Beyond ideology, businessmen from El Alto open the US market

Liliana Carrillo V. / La Paz

“We people from El Alto are revolutionaries and entrepreneurs, we are brave and capitalists.” With the official Amcham member certificate in her hands, Irma Acme encourages her fellow countrymen: “The rooster crows where she wants and we people from El Alto have the strength to reach the whole world.” Applause fills the Diosa Temis room, which raises a huge and very Alteña Statue of Liberty on its façade.

That cholet that sports the greatest American symbol was last Thursday the venue for the “Promoting binational business” breakfast in which businessmen from El Alto, members of the US Embassy in Bolivia and directors of the Bolivian American Chamber of Commerce (Amcham) participated.

At the event, Zachary Dunn, economics officer of the United States Embassy in Bolivia, presented the situation and opportunities for exports. “Currently 60 Bolivian companies export more than a hundred products to the United States thanks to the Generalized System of Preferences (SGP)” Dunn said.

The United States has the largest economy on the planet with a Gross Domestic Product of more than 20,000 million dollars. Its immense market opens up opportunities for business relationships. For this reason, it is an objective for Bolivian businessmen in general and from El Alto in particular.

Bolivia is one of the countries benefiting from the Generalized System of Tariff Preferences (GSP) that contemplates around 3,500 products. In some way, the path opened by the Andean Trade Preferences and Drug Eradication Law (Atpdea) continues, which between 2001 and 2008 generated 2,517.7 million dollars in Bolivian exports to the US, according to the INE.

According to data from the Bolivian Institute of Foreign Trade (IBCE) in 2020, the United States bought Bolivian value-added products such as coated or plated precious metal jewelry, natural leather or regenerated leather manufactures, furniture and even pasta.

Although the most exported Bolivian products to the northern country are still miners, in the last two years the United States of America acquired quinoa, chestnuts, sugar, chia and quinoa, among others. In addition, the goods that originate in the manufacturing industry represent the largest amount of exports to the United States market from Latin America.