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Mercosur (in
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...
), Mercosul (in
Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portug ...
), or Ñemby Ñemuha (in Guarani), officially Southern Common Market,, pt, link=no, Mercado Comum do Sul, gn, link=no, Ñemby Ñemuha is a
South American South America is a continent entirely in the Western Hemisphere and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. It can also be described as a southern subcontinent of the Americas. The ref ...
trade bloc A trade bloc is a type of intergovernmental agreement, often part of a regional intergovernmental organization, where barriers to trade (tariffs and others) are reduced or eliminated among the participating states. Trade blocs can be stand-alone ag ...
established by the
Treaty of Asunción The Treaty of Asunción was a treaty between the countries of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay signed on March 26, 1991. The objective of the treaty, signed in Asunción, was to establish a common market among the participating countries, p ...
in 1991 and
Protocol of Ouro Preto The 1994 Protocol of Ouro Preto was the continuation of economic policies setting up a customs union, as set forth four years earlier in the Treaty of Asunción by the four original Mercosur states. (Consisting of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Ur ...
in 1994. Its full members are
Argentina Argentina (), officially the Argentine Republic ( es, link=no, República Argentina), is a country located mostly in the southern half of South America. Sharing the bulk of the Southern Cone with Chile to the west, the country is also bordered by ...
,
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) and with over 211 millio ...
,
Paraguay Paraguay (; ), officially the Republic of Paraguay ( es, República del Paraguay, links=no; gn, Tetã Paraguái, links=no), is a country in South America. It is bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, a ...
, and
Uruguay Uruguay (; ; pt, Uruguai), officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay ( es, República Oriental del Uruguay), is a country in the southeastern region of South America. It borders Argentina to its west and southwest and Brazil to its north and nor ...
.
Venezuela Venezuela (; ), officially the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela ( es, link=no, República Bolivariana de Venezuela), is a country on the northern coast of South America, consisting of a continental landmass and many islands and islets in the Ca ...
is a full member but has been suspended since 1 December 2016. Associate countries are
Bolivia Bolivia ; ay, Wuliwya ; Quechua: ''Puliwya'' , officially the Plurinational State of Bolivia, is a landlocked country located in western-central South America. The constitutional capital is Sucre, while the seat of government and executiv ...
,
Chile Chile (, ; ), officially the Republic of Chile (), is a country in western South America. It occupies a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Chile covers an area of and has a population ...
,
Colombia Colombia ( , ; ), officially the Republic of Colombia (), is a country in South America with territories in North America. Colombia is bounded on the north by the Caribbean Sea, the northwest by Panama, the south by Ecuador and Peru, the east ...

Colombia
,
Ecuador Ecuador ( ; ; Quechua: ''Ikwayur''; Shuar: ''Ecuador'' or ''Ekuatur''), officially the Republic of Ecuador ( es, República del Ecuador, which literally translates as "Republic of the Equator"; Quechua: ''Ikwadur Ripuwlika''; Shuar: ''Ekuatur ...

Ecuador
,
Guyana Guyana (pronounced or ), officially the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, is a country on the northern mainland of South America and the capital city is Georgetown. Guyana is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the north, Brazil to the south and ...
,
Peru , , image_flag = Flag_of_Peru.svg , image_coat = Escudo_nacional_del_Perú.svg , other_symbol = Great Seal of the State , other_symbol_type = National seal , national_motto ...
and
Suriname Suriname (, sometimes spelled Surinam), officially known as the Republic of Suriname ( nl, Republiek Suriname ), is a country on the northeastern Atlantic coast of South America. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the north, French Guiana ...

Suriname
. The name ''Mercosur'' is a Spanish portmanteau of Mercado Común del Sur (Portuguese ''Mercosul'', portmanteau of Mercado Comum do Sul) which both mean "Common Market of the South". Mercosur's origins are linked to the discussions for the constitution of a regional economic market for Latin America, which go back to the treaty that established the
Latin American Free Trade AssociationThe Latin American Free Trade Association, LAFTA, (later transformed into the Latin American Integration Association es, Asociación Latinoamericana de Integración, pt, Associação Latino-Americana de Integração) was created in 1960 in the 1960 T ...
in 1960, which was succeeded by the
Latin American Integration Association The Latin American Integration Association / Asociación Latinoamericana de Integración / Associação Latino-Americana de Integração (LAIA / ALADI) is an international and regional scope organization. It was created on 12 August 1980 by the 19 ...
in the 1980s. At the time, Argentina and Brazil made progress in the matter, signing the Iguaçu Declaration (1985), which established a bilateral commission, which was followed by a series of trade agreements the following year. The Integration, Cooperation and Development Treaty, signed between both countries in 1988, set the goal of establishing a
common market#REDIRECT Single market {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
, to which other Latin American countries could join. Paraguay and Uruguay joined the process and the four countries became signatories to the
Treaty of Asunción The Treaty of Asunción was a treaty between the countries of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay signed on March 26, 1991. The objective of the treaty, signed in Asunción, was to establish a common market among the participating countries, p ...
(1991), which established the Southern Common Market, a trade alliance aimed at boosting the regional economy, moving goods, people among themselves, workforce and capital. Initially a
free trade zone A free-trade zone (FTZ) is a class of special economic zone. It is a geographic area where goods may be imported, stored, handled, manufactured, or reconfigured and re-exported under specific customs regulation and generally not subject to custo ...
was established, in which the signatory countries would not tax or restrict each other's imports. As of January 1, 1995, this area became a
customs union A customs union is generally defined as a type of trade bloc which is composed of a free trade area with a common external tariff.GATTArticle 24 s. 8 (a) Customs unions are established through trade pacts where the participant countries set up co ...
, in which all signatories could charge the same quotas on imports from other countries (common external tariff). The following year, Bolivia and Chile acquired membership status. Other Latin American nations have expressed interest in joining the group. Mercosur's purpose is to promote
free trade#REDIRECT Free trade#REDIRECT Free trade {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
and the fluid movement of goods, people, and currency. Since its foundation, Mercosur's functions have been updated and amended many times; it currently confines itself to a
customs union A customs union is generally defined as a type of trade bloc which is composed of a free trade area with a common external tariff.GATTArticle 24 s. 8 (a) Customs unions are established through trade pacts where the participant countries set up co ...
, in which there is free intra-zone trade and a common trade policy between member countries. In 2019, the Mercosur had generated a nominal
gross domestic product Gross domestic product (GDP) is a monetary measure of the market value of all the final goods and services produced in a specific time period. GDP (nominal) per capita does not, however, reflect differences in the cost of living and the inflation ...
(GDP) of around 4.6 trillion
US dollars The United States dollar (symbol: ; code: USD; also abbreviated US$ or U.S. Dollar, to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies; referred to as the dollar, U.S. dollar, American dollar, or colloquial buck) is the official curren ...
, placing the bloc as the 5th economy of the world. The bloc places high on the
human development index#REDIRECT Human Development Index#REDIRECT Human Development Index {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ...
. It has signed
free trade agreementA free trade agreement (FTA) or treaty is a bilateral or multilateral agreement according to international law to form a free-trade area between the cooperating states. There are two types of trade agreements - bilateral and multilateral. Bilateral t ...
s with
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל; ar, إِسْرَائِيل), officially known as the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, '), is a country in Western Asia, located on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Se ...
,
Egypt Egypt ( ; ar, مِصر ), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia by a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt is a Mediterranean count ...
,
Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat = Imperial Seal of Japan.svg , alt_coat = Golden circle subdivided ...
and the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe. Its members have a combined area of and an estimated total population of about 447million. The EU has developed an internal s ...
, among others.


