Brazilians’ nickname for Argentines is hermanos, or brothers. But when it comes to trade, the two sides are increasingly anything but.

Despite the fact that both countries are in the Mercosur free trade bloc, a poll by the Brazil’s Confederation of National Industry with the Argentine consultancy found that Brazil export volumes to its neighbour slipped 18 per cent in 2012.

More infuriatingly for Brazil was that its place was being taken not by other Latin American countries in Mercosur but by the rest of the world. Exports from the Netherlands to Argentina rose 160 per cent in 2012, from the United State 9 per cent, Japan 7 per cent and Germany 2 per cent. Only Canada’s export rate fell like Brazil’s.

This from Valor Econômico:

Brazilian businessmen complain that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is to cross Argentine customs with certain goods. In 2004, less than 4 per cent of Brazilian exports to Argentina faced some kind of restrictions. In 2008, this was 13 per cent, in 2011 20 per cent and In 2012, 100 per cent.

The export problems are compounded by those of Brazilian miner Vale in Argentina.

Since the Brazilian company announced it was suspending a mining project there, Argentina has stepped up threats of expropriation The situation is so tense that Vale has called back its executives for “security reasons”.

Clearly, there is not much love – brotherly or otherwise – being lost in the relationship between South America’s hermanos these days.

Related reading:
Argentina to Vale: my way or the highway, beyondbrics
Brazil-Argentina: it’s a love-hate relationship, beyondbrics
Argentina tests patience of Brazil, FT
Brazil: weighed down by Argentina, beyondbrics

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