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    trade relationship between the United States and Latin American countries during the last half century

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    What is the trade relationship between the United States and Latin American countries during the last half century? How do past Latin American trade practices affect the region today?

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    What is the trade relationship between the United States and Latin American countries during the last half-century. How do past Latin American trade practices affect the region today?

    For the purpose of this overview, trading relations will be assessed mainly in relation to the balances of merchandise trade that selected Caribbean countries have with the international community. This is because of restricted data availability and of the generalization that merchandise trade balances of CARICOM countries are typical of trading relations of the other countries of the Caribbean. The relations identified with the U.S.A. cannot be extended to Cuba but descriptions of trading relations in the Caribbean are a work in progress especially as negotiations and agreements continue to evolve at a rapid pace.
    Table 1: Indicators of Trading Relations of Selected Caribbean Countries (U.S. $ billion)

    1983 1984 1985 1990 1994 1995 1996
    Exports of
    goods and services +10.2 +10.5 +9.0 +11.3 +15.1 +16.6 +18.3
    (of which)
    Merchandise exports +5.0 +5.0 +4.6 +5.3 +7.6 +8.6 +8.4
    Imports of
    Goods and Services -12.0 -11. 2 -9. 3 -11.0 -15. 2 -17.0 -19.1
    (of which)
    Merchandise imports -7.1 -6. 2 -5.6 -7. 2 -10. 9 -12.4 -12. 5
    Balance on
    Goods and Services -1.8 -0.7 -0. 3 +0. 3 -0.1 -0.4 -0.8
    Note: Data in Table 1 relate to Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

    Sources: CARICOM Secretariat, International Financial Statistics and author estimates. Data gaps are many. Data reliability is weak as is evident from large changes in estimates in different reporting periods.

    As indicated in Table 1, exports of services have grown in relation to merchandise exports. While merchandise exports of the countries included in Table 1 increased at the annual rate of about 4%, exports of services expanded faster, by about 5% per annum. But the difference of about one percentage point in rates of growth between merchandise exports and exports of services has not changed significantly towards the end of the 1990s as is generally supposed. Although key agricultural exports are jeopardized by changes in preferential arrangements and exports of manufactures are facing increasing competition in the U.S. market, merchandise exports have continued to expand largely on account of dynamism in merchandise exports from the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana.
    What is also remarkable is that management of the external sector in the countries identified has resulted in a significant narrowing of the resource gap from 1983 when countries were in the midst of programs of adjustment from the increases in the price of oil. The balance on goods and services of the countries has narrowed from nearly U.S. $ 2 billion to slightly less than U.S. $ 1 billion by 1996.
    The data put out by the CARICOM Secretariat are very ...

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