Argentina in the Twentieth Century

By David Rock | Go to book overview

5
Anglo-Argentine Trade, 1945-1965

COLIN LEWIS

When Argentina's trading performance since the Second World War is considered, it is invariably contrasted unfavourably with the situation that prevailed during earlier periods. Whatever criteria are adopted, the picture painted is generally a gloomy one. Commenting on his country's foreign trade since 1945 the president of the Argentine Chamber of Commerce stated that until the early 1960s exports had run at approximately $1,000 million a year ( 1968 dollars). Some improvement had been observed since 1962 when that figure had climbed to approximately $1,500 million p.a. Nevertheless, this improvement, he said, compared unfavourably with the position of Argentine trade between the end of the First World War and the Wall Street Crash. Indeed, it represented little more than a return to the 1918-29 situation, when Argentine foreign trade had run at some $1,500 million ( 1968 dollars), and could not compare with the peak year, 1928, when trade had reached $1,700 million ( 1968 dollars).1

If these words brought little comfort to Argentine traders, they had even less to offer their British counterparts. For few of Argentina's trading partners can this period bear a less favourable comparison with earlier developments than for the British. If total Argentine trade since the 1920s has exhibited little improvement in real terms, British trade with Argentina has witnessed an absolute decline, while Britain's role as Argentina's major trading partner has been usurped by others.

Since the turn of the present century Britain had become accustomed to her position as Argentina's most important market and

____________________
1
Jorge S. Oria, Disertación del presidente de la Cámara Argentina de Comercio, Dr. Jorge S. Oria, en el centro de altos estudios del ejército argentino, Buenos Aires, 1968, pp. 10-11.

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