Home Business & Finance Dubai Chamber members see rebound in Latin America-bound exports in Q1-2021

Dubai Chamber members see rebound in Latin America-bound exports in Q1-2021


The value of Dubai Chamber members’ exports and re-exports to Latin America surged 69% to reach a record $60.5 million in the first quarter of 2021, a trend supported by increased activity among companies in Dubai that are already trading with the region.

New data released Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry indicated that the increase in Latin America-bound shipments among members reflected a long-term trend rather than a Covid-led rebound as the declared value of COOs increased at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.4% since Q1-2016.

Growth factors

The uptick in exports came as Dubai Chamber gradually expanded its presence and activities in Latin America in recent years. After opening its first representative office in the region in Brazil in 2017, the organisation established two more offices in Panama and Argentina, which play a crucial role in identifying trade and investment opportunities in promising markets.

In addition, the offices organise trade missions, business forums and high-level meetings, while they also promote Dubai as a global business hub at major exhibitions and conferences.

Three quarters of the $60.5 million worth of exports and re-exports to Latin America in Q1-2021 were attributed to three key markets – namely, Brazil, which accounted for the largest share of 36%, followed by Mexico (26%) and Venezuela (14%).

Figure 1: Top 10 markets in LATAM in Q1-2021 (% share in total LATAM COOs declared value)

Source: Dubai Chamber COOs Database

The total number of COOs issued for shipments targeting Latin America in Q1-2021 reached a record 739 certificates, which is double the level recorded 5 years ago.

High-potential markets

According to 2019 estimates by the International Trade Center (ITC), there is an untapped export potential of $545 million in UAE exports to Latin America a year. This presents an opportunity for UAE companies to double the value of exports to the region in the short term.

Table 1: Top LATAM markets with remaining untapped potential for UAE products

Markets  Actual Exports – 2019 (USD m) Remaining untapped potential (USD m)
Mexico 169.7 173.7
Brazil 113.6 118.5
Colombia 54.9 58.8
Chile 50.7 54.3
Peru 31.6 33.5
Argentina 27.9 31.0
Panama 17.8 22.8
Uruguay 14.6 19.4
Paraguay 13.9 17.5
El Salvador 12.3 15.3
Total 507.0 544.8

Source: Dubai Chamber, ITC

According to ITC estimates, Mexico stands to offer the highest growth potential for UAE exporters in Latin America with an estimated $174 million worth of potential exports that could be realised in the near term. Brazil is second with $118.5 million, followed by Colombia with $59 million.

Other promising Latin America markets, namely Chile, Peru, Argentina, Panama, Uruguay, Paraguay and El Salvador offer a cumulative $194 million in annual untapped potential for UAE exporters, according to the estimates.

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