Economy of Latin America

MEXICO

According to COUNTRYAAH, there are 33 countries in Latin America. Mexico is one of them, and it is a democratic, federal republic led by a president elected for six years. The revolution of the early 20th century led to a radical constitution aimed at building a democratic welfare state. However, the country is characterized by large social gaps and violence as a result of the power of the drug cartels. The trade union movement is free but fragmented as large parts had close links to previous government parties and lacked the opportunity to act as an independent movement.

Mexico

Country Facts

State condition: Republic

Surface: 1,958,000 km2

Capital: Mexico City

Language: Spanish

Labor market and economy:

Mexico remains a partially agricultural country where agriculture plays a significant role, mainly in rural employment, but the country’s GDP is mostly based on industry and service industries, while agriculture accounts for only a few percent. Oil is an important source of income, but the state oil company has periodically been used to finance the state. According to the World Bank’s classification, Mexico is considered an upper middle income country.

During the 1980’s, economic policy was restructured with deregulation and reduced government influence over the economy. The NAFTA Free Trade Agreement between Mexico, the United States and Canada was the cornerstone of the reform package that led to increased exports and the emergence of assembly plants in northern Mexico near the US border.

Internationalization of the economy has meant a dichotomy of the economy and the labor market where a technologically advanced and capital-intensive industry has emerged in parallel labor-intensive and low-paid operations in the assembly plants in northern Mexico. In rural areas, poverty has increased among small farmers, especially among the Native American population in the southern parts of the country.
The informal sector is estimated at about a third of the economy, and for a long time, moving to the United States was a way of escaping unemployment and poverty. Emigration to the United States has declined sharply in recent years, but the money that Mexicans send abroad to their families is still one of the country’s most important sources of income.

In 2012, the largest labor law reform was implemented since the 1970’s, which gave companies greater opportunities to employ staff on short-term contracts and through outsourcing. The new law places increased demands on transparency among trade unions, which must, among other things, publish their income.

COLOMBIA

After a more than 50-year civil war, the government signed a peace agreement with the left-wing guerrilla Farc in 2016. The agreement paved the way for the beginning of a new period in the country’s history where no longer the armed conflict, but social and economic reforms can be at the center of it. political debate. The trade union movement is free but was subjected to brutal persecution during the war when thousands of union leaders were assassinated. Violence has decreased but not stopped and the trade union movement is still under heavy pressure but has been a leader in the extensive protests and strikes that have challenged the government’s policy over the past year.

Colombia

Country Facts

State condition: Republic

Surface: 1,141,000 km2

Capital: Bogota

Language: Spanish

Labor market and economy:

According to ALLCITYPOPULATION, Colombia is a middle-income country, Latin America’s fourth largest economy and has enjoyed good growth in recent years thanks to high prices for oil, coal and other raw materials. Poverty has decreased but the social gaps are still deep. Today, there is a majority of the formal workforce in the service sector, while around 15 percent work in the respective industries and agriculture. The informal sector has also grown and today employs the majority of the able-bodied population.

The economy has traditionally been based on agriculture and coffee, tobacco and bananas were early Colombia’s major export products. From the 1940’s onwards, a domestic industry protected by tariffs and other import barriers also developed. Agriculture, which in 1960 accounted for 50 percent of the country’s GDP, gradually declined to 35 percent in 1970 and today accounts for just under 7 percent of GDP. In the early 1990’s, Colombia adopted a more neoliberal policy of lower tariffs, divestments, and favorable terms for foreign investors. Consumption increased, which also increased growth, but also inflation, which reached over 30 per cent, and economic growth stalled, at the same time as the armed conflict worsened.

The high commodity prices in the first decade after the turn of the millennium stimulated a sharp expansion of the oil, gas and coal sector, which led to an economic recovery. Colombia also concluded a number of free trade agreements with the US and the EU and other major markets, which in turn led to increased consumption but also increased imports and major competition problems for domestic production.

ECUADOR

Ecuador’s economy has been built on agricultural products and the exploitation of oil and gas. The dependence on international prices for these commodities has led to repeated economic and political crises, and after being close to a state bankruptcy in the late 1990’s, Ecuador abandoned its own currency and now uses the US dollar. After a decade of relative stability thanks to high oil prices under left-wing President Rafael Correa, Ecuador has once again found itself in an economic crisis and political instability.
The trade union movement is weak and fragmented and has difficulty organizing people as just over half of the workforce works in the informal sector.

Ecuador

Country Facts

State condition: Republic

Surface: 258,000 km2

Capital: Quito

Language: Spanish, kichwa

Labor market and economy:

Traditionally, Ecuador lived largely on exports of agricultural products such as bananas, shrimp and coffee. The discovery of large oil deposits in the 1960’s changed the country from an agricultural nation to South America’s fifth largest oil producer, and today oil exports account for a quarter of GDP. The rise and fall in oil prices have led to repeated economic crises and a difficulty in pursuing a long-term economic policy. The United States and neighboring countries are the most important trading partners. In 2016, Ecuador signed a free trade agreement with the EU with the hope of broadening its exports.
More than half of the labor force is active in the informal sector, while agriculture and industry, related to oil and gas, are the largest formal sectors.