History


Background

For five centuries South America has been the scene of some of the most violent battles in the Americas. Since the arrival of the Spanish and Portuguese to the continent, the
La Plata Basin Los Angeles (; es, Los Ángeles; "The Angels"), officially the City of Los Angeles and often abbreviated as L.A., is the largest city in California. With an estimated population of nearly four million people, it is the second most populous ...
has been the scene of Luso-Spanish disputes over territory (the territory that today is Uruguay, was once Spanish, then Portuguese, again Spanish and Brazilian). However, at the same time, in this region there are fundamental chapters of the political and economic emancipation of future Mercosur members. During the 16th and 17th centuries, Spain organized the commercial system of its colonies around the "fleets and galleons" scheme, authorizing only certain ports the right to send or receive goods originating from these colonies. For cities like
Buenos Aires Buenos Aires ( or ; ), officially Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, is the capital and largest city of Argentina. The city is located on the western shore of the Río de la Plata, on South America's southeastern coast. "Buenos Aires" can be trans ...

Buenos Aires
, founded in 1580, this system threatened the region's economic development. To face this economic confinement, the population of Buenos Aires saw the only possible way out: the commercial exchange (albeit illegally) with Brazil. This was the beginning of a relationship destined to grow. In the
19th century The 19th (nineteenth) century began on January 1, 1801 (MDCCCI), and ended on December 31, 1900 (MCM). The 19th century was the ninth century of the 2nd millennium. The 19th century saw much social change; slavery was abolished, and the First and ...
, the process of political emancipation in South America accentuated the contrasts between the countries of the region. During this period, important chapters in the history of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay occurred. It is enough to mention the
Cisplatine War The Cisplatine War (), also known as the Argentine-Brazilian War () or in the Argentine and Uruguayan historiography as the Brazil War, was an armed conflict over an area known as Banda Oriental or the "''Eastern Bank'' (roughly present-day U ...
, the independence of the Republic of Uruguay, the Uruguayan Great War, the
Ragamuffin War The Ragamuffin War (Portuguese: ''Guerra dos Farrapos'' or, more commonly ''Revolução Farroupilha'') was a Republican uprising that began in southern Brazil, in the province (currently state) of Rio Grande do Sul in 1835. The rebels, led by gen ...
, the dispute between unitaries and federalists in Argentina and the
Paraguayan War The Paraguayan War, also known as the War of the Triple Alliance was a South American war fought from 1864 to 1870, between Paraguay and the Triple Alliance of Argentina, the Empire of Brazil, and Uruguay. It was the deadliest and bloodiest inter ...
: alliances, interventions and conflicts that forged the historical context of formation of the La Plata nation-states. In 1941, in the middle of the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—forming two opposing milit ...
, Brazil and Argentina for the first time tried to create a
Customs Union A customs union is generally defined as a type of trade bloc which is composed of a free trade area with a common external tariff.GATTArticle 24 s. 8 (a) Customs unions are established through trade pacts where the participant countries set up co ...
between their economies. However, this did not happen due to the countries' diplomatic differences in relation to
Axis Axis may refer to: Politics *Axis of evil (first used in 2002), U.S. President George W. Bush's description of Iran, Iraq, and North Korea *Axis of Resistance (first used in 2002), the Shia alliance of Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah *Axis powers of W ...
policies, after the
attack on Pearl Harbor The Attack on Pearl HarborAlso known as the Battle of Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service upon the United States (a neutral country at the time) against the naval base at Pearl Harbor in Ho ...
. With the end of the war, the need for interaction between nations became imminent and, consequently, economic blocs formed. In Latin America, however, there was no union that obtained satisfactory results.


