Publish in Trade Talk - Wednesday, August 9, 2017
Venezuela led the way in US growth among the top Latin America oil exporters during the first half. (Photo: PDVSA)
Venezuela leads overall Latin American trade growth with United States.
BY LATINVEX STAFF
As the United States is mulling sanctions against oil from Venezuela, a Latinvex analysis of US Census data shows that during the first half of the year, US imports of Venezuelan crude jumped 54 percent.
Those imports reached $5.9 billion through June compared with $3.8 billion during the first half last year.
As a result, Venezuela ranks as the third-largest oil supplier to the United States after Canada and Saudi Arabia.
Venezuelan oil exports to the United States grew faster than similar exports from Mexico (41.7 percent), Colombia (8.4 percent) and Ecuador (24.7 percent).
But in percentage terms, Brazil outpaced all major Latin American oil exporters, nearly doubling its oil exports to the United States to $1.8 billion.
The news of the Venezuelan oil jump comes as there are growing problems for the country's oil sector. Spain's Repsol pulled all foreign workers from its oil fields in Venezuela amid a deepening political crisis, while Norway's Statoil has withdrawn its expatriate staff and Chevron Corp. and Total SA have removed a small number of employees, Bloomberg reports.
In terms of overall trade growth, Venezuela led the way among the top five Latin American trade partners of the United States.
US trade with Venezuela grew 28.3 percent during the first half to $9.1 billion. The growth was largely due to a 51.8 percent jump in Venezuela’s total exports (dominated by oil), which helped offset a 13.3 percent decline in imports from the United States.
Mexico continues to dominate Latin American trade with the United States, with total trade reaching $273 billion in eth first half, an increase of 6.1 percent from the same period last year.
US imports accounted for $155.1 billion, while US exports to Mexico reached $118.8 billion, resulting in a US trade deficit with Mexico of $36.3 billion – a 13.3 percent increase from the US deficit a year earlier.
US President Donald Trump has repeatedly attacked the US trade deficit with Mexico as unfair and a major reason why he wanted to exit or renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which united the economies of the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Talks to renegotiate the treaty are scheduled to start in Washington next week -- on August 16.
One area Trump has attacked is US imports of autos from Mexico.
"Our automobile industry has just left us and gone to Mexico - I mean, a big chunk of it,” trump told The Wall Street Journal recently. “And it's very unfair for them to take our companies, [build] their cars, and then sell the car back into our country with no tax. It's very unfair."
However, figures show US imports of passenger cars from Mexico are less ($14.2 billion) than the value of similar imports from Canada ($23.1 billion) and Japan ($18.8 billion), and the US president has not threatened any auto tariffs against those countries.
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