. Trade with the US and Canada has tripled since the implementation of NAFTA in 1994. Mexico has 12 free trade agreements with over 40 countries including, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, the European Free Trade Area, and Japan, putting more than 90% of trade under free trade agreements. The FOX administration is cognizant of the need to upgrade infrastructure, modernize the tax system and labor laws, and allow private investment in the energy sector, but has been unable to win the support of the opposition-led Congress. The next government that takes office in December 2006 will confront the same challenges of boosting economic growth, improving Mexico's international competitiveness, and reducing poverty.

GDP (purchasing power parity): $1.067 trillion (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 3% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP): $10,000 (2005 est.)

GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 3.8%, industry: 25.9%, services: 70.2% (2005 est.)

Public debt: 17.4% of GDP (2005 est.)

Agriculture - products: corn, wheat, soybeans, rice, beans, cotton, coffee, fruit, tomatoes; beef, poultry, dairy products; wood products

Industries: food and beverages, tobacco, chemicals, iron and steel, petroleum, mining, textiles, clothing, motor vehicles, consumer durables, tourism

Exports: $213.7 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Exports - commodities: manufactured goods, oil and oil products, silver, fruits, vegetables, coffee, cotton

Exports - partners: US 79.9%, Canada 5.7%, Spain 1.4% (2005)

Imports: $223.7 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Imports - commodities: metalworking machines, steel mill products, agricultural machinery, electrical equipment, car parts for assembly, repair parts for motor vehicles, aircraft, and aircraft parts

Imports - partners: US 59.4%, Germany 3.8%, Japan 3.4% (2005)

Debt - external: $137.2 billion (2005 est.)

Currency: Mexican peso (MXN)

Web-sites of International Trade & Domestic Industry

MoC site for statistics www.secofi-snci.gob.mx
National Chamber of Commerce www.ccmexico.com.mx
Mexico Search Engine www.mexico.web.com.mx

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Location:  Western South America, bordering the South Pacific Ocean, between Chile and Ecuador

Area: total: 1,285,220 sq km, land: 1.28 million sq km, water: 5,220 sq km

Climate: varies from tropical in east to dry desert in west; temperate to frigid in Andes

Natural resources: copper, silver, gold, petroleum, timber, fish, iron ore, coal, phosphate, potash, hydropower, natural gas  

Population: 28,302,603 (July 2006 est.)

Languages: Spanish (official), Quechua (official), Aymara, and a large number of minor Amazonian languages

 Government type: constitutional republic

Capital: Lima 

 Economy - overview: Peru's economy reflects its varied geography - an arid coastal region, the Andes further inland, and tropical lands bordering Colombia and Brazil. Abundant mineral resources are found in the mountainous areas, and Peru's coastal waters provide excellent fishing grounds. However, overdependence on minerals and metals subjects the economy to fluctuations in world prices, and a lack of infrastructure deters trade and investment. After several years of inconsistent economic performance, the Peruvian economy grew by more than 4 percent per year during the period 2002-2005, with a stable exchange rate and low inflation. Risk premiums on Peruvian bonds on secondary markets reached historically low levels in late 2004, reflecting investor optimism regarding the government's prudent fiscal policies and openness to trade and investment. Despite the strong macroeconomic performance, the TOLEDO administration remained unpopular in 2005, and unemployment and poverty have stayed persistently high. Economic growth will be driven by the Camisea natural gas megaproject and by exports of minerals, textiles, and agricultural products. Peru is expected to sign a free-trade agreement with the United States in early 2006.

GDP (purchasing power parity): $164.5 billion (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 6.7% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP): $5,900 (2005 est.)

GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 8%,  industry: 27%,  services: 65% (2003 est.)

Agriculture - products: coffee, cotton, sugarcane, rice, potatoes, corn, plantains, grapes, oranges, coca; poultry, beef, dairy products; fish

Industries: mining and refining of minerals; steel, metal fabrication; petroleum extraction and refining, natural gas; fishing and fish processing, textiles, clothing, food processing

Exports: $15.95 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Exports - commodities: copper, gold, zinc, crude petroleum and petroleum products, coffee

Exports - partners: US 31.1%, China 10.8%, Chile 6.6%, Canada 5.9%, Switzerland 4.6% (2005)

Imports: $12.15 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Imports - commodities: petroleum and petroleum products, plastics, machinery, vehicles, iron and steel, wheat, paper

Imports - partners: US 18.2%, China 8.5%, Brazil 8%, Ecuador 7.4%, Colombia 6.1%, Argentina 5.1%, Chile 5.1%, Venezuela 4.1% (2005)

Debt - external: $30.94 billion (2005 est.)