Foz do Iguaçu Declaration

In December 1985, Brazilian President
José Sarney José Sarney de Araújo Costa (; born José Ribamar Ferreira de Araújo Costa; 24 April 1930) is a Brazilian politician, lawyer, and writer who served as 31st President of Brazil from 21 April 1985 to 14 March 1990. At age , he is the oldest li ...
and Argentine President
Raúl Alfonsín Raúl Ricardo Alfonsín Foulkes (12 March 1927 – 31 March 2009) was an Argentine lawyer and statesman who served as President of Argentina from 10 December 1983 to 8 July 1989. He was the first democratically elected president after mo ...
signed the Iguaçu Declaration, the basis for economic integration of the so-called
Southern Cone The Southern Cone ( es, Cono Sur, pt, Cone Sul) is a geographic and cultural region composed of the southernmost areas of South America, mostly south of the Tropic of Capricorn. Traditionally, it covers Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, bounded on t ...
. Both countries had just come out of a dictatorial period and were facing the need to redirect their economies to the outside and globalized world. Both countries had contracted a large external debt during the period of the military governments and did not enjoy credit abroad. There was a great need for investment in the countries, but no money. This common situation made them both realize the mutual need. Shortly after the signing of the Iguaçu Declaration in February 1986, Argentina declared its intention of a "preferential association" with Brazil. In a private home in
Don Torcuato Don Torcuato is a town in the Tigre Partido of the urban agglomeration of Greater Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is named after Marcelo Torcuato de Alvear, ex-President of Argentina, as he had his ranch and residency there. Most of the streets are nam ...
, there was a meeting to discuss the matter. The discussion, lasting two days, took place in an atmosphere of exchanging ideas and stating positions regarding the status of the area's economy. After a few weeks, Brazil invited Argentina to a similar meeting, in Itaipava, also in a private residence. This signaled acceptance of the Argentine initiative and the formation of an agreement, with the objective of promoting the economic development of both countries and integrating them into the world. Out of this meeting came the ''Argentina-Brazil Integration and Economics Cooperation Program'' or PICE (Portuguese: Programa de Integração e Cooperação Econômica Argentina-Brasil, Spanish: Programa de Integración y Cooperación Económica Argentina-Brasil). Protocol Number 20 of the program proposed the
Gaucho A gaucho () or gaúcho () is a skilled horseman, reputed to be brave and unruly. The gaucho is a symbol in Argentina, Uruguay, Rio Grande do Sul state in southern Brazil, and the southern Chilean Patagonia. Gauchos became greatly admired and renow ...
as a currency for regional trade. For many, the idea of integration in South America seemed more like an abstraction, owing to various unsuccessful experiences in the past. However this was perceived as different.


The Buenos Aires Act

On 6 July 1990, the President of Brazil,
Fernando Collor Fernando Affonso Collor de Mello (; born 12 August 1949) is a Brazilian politician who served as the 32nd President of Brazil from 1990 to 1992, when he resigned in a failed attempt to stop his impeachment trial by the Brazilian Senate. Collor ...
, and the President of Argentina,
Carlos Menem Carlos Saúl Menem (2 July 1930 – 14 February 2021) was an Argentine lawyer and politician who served as the 44th president of Argentina from 1989 to 1999. He was also a Senator for La Rioja Province from 2005 until his death. Ideologically, h ...

Carlos Menem
, signed the Buenos Aires Act aimed at total customs integration between the two countries. It was decided that all measures for the construction of the customs union should be completed by 31 December 1994. To ensure compliance with the deadlines, the Binational Working Group was created, the body whose responsibility was to define methods for creating the common market between the two nations. In September, the governments of Paraguay and Uruguay showed a strong interest in the regional integration process, leading to the full perception by the signatories that a more comprehensive treaty was needed.


Founding

Mercosur was finally established in 1991 by the
Treaty of Asunción The Treaty of Asunción was a treaty between the countries of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay signed on March 26, 1991. The objective of the treaty, signed in Asunción, was to establish a common market among the participating countries, p ...
, based on the Buenos Aires Act, the Treaty of Asunción defined rules and conditions for the creation of a free trade zone among its four signatories. Likewise, it was decided that all measures for the construction of the common market should be completed by 31 December 1994 with the amendment of the Treaty of Ouro Preto. In 2001, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the bloc's creation, the Mercosur flag was hoisted for the first time at Mercosur's headquarters in Montevideo. The main implications of this free trade zone are: *The free movement of goods, services and productive factors between countries, through the elimination of customs duties and non-tariff restrictions on the movement of goods and any other measure to the same effect, with the establishment of a common external tariff and the adoption of a common commercial policy towards third countries or economic blocs; *Products originating in the territory of a signatory country will have, in another signatory country, the same treatment applied to products of national origin; *The coordination of foreign trade, agricultural, industrial, fiscal, monetary, foreign exchange and capital policies, of others that are agreed, in order to ensure adequate conditions of competition between members, with the commitment of these countries to harmonize their legislation, especially in areas of general importance, to strengthen the integration process; *In relations with non-signatory countries, members of the bloc will ensure equal conditions of trade. In this way, they will apply their national laws to inhibit imports whose prices are influenced by subsidies, dumping or any other unfair practice. At the same time, the bloc's countries will coordinate their respective national policies in order to develop common rules on trade competition. It was defined that during the transition period, the signatory countries would adopt a general regime of origin, a system for resolving disputes and safeguard clauses. To ensure order and compliance with deadlines, two institutional bodies were created: *Common Market Group: a body formed by four full members and four alternate members from each country, from the respective Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Economy and Central Bank. Until the creation of the Arbitral Tribunals, the Common Market Group was the main authority in resolving disputes; *Common Market Council: the institution with the highest authority in the treaty, created to manage political decisions and ensure compliance with established deadlines. The Treaty of Asunción also decided that the accession of a new member, in order to be effective, must be approved by legislative decree in all signatory countries. Otherwise, the membership process will be invalid. The founding of the Mercosur Parliament was agreed upon at the December 2004 presidential summit. Up to 2010 it was planned to have 18 representatives from each country, regardless of population.


Venezuela adhesion and suspension of Paraguay

Venezuela's history in Mercosur began on 16 December 2003, during a Mercosur summit held in Montevideo, when the ''Mercosur Economic Complementation Agreement'' with Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela was signed. This agreement established a timetable for the creation of a free trade zone among the signatory states and the full members of Mercosur, with a gradual reduction in tariffs. In this way, these countries were successful in negotiations for the formation of a
free trade zone A free-trade zone (FTZ) is a class of special economic zone. It is a geographic area where goods may be imported, stored, handled, manufactured, or reconfigured and re-exported under specific customs regulation and generally not subject to custo ...
with Mercosur, since an economic complementation agreement, with full compliance with its schedule, is the item required for the rise of a new associate. However, on 8 July 2004, Venezuela was elevated to associate member status, without even completing the schedule agreed with the Common Market Council. The following year, the bloc recognized it as an associated nation in the process of accession, which in practice meant that the state had a voice, but not a vote. The Caribbean country's Accession Protocol was signed in 2006 by all presidents of countries in the bloc. Subsequently, the Uruguayan and Argentine congresses approved the entry of the new member. The Brazilian congress did so only in December 2009. However, the Paraguayan congress did not approve it and, therefore, made it impossible for the Caribbean nation to fully join. Subsequently, on 29 June 2012, in response to Fernando Lugo's summary dismissal of the presidency, the Mercosur presidents decreed the Paraguayan suspension until the next presidential election, in April 2013. A month later, the bloc presidents acknowledged their adhesion of Venezuela and several trade agreements have been signed. It was suggested that the decision could be reversed with the Paraguayan return by exercising its veto power, which was not the case. The decision was the subject of controversy. For some economists, Venezuela's acceptance as a full member of Mercosur expands the bloc's economic importance and opens up new business and investment opportunities. However, for others, the decision was seen as hasty, imposed by the governments of Brazil and Argentina and motivated purely by political interests.


