flag Bolivia Bolivia: Trade Profile

Foreign Trade in Figures

Bolivia is open to foreign trade, on which the country's economy strongly depends. According to the latest available data, Bolivia's trade to GDP ratio reached 56% in 2019. However, corruption and other structural problems, such as its landlocked isolation, harm its trade. Bolivia has been a member of the WTO for over two decades, and the country is the 8th largest exporter in South America and the 9th largest importer. The country mainly exports petroleum gas (28.7%), gold (17.5%), zinc ores and concentrates (11.7%), oil-cake (7%), and precious metal ores and concentrates (6.9%), while its main imports include petroleum oils (12.8%), motor vehicles (3.8%), insecticides (3.1%), medicaments (2.4%), and bars and rods made of iron or non-alloy steel (2.1%). According to IMF Foreign Trade Forecasts, the volume of exports of goods and services increased by an estimated 5.5% in 2021 and is expected to increase by 2.2% in 2022, while the volume of imports of goods and services increased by an estimated 18.1% in 2021 and is expected to increase by 7% in 2022.

Bolivia's main trade partners are Brazil, Argentina, China, Peru, India, the United States, and Japan. Trade with neighbouring countries is growing, partly thanks to several regional preferential trade agreements. Bolivia is a member of the Andean Community, along with Peru, Ecuador and Colombia, and an associate member of Mercosur (Southern America Common Market) - a status which the country is trying to change in order become a full time member. However, some of the country's views might make it difficult for them to become a member of the trade bloc, particularly its allegiance to some non-democratic governments and its rhetoric against imperialism, which quite often leave the country isolated and in a difficult spot diplomatically. Additionally, it should be noted that even though Bolivia is an attractive recipient of foreign investment, its international contracts often lack transparency.

Bolivia used to have a traditionally positive trade balance, fuelled by structural needs for gas of the Brazilian and Argentinean markets and, even though the country incurred a trade deficit between 2014 and 2019, Bolivia recorded a positive trade balance in 2020 for the first time in over half a decade (USD 450 million). Over that period, exports of goods reached USD 7,01 billion, while total imports of goods were worth USD 7,08 billion. Concerning the trade of services, the imports amounted to USD 1,7 billion, while the exports amounted to USD 603 million.

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20162017201820192020
Imports of Goods (million USD) 8,3749,2889,9969,7847,080
Exports of Goods (million USD) 6,9697,8468,9658,7577,015
Imports of Services (million USD) 2,7843,0773,0492,8581,743
Exports of Services (million USD) 1,2041,4181,4351,418603
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -4622n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -6-55-2n/a
Trade Balance (million USD) -901-547-460-236450
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 56575756n/a
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 32323131n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 24252625n/a

Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank - Latest available data.

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Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2021
India 16.7%
Brazil 13.1%
Argentina 9.4%
Japan 8.3%
Colombia 6.4%
See More Countries 46.1%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2021
China 20.5%
Brazil 17.7%
Argentina 13.2%
Peru 8.4%
Chile 6.6%
See More Countries 33.5%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

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Main Products

11.1 bn USD of products exported in 2021
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought...Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 23.0%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 21.0%
Zinc ores and concentratesZinc ores and concentrates 12.5%
Precious-metal ores and concentratesPrecious-metal ores and concentrates 7.9%
Oilcake and other solid residues, whether or not...Oilcake and other solid residues, whether or not ground or in the form of pellets, resulting from the extraction of soya-bean oil 6.4%
See More Products 29.2%
9.6 bn USD of products imported in 2021
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 23.3%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 3.9%
Bars and rods, of iron or non-alloy steel, not...Bars and rods, of iron or non-alloy steel, not further worked than forged, hot-rolled, hot-drawn or hot-extruded, but incl. those twisted after rolling (excl. in irregularly wound coils) 3.0%
Insecticides, rodenticides, fungicides, herbicides...Insecticides, rodenticides, fungicides, herbicides, anti-sprouting products and plant-growth regulators, disinfectants and similar products, put up for retail sale or as preparations or articles, e.g. sulphur-treated bands, wicks and candles, and fly-papers 2.8%
Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl....Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl. chassis with engine and cab 1.9%
See More Products 65.1%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

 

To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows

 
 

Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data

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Commercial Policy

International Economic Cooperation
Member of World Trade Organisation
Member of Andean Community

Member of Asociación latinoamericana de integración

Member of MERCOSUR (Associate member)

Member of Organization of American States - OAS

Assessment of Commercial Policy
Bolivia and the WTO
Barriers to exchanges
Average Customs Duty (Excluding Agricultural Products)
6.82%
 
 

Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
International Economic Cooperation
Member of Andean Community

Member of Asociación latinoamericana de integración

Member of MERCOSUR (Associate member)

Member of Organization of American States - OAS

Useful Resources
National Customs (in Spanish)
National Organisation of Intellectual Property
The SENAPI, National Industrial Property Center.
 
 
 

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Latest Update: October 2022