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Argentina and the United States: Trade, 1914-45

Argentina and World War I

Argentina stayed neutral throughout the war because it didn't see the war as directly affecting its interests. There was lots of pro-British sympathy in Argentina and lots of money could be earned from the war sale of meat and grains as well as other needed items. Staying neutral facilitated that. In fact, Argentina, tilted towards the British and the Allies. Since the United States was also a neutral, there was no conflict between the two countries. Even after the United States entered the war, Argentina tended to be pro-Allies.

United States-Argentine trade expanded during the war. By 1918, Argentina foreign trade had reached $1.263 billion, almost double that of 1914. Argentina loaned some 250 million dollars to the Allies during war. By 1918, the United States was the best market for Argentine goods as well as the leading supplier.

Argentine economy, 1914-1939

Between 1913 and 1929, the value of foreign trade tripled. Argentines were able to buy more foreign-made articles per person than even the United States. Because of shortages of imported goods and petroleum during World War I, domestic and foreign capital developed new industries and petroleum sources. The war brought higher wages for labor and expansion of the school system. Cities grew as people flocked to them for jobs and prosperity encouraged higher survival rates for children.

US-Argentine trade

Total US-Argentine trade peaked at $421 million in 1920. From 1914-1919, Argentina enjoyed a favorable balance of trade. In the 1921-1929 period, total trade volume ran better than two billion dollars but Argentina suffered a trade deficit with the US. The share of US trade with Argentina was increasing while Britain's share was decreasing. Reasons included:

© 2001 Donald J. Mabry