Bolivian membership status

On 7 December 2012, Bolivian President Evo Morales signed a protocol aimed at accession to full membership in the bloc. Such a proposal requires review and possible legislative approval. On 7 July 2015, the heads of Mercosur having decided to accept Bolivia's request to become a full member country, Bolivian president Evo Morales signed the Brasilia protocol. This allowed Bolivia full membership in Mercosur. The country is currently being transitioned into full membership.


Suspension of Venezuela

In August 2016, the presidents of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, while present in Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Summer Olympics, Olympic Games, met to discuss suspending Venezuela from Mercosur. The three countries were in doubt about whether Venezuela was complying with the union's requirements for full membership, citing human rights violations among other issues. In fact, Venezuela was rejected from assuming the presidency of Mercosur by those three countries, prompting a dispute that continued to the end of the year. On 21 November 2016, Paraguayan Foreign Minister Eladio Loizaga announced that Venezuela would be suspended in December 2016 after the nation was given a three-month period to reform its laws to abide to Mercosur requirements, with Mercosur noting that "rules governing trade, politics, democracy and human rights" needed to be overhauled in Venezuela. On 1 December 2016, Venezuela was suspended from Mercosur. On 5 August 2017, the foreign ministers of Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil affirmed that Venezuela's membership in Mercosur is suspended indefinitely in response to the "rupture of the democratic order" in that country following the 2017 Venezuelan Constituent Assembly election, 30 July 2017 Constituent Assembly elections. The bloc by-laws have no provision for expulsion. However, trade and migration policies stay without changes in order to avoid aggravating the Crisis in Venezuela, social crisis. Brazilian Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes said that Venezuela will remain suspended until the country "re-establishes democracy." In January 2019, the opposition-majority National Assembly (Venezuela), National Assembly declared incumbent Nicolás Maduro's 2018 Venezuelan presidential election, 2018 reelection invalid, entering a Venezuelan presidential crisis, presidential crisis. During a July 2019 summit in Santa Fe, Argentina, the bloc called for "free, fair and transparent presidential elections, as soon as possible" in Venezuela. The presidents of the four member countries signed a statement expressing concern "for the grave crisis that Venezuela is going through, which is seriously affecting the humanitarian situation and human rights."


Geography

The territory of Mercosur consists of the combined territories of six of the 12 countries of South America and their population. Including the overseas territories of member states, Mercosur experiences most Köppen climate classification, types of climate from Polar climate, Antarctic to tropical climate, tropical, rendering meteorological averages for Mercosur as a whole meaningless. The majority of the population lives in areas with a subtropical climate (Uruguay, Southern Paraguay, Northeastern Argentina and Southern and Southeastern Brazil), or a tropical climate (Venezuela and Northeastern Brazil). The Mercosur member states are home to the List of waterfalls by height, world's highest uninterrupted waterfall, Angel Falls in Venezuela; the largest river by volume, the Amazon River in Brazil; the longest mountain range, the Andes (whose highest mountain is Aconcagua at in Argentina); the largest rainforest, the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil; and much more if we take the associated members into account, such as the highest capital city, La Paz, Bolivia; the highest commercially navigable lake in the world, Lake Titicaca in Peru; the driest non-polar place on earth, the Atacama Desert; and, excluding research stations in Antarctica, the world's southernmost permanently inhabited community, Puerto Toro, Chile. File:Monte Aconcagua.jpg, Mount Aconcagua in Argentina. File:Amazonie.jpg, The Amazon rainforest in Brazil. File:Lago Iporá vista.jpg, Lake Iporá in Uruguay. File:ParaguayChacoBorealdryseason.JPG, Gran Chaco in Paraguay. File:SaltoAngel6.jpg, The Salto Ángel falls in Venezuela. One Mercosur full member, Argentina, has a claim to Antarctica called Argentine Antarctica, part of the province of Tierra del Fuego Province, Argentina, Tierra del Fuego, which overlap partially the claim of a Mercosur associated state which is Chile and its Chilean Antarctica. Brazil does not claim any part of Antarctican territory but it does has a zone of interest called Brazilian Antarctica which overlap Argentina's claim.


Member states

Mercosur is composed of 5 sovereign state, sovereign member states: Argentina; Brazil; Paraguay; Uruguay and Venezuela (suspended since December 2016); and 7 associated states: Suriname, Guyana, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Bolivia, this latter in process of incorporation (since 17 July 2015); Plus two observer states: Mexico and New Zealand. Following the Impeachment of Fernando Lugo, impeachment of President Fernando Lugo by the Paraguayan Senate, this country was suspended from Mercosur, and the admittance of Venezuela as a full member became effective on 31 July 2012. Venezuela had four years to fully adapt to the trade bloc regulations and failed to do so, with the nation being suspended from Mercosur on 1 December 2016. Directly subordinated to the Common Market Group, the Work Subgroups draw up the minutes of the decisions to submit for the consideration of the Council, and study specific Mercosur concerns. The work subgroups are: * Commercial matters * Customs matters * Technical standards * Tax and monetary policies relating to trade * Land transport * Sea transport * Industrial and technology policies * Agricultural policy * Energy policy * Coordination of macroeconomic policies * Labor, employment and social security matters Work subgroups are held quarterly, alternating in every member state, in alphabetical order, or at the Common Market Group Administrative Office. Activities are carried out by the Work Subgroups in two stages: preparatory and conclusive. In the preparatory stage, members of the Work Subgroups may request the participation of representatives from the private sector of each member state. The decision-making stage is reserved exclusively for official representatives of the member states. The delegations of representatives from the private sector in the preparatory stage of the Work Subgroup activities will have a maximum of three representatives for each member state directly involved in any of the stages of the production, distribution or consumption process for the products that fall within the scope of the subgroup's activities.,


Demographics


Population

Mercosur has a population varying between 284 million (full member states only) to 553 million people (counting associated and observer members). The region has several areas of sparse demographics such as tropical forests and deserts, but it is also highly urbanized with the presence of two global city, alpha cities – São Paulo and
Buenos Aires Buenos Aires ( or ; ), officially Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, is the capital and largest city of Argentina. The city is located on the western shore of the Río de la Plata, on South America's southeastern coast. "Buenos Aires" can be trans ...

