In terms of international trade, it would be bold to talk about Latin America as a homogeneous region. Therefore, it is important to carry out a detailed analysis of each variable in each of its countries to better understand the existing opportunities and how exporting companies can penetrate their respective markets.
To give some context, according to a report by COMEX, Spain's exports to the Latin American region between January-December 2022 were 4.7% of the total and increased by 27% YoY, with Mexico and Brazil being our biggest clients.
As for significant rebounds, last year sales to Mexico (0.3 points) stood out mainly in clothing, automotive components, and essential and perfumed oils; Brazil (0.3 points) especially in oil and derivatives, fertilizers, and general-purpose machinery; and Colombia (0.1 points) in oil and derivatives, and to a lesser extent, clothing, cars, and motorcycles.
Regarding industries, Latin America presents significant opportunities and upward trends in the following markets: pharmachemical, cosmetic and perfumery, industrial and automotive machinery, energy, food, and ICT sectors. We will analyze each of them below:
Global Health Intelligence, a pharmaceutical market researcher, predicted a growth of approximately 9.3% in the industry in Latin America between 2018 and 2023. Undoubtedly, the forecast is being fulfilled, with Brazil and Mexico being the main attractions, followed by Argentina, Colombia, and Ecuador.
Brazil is the second-largest emerging pharmaceutical market in the world, sixth in the global chemical industry ranking, and has around 976 chemical plants. The Spanish pharmaceutical product in Brazil is perceived as high quality and strongly associated with the European product. On the other hand, it faces tough competition from producers with more competitive prices such as China or India. However, companies such as Werfen, Grifols, and Indukern have successfully established themselves in Brazil. In the case of chemical products, Spain is Brazil's sixth supplier, compared to competitors such as the US, Germany, and India, but having experienced a growth in exports since 2016 of around 40%.
Mexico's case is also significant. In 2021, Spanish chemical products sales reached 662 million euros, being our second market with the best perspective. Some of the most successful products in the Aztec country are inorganic chemical products, nitrites and nitrates, paints, and soaps. In terms of drugs, our market share in Mexico is still low (3% of the total) compared to big players such as the United States or Germany. One of the great advantages of the Spanish product is that the Mexican consumer associates it with quality, biotechnology, and research, so digitization of the chemical industry and a greater focus on the circular economy could be the keys to success for Spanish exporting companies.
There are other variables that are affecting Latin America in general and that must be studied to develop an appropriate business and sales strategy: the increase in the middle class, population aging, greater access to higher quality (and therefore higher-priced) medicines, and the rise of medical demands and niches such as nutricosmetics and dietetics.
COSMETICS, PERFUMERY, AND PERSONAL HYGIENE SECTOR