Rubber and Plastic in Latin America

November 2021

In 2020, Latin America’s rubber and plastic industry witnessed a sharp decline in production output as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the 2021-2030 period, rubber and plastic producers in Latin America are projected to experience slow recovery, due to high economic uncertainty and political instability. Moreover, structural challenges, supply chain disruptions and stricter environmental regulations will pose additional challenges to manufacturers of rubber and plastic products.

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Key findings

Rubber and plastic producers in Latin America to experience prolonged recovery

The rubber and plastic industry in Latin America remains underdeveloped, accounting for 3.5% of global production in 2020. The region’s competitiveness is faltering due to political instability, widespread corruption, large informal sector, lack of skilled workforce and poor infrastructure. Moreover, Latin America is among the worst affected regions by the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to economic and policy uncertainty, the industry is projected to witness slow recovery and reach 2019 production levels only by 2028.

Brazil to remain the largest regional producer by 2030

Due to a large domestic manufacturing sector, Brazil is set to remain the largest rubber and plastic producer in Latin America. However, the country is forecast to register sluggish growth over 2021-2030, especially in the rubber products segment. The prolonged COVID-19 crisis, political turmoil, supply chain disruptions and structural bottlenecks will hamper manufacturing sector development, hindering B2B demand for rubber and plastic products.

Mexico is forecast to lead in terms of absolute growth over 2021-2030, while Argentina will shrink the most

Mexico is expected to lead the region’s growth in absolute terms through to 2030 and remain the second largest rubber and plastic producer in Latin America, driven by an expanding automotive sector and increasing demand for plastic packaging. On the other hand, rubber and plastic production in Argentina will shrink the most across regional countries, undermined by ongoing economic crisis and extremely high inflation.

New trade deal to boost trade flows between Mexico and North America

Mexico is the largest exporter and importer of rubber and plastic products in Latin America. The US-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which entered into force in July 2020, is expected to boost trade flows between participating economies.


Key findings

Production Outlook

Industry in Latin America remains underdeveloped
Industry in Latin America to reach pre-pandemic levels only in 2028
Brazil to remain the largest regional producer despite weak growth
Growing manufacturing sector supports industry growth in Mexico
Mexico is forecast to lead in terms of absolute growth
Plastic products will continue to dominate the market

Competitive Landscape

The industry in Latin America is dominated by SMEs
Large companies generate the most revenues

Foreign Trade

New trade deal to boost trade flows between Mexico and North America
Mexico remains the main rubber and plastic importer in the region

Country Snapshots

Brazil : Production Context
Brazil : Foreign Trade Landscape
Mexico : Production Context
Mexico : Foreign Trade Landscape
Argentina : Production Context
Argentina : Foreign Trade Landscape
Colombia : Production Context
Colombia : Foreign Trade Landscape
Chile: Production Context
Chile: Foreign Trade Landscape
Peru : Production Context
Peru : Foreign Trade Landscape
Costa Rica : Production Context
Costa Rica : Foreign Trade Landscape
Ecuador : Production Context
Ecuador : Foreign Trade Landscape
Puerto Rico : Production Context
Puerto Rico: Foreign Trade Landscape
Cuba : Production Context
Cuba : Foreign Trade Landscape
Uruguay : Production Context
Uruguay : Foreign Trade Landscape
Dominican Republic: Production Context
Dominican Republic: Foreign Trade Landscape
Panama : Production Context
Panama : Foreign Trade Landscape


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