Buenos Aires
– and several beta cities such as Montevideo, Rio de Janeiro, Caracas, etc. The population is formed by descendants of Europeans (mainly Spaniards, Portugal, Portuguese and Italians), Africans and indigenous peoples. There is a high percentage of mestizos that vary greatly in composition by place. There is also a minor population of Asians, especially in Brazil. The white population is the majority in Argentina and Uruguay and represents around half the population in Brazil. Mestizos form the majority population in Paraguay. Almost all Mercosur nations have significant Native American populations, especially in Paraguay (Guaraní is a national language in the country along with Spanish, and almost all Paraguayans have Guaraní genetic ancestry), Argentina (especially in the Northwest and Southwest of The country), Brazil (in the Northern and Northwest Amazonian states of the nation, where Native American tribes have vast reservation lands).


Urbanization


Languages

Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance language *** Portuguese dialects, variants of the Portuguese language ** Portug ...
,
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...
and Guarani are the three official languages of the Mercosur, as they are the official languages of the five full members – Portuguese is the official language of Brazil, Spanish is the official language of all other full member countries, while Paraguay also have Guarani as a co-official language. Along with Paraguay (where it is one of two official languages), sectors of Argentina (Corrientes) speak Guaraní. However, the Mercosur does not provide all, or even most, services in Guaraní. The official website and almost all official summits are only held in Spanish and Portuguese. Important documents, such as legislation, are translated into Portuguese and Spanish. Other languages spoken in the bloc are English language, English and Dutch language, Dutch, by some associated and observer members; German language, German and Italian language, Italian are also spoken by locals especially in the
Southern Cone The Southern Cone ( es, Cono Sur, pt, Cone Sul) is a geographic and cultural region composed of the southernmost areas of South America, mostly south of the Tropic of Capricorn. Traditionally, it covers Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, bounded on t ...
region. Currently, among the full members, Portuguese is the most spoken language, with over 210 million native speakers as of 2019, while Spanish accounts for 83 million speakers approximately. Even though language policy is the responsibility of member states, Mercosur institutions promote multilingualism among its citizens, and while Brazil has enforced Spanish as a foreign language to be taught at school, Argentina and Venezuela have done so with Portuguese. Although Portuguese is the most spoken language by the bloc's population, Spanish is the more utilized language on internal affairs, as it is an official language to most members.


Merchandise trade

Intra-Mercosur merchandise trade (excluding Venezuela) grew from US$10 billion at the inception of the trade bloc in 1991, to US$88 billion in 2010; Brazil and Argentina each accounted for 43% of this total. The trade balance within the bloc has historically been tilted toward Brazil, which recorded an intra-Mercosur balance of over US$5 billion in 2010. Trade within Mercosur amounted to only 16% of the four countries' total merchandise trade in 2010, however; trade with the European Union (20%), China (14%), and the United States (11%) was of comparable importance. Exports from the bloc are highly diversified, and include a variety of agricultural, industrial, and energy goods. Merchandise trade with the rest of the world in 2010 resulted in a surplus for Mercosur of nearly US$7 billion; trade in services, however, was in deficit by over US$28 billion. The EU and China maintained a nearly balanced merchandise trade with Mercosur in 2010, while the United States reaped a surplus of over US$14 billion; Mercosur, in turn, earned significant surpluses (over US$4 billion each in 2010) in its trade with Chile and Venezuela. The latter became a full member in 2012.


Structure

The Treaty of Asunción, Asunción Treaty and Protocol of Ouro Preto, Ouro Preto Protocol established the basis for the institutional Mercosur structure, creating the Common Market Council and the Common Market Group, both of which function at the outset of the transition phase. As provided for in this Treaty, before establishing the common market the member nations must call a special meeting to determine the definitive institutional structure for the public agencies managing Mercosur, as well as define the specific functions of each agency and the decision making process.


Common Market Council

The Council is the highest-level agency of Mercosur with the authority to conduct its policy, and responsibility for compliance with the objects and time frames set forth in the Asuncion Treaty. The Council is composed of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministers of Foreign Affairs and the Economy (or the equivalent) of all five countries. Member states preside over the Council in rotating alphabetical order, for six-month periods. Meetings: Council members shall meet whenever necessary, but at least once a year. The presidents of the member nations shall partake of the annual Common Market Council meeting whenever possible. Decision Making: Council decisions shall be made by consensus, with representation of all member states.


Common Market Group

The Group is the executive body of Mercosur, and is coordinated by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the member states. Its basic duties are to cause compliance with the Asuncion Treaty and to take resolutions required for implementation of the decisions made by the Council. Furthermore, it can initiate practical measures for trade opening, coordination of macroeconomic policies, and negotiation of agreements with nonmember states and international agencies, participating when need be in resolution of controversies under Mercosur. It has the authority to organize, coordinate and supervise Work Subgroups and to call special meetings to deal with issues of interest. Composition: The Common Market Group shall be made up of four permanent members and four alternates from each member state, representing the following public Government agency, agencies: (i) the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; (ii) the Finance minister, Ministry of Economy, or the equivalent (from industry, foreign affairs and/or economic coordination); and (iii) the Central Bank. The members of the Common Market Group appointed by a given member state will constitute the National Section of the Common Market Group for that particular nation. Meetings: The Common Market Group will meet ordinarily at least once every quarter in the member states, in rotating alphabetical order. Special meetings may be freely called at any time, at any previously scheduled place. The meetings will be coordinated by the Head of the Delegation of the host member state. Decision Making: Common Market Group decisions shall be made by consensus, with the representation of all member states. The official Mercosur languages will be Portuguese and Spanish, and the official version of all work papers will be prepared in the language of the country hosting the meeting.


