Uruguay’s trade deficit soared to 549 million dollars in 2011 because of an increase in imports of 23.6%, far ahead of exports rise, 18.1%, according to the Uruguayan government foreign trade institute Uruguay XXI.
Total exports climbed to just over 8 billion dollars while imports reached 8.571bn. The trade deficit increased almost fourfold from the 144 million dollars of 2010.
In December, exports fell 4.8% and imports, 5.7%, reaching 689 and 755 million dollars respectively.
Brazil remains as Uruguay’s main trade partner with 20.3% of the overall exchange with exports to Brazil in 2011 increasing by 11.5% to 1.63 billion dollars. China was second with 8.3% of overall trade and 665 million dollars, which represents a 78.3% increase over 2010.
China is followed by the Nueva Palmira Free Zone and in fourth place Argentina with sales having increased 16.8%, and representing 7.3% of overall trade.
Uruguay’s main export item is beef, 12.2% of the total and equivalent to 979 million dollars which represents a 16.1% increase over 2010.