Currency: nuevo sol (PEN)

Exchange rates: nuevo sol per US dollar - 3.2958 (2005)

Web-sites of International Trade & Domestic Industry

Ministry of Industry, Tourism, Integration and  Commercial www.mitinci.gob.pe
Ministry of Economy www.mef.gob.pe
BCRP-Central Bank of Peru www.bcrp.gob.pe
Ministry of External Affairs www.rree.gob.pe
International Chamber of Commerce-ICC Peru www.iccwbo.org
Peruvian Confederation of Private Companies(CONFIEP) www.confiep.org.pe
ADEX (Peruvian Exporters Association) www.adexperu.org.pe/oportuni.htm
Society of Domestic Industries www.sni.org.pe
Lima Chamber of Commerce www.camaralima.org.pe
Peruvian Commerce and Exports www.comexperu.org.pe

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Location: Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, Northeast of Venezuela

Area: 5,130 sq km

Climate: Tropical; rainly season (June to December)

Natural resources: Petroleum, natural gas, asphalt

Language: English

Population: 1,102,096 (July 1999 est.)

Capital: Port of Spain

Administrative divisions: 8 counties, 3 municipalities, and 1 ward; Arima, Caroni, Mayaro, Nariva, Port of Spain, Saint Andrew, Saint David, Saint George, Saint Patrick, San Fernando, Tobago, Victoria

Legal system: Based on English common law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction


Economy- overview: Trinidad & Tobago has earned a reputation as an excellent investment site for international businesses. Successful economic reforms were implemented in 1995, and foreign investment and trade are flourishing. Unemployment- a main cause of the country’s socio economic problems- is high, but has decreased to its lowest point in six years. An investment boom in the energy sector led to a surge in imports in 1997. The resulting trade deficit is expected to return to a surplus once construction is completed and the plants come on line. The petrochemical sector has spurred growth in other related sectors, reinforcing the government’s commitment to economic diversification. Tourism is a major foreign exchange earner, with 260,000 arrivals in 1995, 80% from Europe.

GDP: Purchasing power parity - $8.85 billion (1998 est.)

GDP: Real growth rate: 4.3% (1998)

Agriculture - products: Coca, sugarcane, rice, citrus, coffee, vegetables, poultry

Exports: $2.4 billion (f.o.b., 1997)

Exports - commodities: Petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, steel products, fertiliser, sugar, cocoa, coffee, citrus, flowers

Exports-partners: US 39.7%, Caricom countries 24.5%, Latin America 10.3% EU 8.2% (1997)

Imports: $3.3 billion (c.i.f. 1997)

Imports - commodities: Machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods, food, live animals

Imports–partners: US 52.2%, Latin America 16.5%, EU 13.8%, Japan 3.6% (1997)

Web-sites of International Trade & Domestic Industry

Ministry of Trade, Industry and Commerce www.tradeind.gov.tt
Tourism & Industrial Development Company Limited (TIDCO) www.tidco.co.tt
Government of Trinidad and Tobago www.gob.tt
Ministry of Foreign Affairs www.foreign.gov.tt  

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Location: Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, between Colombia and Guyana

Area: total: 912,050 sq km, land: 882,050 sq km, water: 30,000 sq km

Climate: tropical; hot, humid; more moderate in highlands

Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, gold, bauxite, other minerals, hydropower, diamonds

 Population: 25,730,435 (July 2006 est.)

Languages: Spanish (official), numerous indigenous dialects

 Government type: federal republic

Capital: Caracas 

 Economy - overview: Venezuela continues to be highly dependent on the petroleum sector, accounting for roughly one-third of GDP, around 80% of export earnings, and over half of government operating revenues. Government revenue also has been bolstered by increased tax collection, which has surpassed its 2005 collection goal by almost 50%. Tax revenue is the primary source of non-oil revenue, which accounts for 53% of the 2006 budget. A disastrous two-month national oil strike, from December 2002 to February 2003, temporarily halted economic activity. The economy remained in depression in 2003, declining by 9.2% after an 8.9% fall in 2002. Output recovered strongly in 2004-2005, aided by high oil prices and strong consumption growth. Venezuela continues to be an important source of crude oil for the US market. Both inflation and unemployment remain fundamental problems.

GDP (purchasing power parity): $153.7 billion (2005 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate): $106.1 billion (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 9.3% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP): $6,100 (2005 est.)

GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 4%, industry: 41.9%, services: 54.1% (2005 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 16% (2005 est.)

Agriculture - products: corn, sorghum, sugarcane, rice, bananas, vegetables, coffee; beef, pork, milk, eggs; fish

Industries: petroleum, construction materials, food processing, textiles; iron ore mining, steel, aluminum; motor vehicle assembly

Exports: $52.73 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Exports - commodities: petroleum, bauxite and aluminum, steel, chemicals, agricultural products, basic manufactures

Exports - partners: US 55.2%, Netherlands Antilles 4.4%, Canada 2.8% (2005)

Imports: $24.63 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Imports - commodities: raw materials, machinery and equipment, transport equipment, construction materials

Imports - partners: US 28.9%, Colombia 8.4%, Brazil 6% (2005)

Debt - external: $41.51 billion (2005 est.)

Currency: bolivar (VEB)

Exchange rates: bolivares per US dollar - 2,089.8 (2005)

Web-sites of International Trade & Domestic Industry

Central Statistical Office www.ocei.gov.ve
Federation of Chambers www.fedecamaras.org.ve
Venezuelan Confederation of Industrialists. www.conindustria.org
IT companies chamber www.cavedatos.org
Exporters Directory www.ddex.com
General information on Venezuela www.venezuelalatin-focus.com/countries/venezuela
Industrial information network of Venezuela www.riiv.org
Directory and search engine of Venezuelan companies www.venezuelasite.com
Export Import bank of Venezuela www.exteriorbancoex.com
National Council for Foreign Investment Promotion www.conapri.com
Central Bank of Venezuela www.bcv.org.ve
Caracas Stock Exchange www.caracasstock.com
Ministry of Industry and Trade www.mic.gov.ve
Venezuela-American Chamber of Commerce www.venamcham.org
Chamber of Industrialists www.cic.org.ve
Trade fair information www.expodato.com
Venezuelan association of event organizers www.avoca.com.ve
Venezuelan Association of Chemical and Petrochemical Industries www.asoquim.com
Venezuelan Chamber of autoparts manufacturers www.favenpa.ven.org
Venezuelan Chamber of food processing industry www.cavidea.org.ve
Venezuelan Chamber electrical goods industry www.webmedia.com/cafade
Venezuelan Chamber of Cosmetics industry www.caveinca.org.ve
Venezuelan Chamber of Medicines www.caveme.org

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 Location: Central America, bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Colombia and Costa Rica

Area: total: 78,200 sq km, land: 75,990 sq km, water: 2,210 sq km

Climate: tropical maritime; hot, humid, cloudy; prolonged rainy season (May to January), short dry season (January to May)

Natural resources: copper, mahogany forests, shrimp, hydropower

 Population: 3,191,319 (July 2006 est.)

Languages: Spanish (official), English 14%; note - many Panamanians bilingual

 Government type: constitutional democracy

Capital: Panama 

 Economy - overview: Panama's dollarised economy rests primarily on a well-developed services sector that accounts for three-fourths of GDP. Services include operating the Panama Canal, banking, the Colon Free Zone, insurance, container ports, flagship registry, and tourism. A slump in the Colon Free Zone and agricultural exports, the global slowdown, and the withdrawal of US military forces held back economic growth in 2000-03; growth picked up in 2004 and 2005 led by export-oriented services and a construction boom stimulated by tax incentives. The government has implemented tax reforms, as well as social security reforms, and backs regional trade agreements and development of tourism. Unemployment remains high.

GDP (purchasing power parity): $22.76 billion (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 6.4% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP): $7,200 (2005 est.)

GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 6.8%, industry: 15.6%, services: 77.6% (2005 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.9% (2005 est.)

Agriculture - products: bananas, rice, corn, coffee, sugarcane, vegetables; livestock; shrimp

Industries: construction, brewing, cement and other construction materials, sugar milling

Exports: $7.481 billion f.o.b.; note - includes the Colon Free Zone (2005 est.)

Exports - commodities: bananas, shrimp, sugar, coffee, clothing

Exports - partners: US 18.3%, Spain 15.6%, Germany 7.9%, Greece 4.1% (2005)

Imports: $8.734 billion f.o.b. (includes the Colon Free Zone) (2005 est.)

Imports - commodities: capital goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods, chemicals

Imports - partners: Japan 36.2%, China 16.5%, US 11.4%, Singapore 10% (2005)

Debt - external: $9.758 billion (2005 est.)

Currency : balboa (PAB); US dollar (USD)

Exchange rates: balboas per US dollar - 1 (2005)






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