Administrative and socioeconomic

The Administrative Office will keep documents and issue the Mercosur official bulletin in both Portuguese and Spanish, and will also be charged with communicating the activities of the Common Market Group so as to allow for the maximum disclosure of decisions and the relevant documentation. The Socioeconomic Advisory Forum is consultative by nature, and represents the various socioeconomic sectors of the member nations.


Work subgroups

Directly subordinated to the Common Market Group, the Work Subgroups draw up the minutes of the decisions to submit for the consideration of the Council, and conduct studies on specific Mercosur concerns. The work subgroups are the following: commercial matters; customs matters; technical standards; tax and monetary policies relating to trade; land transport; sea transport; industrial and technology policies; agricultural policy; energy policy; coordination of macroeconomic policies; and labor, employment and social security matters. meetings. The meetings of the Work subgroups will be held quarterly, alternating in every member state, in alphabetical order, or at the Common Market Group Administrative Office. Activities will be carried out by the Work Subgroups in two stages: preparatory and conclusive. In the preparatory stage, the members of the Work Subgroups may request the participation of representatives from the private sector of each member state. The decision-making stage is reserved exclusively for official representatives of the member states. The delegations of representatives from the private sector in the preparatory stage of the Work Subgroup activities will have a maximum of three representatives for each member state directly involved in any of the stages of the production, distribution or consumption process for the products that fall within the scope of the subgroup's activities.


Joint Parliamentary Committee

The Committee will have both an advisory and decision-making nature; with powers to submit proposals as well. It will be competent, inter alia, to: follow up on the Regional integration, integration process and keep the respective Congresses informed; Take the necessary steps for the future instatement of a Mercosur Parliament; Organize subcommittees to examine matters relating to the integration process; Submit its recommendations to the Common Market Council and Group as to how the integration process should be conducted and Southern Common Market formed; Make the adjustments necessary to harmonize the laws of the different member states and submit them to the respective Congresses; Establish relationships with private entities in each of the member states, as well as international agencies and bureaus so as to obtain information and specialized assistance with matters of interest: Establish relationships targeting cooperation with Congresses of the nonmember nations and entities involved in regional integration schemes; Subscribe to cooperation and technical assistance accords with public and/or private entities whether domestic, supranational union, supranational or international. The Committee will be composed of a maximum of 64 acting parliamentary members, 16 per member state, and an equal number of alternates, appointed by the Congress to which they pertain, and with a term of office of at least two years. The meetings shall be conducted by a directors' board consisting of four presidents (one for each member state). The Committee will ordinarily meet twice a year, and extraordinarily whenever summoned by any of its five presidents. Meetings are held in the territory of each member state on a successive and alternating basis. Decision Making: Meetings of the Joint Parliamentary Committee will only be valid when attended by parliamentary delegations from all member states. Decisions by the Joint Parliamentary Committee will be made by consensus vote of the majority of the members accredited by the respective Congresses of each member state. Portuguese and Spanish are the official languages of the Joint Parliamentary Committee.


Trade Commission

The Trade Commission will assist the Mercosur executive body, always striving to apply the instruments of common trade policy agreed to by the member states for operation of the customs unification. The commission should also follow up on the development of issues and matters related to common trade policies, the intra-Mercosur trade and trade with other countries. The Commission will have five actual members and four alternates, with each member nation's indicating a member. The Trade Commission shall exert every effort to apply common trade policy instruments such as: trade agreements with other countries or international entities; administrative/commercial product lists; final adaptation system for Mercosur customs unification; origin system; free-trade zone system, special customs areas and export processing zones; system to discourage unfair trade practices; elimination and harmonization of tariff restrictions; nonmember country safeguard systems; customs coordination and harmonization; consumer protection systems; and export incentive harmonization. Furthermore, the trade commission should speak out regarding the issues raised by the member states regarding application and compliance with common offshore tariffs and other common trade policy instruments. The commission shall meet at least once a month, as well as whenever asked to by the Mercosur executive agency or by a member state. The commission can take decisions entailing administration and application of trade policies adopted under Southern Common Market, and whenever necessary submit proposals to the executive body regarding regulation of the areas under its authority; additionally, it can propose new guidelines or modify those in existence in Mercosur trade and customs matters. In this respect, the trade commission can propose a change in the import duty on specific items under common external tariffs, including cases referring to development of new Mercosur production activities. To better achieve its objectives, the trade commission can create technical committees targeting direction and supervision of the work it engages in. It can also adopt internal operating regulations. Proposals and decisions of the trade commission will be taken by a consensus of the representatives indicated by each member nation. Any disputes ensuing from the application, interpretation or compliance with the acts issued by the trade commission are referred to the Mercosur executive body, and should be resolved using the directives set forth in the Dispute Resolution System adopted under Southern Common Market.


International jurisdiction over contractual matters

The rules on litigation jurisdiction over contractual matters will apply to disputes arising from civil law (common law), civil or commercial international contracts between private-law legal entities or individuals provided that: They are domiciled or headquartered in different member states: At least one of the parties to the contract is domiciled or headquartered in any member state and, additionally, has made a choice of jurisdiction in favor of a court in one of the member states. In this case, there must be a reasonable connection between the jurisdiction chosen and the controversy. The scope of the application of the international jurisdiction guidelines over contractual matters excludes the following: legal relationships between bankrupt entities/individuals and their creditors and any other analogous proceedings (especially concordatas composition with creditors); matters under agreements involving family and succession law; social security contracts; administrative contracts; employment contracts; consumer sales contracts; transport contracts; insurance policies; and rights in rem.


Choice of jurisdiction

Courts in member nations to whose jurisdiction the contracted parties have agreed to submit the matter in writing will have jurisdiction to settle controversies stemming from civil or commercial international contracts.


Agreement of choice

The jurisdiction can be agreed on at the time the contract is signed, during the life of the contract, or even when the dispute actually arises. The validity and effects of the choice of venue will be governed by the law of the member nations that normally have jurisdiction to hear the case, always resorting to the law most favorable to the validity of the contract. Whether or not jurisdiction is chosen, such jurisdiction will be prorogated in favor of the courts of the member state where the proceedings are in fact filed, provided the respondent voluntarily allows this in an affirmative and unfeigned way.


