View of the Iquique Free Zone, Chile, reception center of thousands of new and used cars imported by Bolivia. This year imports exceed exports. (www.lanueva.com)
View of the Iquique Free Zone, Chile, reception center of thousands of new and used cars imported by Bolivia. This year imports exceed exports. (www.lanueva.com)

By Carlos A. Quiroga

In the past decade, Bolivian exports increased tenfold, reaching in 2014 the record high of nearly 13,000 million dollars and permanent trade surplus.

That is one of several indicators of the strong expansion of the small Bolivian economy, which in recent years has faced better than any other in Latin America the difficulties caused by the falling prices of raw materials in the international market.

The Bolivian Institute of Foreign Trade, a think-tank that advises private business, has predicted that Bolivia will have in 2015 a fall in the value of its exports, to just under $ 10,000 million, and a trade deficit of at least $ 330 million, breaking a string of twelve years of uninterrupted trade surplus.

Although three times the previous deficit -101 000 000 dollars in 2003, the deficit forecasted for 2015 is relatively small compared to the volume of foreign trade.

But it is deficit, a red number that can not be ignored, which can grow much in coming years if the global crisis persists and if the economy of Bolivia remains focused on selling raw materials.

The trade deficit is, in short, bad news.

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