Subsidiary jurisdiction

Should the contracted parties not agree on courts competent to settle disputes, the member state chosen by the plaintiff of the case has jurisdiction—the court of the place where the contract is to be performed, the court of the domicile of the respondent, or the court of the domicile (law), domicile, or headquarters of the claimant when the latter can show that it has done its part. For purposes of item (i) above the place of performance of the contract is the member state where the obligations on which the claim is based have been or should be performed, taking into consideration the following: For contracts involving certain specific items, the place where they existed at the time of contract signing; For contracts involving specific items according to their type, the place of domicile of the debtor at the time of contract signing; For contracts involving fungible items, the place of domicile of the debtor at the time of conclusion of the contract; and For service rendering contracts: * If in regard to items, this the place where they were at the time of contract signing. * If effectiveness is related to any special place, this is the place where they were to produce effects. * In all other cases, this is the place of domicile of the debtor at the time of contract signing. For purposes of application of second item above for determination of the domicile of the respondent in a contractual dispute involving individuals, the following will be taken into consideration: The habitual residence: On a subsidiary basis, the central place of business; and In the absence of any such considerations, the place where found, meaning the actual residence. When dealing with a legal entity, the determination of the domicile will be based on where the administrative headquarters have been set up. The claim plaintiff can, as an alternative, file in any of the places where the legal entity has branches, establishments, agencies or any other type of representation. Legal entities headquartered in any member state that have concluded contracts with any other member state can be sued in the courts of this latter state should there be any dispute as to the construction and implementation of the obligations regulated by contract. In the event there is a codefendant, a suit on contractual matters can be adjudicated with the courts of jurisdiction in the territory of the domicile of any of the parties to the litigation. Additionally, any claims entailing personal collateral contract, collateral rights or intervention of nonmember states in contractual obligations can be filed with the court hearing the main proceeding.


Counterclaims

In the event of there being a counterclaim based on any act or fact that served as the basis for the main proceeding, the courts hearing the main proceeding will be competent to hear any counterclaims that may arise.


Educational integration

Based on the premise that education is a fundamental factor in the regional Regional integration, integration process, educational courses at the primary or junior high level, provided that they do not entail technical studies, will be recognized by member states as being on the same level for all member nations. Likewise, to facilitate continuing education, course certificates issued by an institution accredited in one of the member states is valid in all other member states. Nontechnical primary and junior high level studies that have not been completed are accredited by any member state, thereby allowing course conclusion in another member nation. Studies are completed using an equivalency table to determine the level achieved.


Regional technical commission

A regional technical commission harmonizes mechanisms for accreditation across member nations, and resolves any situation not be covered by the equivalency table. This commission includes delegations from the ministries of education of each member nation, and meets whenever at least two member states think it necessary. Meeting sites are established on a rotating basis. Any disputes among member states as a result of application, construction, or noncompliance regarding provisions related to education are initially resolved by direct diplomatic negotiations. Should the countries not reach an accord or only partially resolve the dispute, they resort to procedures set out in the dispute resolution system. Should the member nations enter into a bilateral convention or accord with provisions more favorable to their students, the member states in question can apply whichever provisions they consider most advantageous.


Free trade zones

The member nations can have commercial free-trade zones, industrial free-trade zones, export processing zones, and special customs areas, all of which target providing merchandise marketed or produced in these areas with treatment different from that afforded in their respective customs territories. Uruguay's Vice-President Danilo Astori said the issue of a free trade agreement with the United States must be dealt and that "opportunities must be built". He also said that "each Mercosur country should have a multiplicity of memberships. Mercosur must have joint international policies, an agreement on moderate protection from third parties and above all must have agreements with other trade blocks".


Tariffs

The member states can assess merchandise from these areas with the common external tariff used for Mercosur merchandise, or, in the case of certain special products, the domestic tariff prevailing in each individual state. In this way, the products from the free-trade zones can have the more favorable tax treatment established under Southern Common Market, given to the merchandise produced in the normal customs zones of each member state or, in the case of certain special products, can have the normal customs treatment prevailing in each nation. Products coming from outside of Mercosur are highly taxed so that local companies do not feel the need to compete with large international companies.


Safeguards

Products produced or marketed in the free-trade zones of each member nation will be eligible for the safeguard system whenever this entails an increase not provided for in imports, but capable of causing damages or threatened damages to the importer country.


Incentives

In the event of the producing nation's granting special incentives for production from the free-trade zones that are not compatible with the corresponding guidelines established under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the member nation can make any adjustments needed to return the situation to equilibrium.


Creation

The member nations agreed that any free-trade zones that in August 1994 were already in operation could operate normally under Mercosur, along with any that are set up in light of legal guidelines prevailing or in course in congress during this same time period. This means that a member nation can no longer create new free-trade zones that are more privileged. Mercosur is an effective agreement for its members.


Manaus and Tierra del Fuego FTZs

The actual implementation of Mercosur will not affect the special Manaus, Brazil, and Tierra del Fuego Province, Argentina, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, free-trade zones organized in light of their special geographic situations. These two free-trade zones may continue normal operations until 2013.


Reciprocal promotion and protection

The nations subscribing to the Treaty of Asunción, Asunción Treaty consider that the creation and maintenance of conditions favorable to individual or corporate investment for the jurisdiction of one of the member states in the territory of another state is essential to intensify the economic cooperation targeted so as to accelerate the integration process among all four member states. In this context, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil signed on 1 January 1994 in the city of Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay, the Colonia Protocol for the Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Mercosur Investments (Colonia Protocol). It was established in this protocol that investments under Mercosur by investors resident or domiciled in the territory of any member state will be entitled to treatment no less favorable than that accorded by the other member state to national investors or nonmember states.


Investors

For the purposes of constructing the Colonia (United States), Colonia Protocol, investors are considered to be: Individuals who are citizens of any of the member nations or that reside there on a permanent basis or are domiciled there, with due regard for legislation prevailing in such territory; Legal entities organized pursuant to the legislation of one of the member nations that are headquartered there; and Legal entities organized in the territory where the investment is made, actually and directly or indirectly controlled by the legal entities or individuals mentioned above.


Investment

The term investment includes all types of assets such as: movable or immovable property, such as rights in rem and guarantee in rem rights; shares, corporate holdings and any other type of corporate participation; credit instruments and rights that may have an economic value; intellectual property rights or materials, Including copyrights and industrial property rights such as patents, industrial drawings, trademarks, commercial names, technical procedures, know-how and goodwill; Economic concessions involving public law, such as research, cultivation, extraction or natural resource exploration concessions.


Freedom to invest

The nation receiving the investment cannot avail itself of unjustified or discriminatory means capable of restricting the investor's freedom to manage, maintain, use, enjoy and dispose of its investments.


Tax

The member states are not however obligated to extend to investors in the other nations signatory to the Colonia Protocol the Cost–benefit analysis, benefits of any treatment, preference or Privilege (legal ethics), privilege resulting from international accords relating fully or partially to tax matters.


Exceptions

In addition, the member nations can temporarily establish a list of exceptions where the new treatment will not yet prevail. In this way, the various member nations decided to except the following economic sectors: *Argentina: ownership of real estate on the frontier strip, air transportation, naval industry, nuclear power plants, uranium mining, insurance and fishery; *Brazil: mineral prospecting and mining; use of hydraulic energy; health care; television and radio broadcasting and telecommunications in general, acquisition or leasing of rural properties; participation in the financial intermediation, insurance, social security and capitalization systems; chartering and cabotage as well as inland navigation; *Paraguay: ownership of real property on the frontier strip; communications, including radio and television broadcasting; air, sea and land transportation; electricity, water and telephone services; prospecting for hydrocarbons and strategic minerals; import and refining of petroleum derivatives and postal services; *Uruguay: electricity; hydrocarbons; basic petrochemicals, atomic energy; prospecting for strategic minerals; financial intermediation; railways, telecommunications; radio broadcasting; press and audiovisual means.


Expropriation and compensation

The member nations undertook to do nothing to nationalize or expropriate investments in their territories that pertain to investors from the signatory countries, unless such measures are taken based on public need. In such case, nothing discriminatory can be done, but everything must be implemented by due legal process. Compensation for the investment holder that is expropriated or nationalized should be both adequate and effective, and made in advance, based on the real investment value determined at the time the decision is publicly announced by the proper authorities. This payment will be updated until actual payment, and the affected investor will receive interest.


Transfers

The original member state investors will be ensured free transfer of their investments and any earnings thereon. These transfers can be made in freely convertible currency, using the exchange rate prevailing on the market pursuant to the procedures established by the member state receiving the investment. Member nations cannot adopt any exchange measures restricting free transfer of the funds invested or from activities exercised in their respective territories.


Role and potential

Some South Americans see Mercosur as giving the capability to combine resources to balance the activities of other global economic powers, especially the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe. Its members have a combined area of and an estimated total population of about 447million. The EU has developed an internal s ...
. The organization could also potentially pre-empt the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA); however, over half of the current Mercosur member countries rejected the FTAA proposal at the IV Cumbre de las Américas (4th Summit of the Americas, IV Summit of the Americas) in Argentina in 2005. The development of Mercosur was arguably weakened by 1998–2002 Argentine great depression, the collapse of the Argentine economy in 2001 and it has still seen internal conflicts over trade policy, between Brazil and Argentina, Argentina and Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil, etc. In addition, many obstacles must be addressed before the development of a common currency in Mercosur. In 2004, Mercosur signed a cooperation agreement with the Andean Community of Nations trade bloc (CAN) and they published a joint letter of intent for future negotiations towards integrating all of South America. The prospect of increased political integration within the organization, as per the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe. Its members have a combined area of and an estimated total population of about 447million. The EU has developed an internal s ...
and advocated by some, is still uncertain. Bolivia, also a member of CAN and an associate member of Mercosur before the UNASUR process started, plays a crucial part in relations, says Marion Hörmann, since Bolivia is traditionally seen as a mediator between the Andean countries and the rest of South America
Regional Integration: Key Role for Bolivia
The bloc comprises a population of more than List of countries by population, 270 million people, and the combined Gross Domestic Product of the full-member nations is in excess of US$3.0 trillion a year (Purchasing power parity, PPP) according to International Monetary Fund (IMF) numbers, making Mercosur the List of countries by GDP (PPP), fifth-largest economy in the World. It is the fourth-largest trading bloc after the European Union. The working of Mercosur has not met with universal approval within interested countries. Chile has to a certain extent preferred to pursue bilateral agreements with trading partners, and there have been calls from Uruguayan politicians to follow this example.


FTA with third parties

With the 2005 cooperation agreement with Mercosur, the Andean Community gained four new associate members: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. These four Mercosur members were granted associate membership by the Andean Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in an enlarged session with the Commission (of the Andean Community) on 7 July 2005. This move reciprocates the actions of Mercosur, which granted associate membership to all the Andean Community nations by virtue of the Economic Complementarity Agreements (Free Trade Agreements) signed between the CAN and individual Mercosur members. Mercosur signed free trade agreements with Israel in December 2007, with Egypt in August 2010, the State of Palestine in December 2011 and Lebanon on 18 December 2014. In 2016, Brazilian presidents, Dilma Rousseff and later Michel Temer, along with Argentine President Mauricio Macri, Macri began to place pressure to negotiate a Free-trade area, free trade agreement between Mercosur and the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe. Its members have a combined area of and an estimated total population of about 447million. The EU has developed an internal s ...
and other Latin American nations. In June 2019, the European Union–Mercosur Free Trade Agreement was confirmed. The bilateral trade deal opens 100 percent of EU trade and 90 percent of Mercosur trade. The deal still needs to be ratified, however.


See also

* Citizenship of the Mercosur * Andean Community * Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas * Central American Common Market * Free Trade Area of the Americas * Gaucho (currency) * Pacific Alliance * Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) * Road Network of the MERCOSUR * List of country groupings * List of multilateral free-trade agreements * Rules of Origin * Free-trade area * Market access


Notes


References


Further reading

* Arieti, Samuel A. ''The Role of MERCOSUR as a Vehicle for Latin American Integration,'' Chicago Journal of International Law, vol. 6 (2005/2006), pp. 761–773. * Gómez-Mera, Laura. "Lessons from Latin America: MERCOSUR." in ''Region-Building in Africa'' (Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2016). 297–312. * Luca Gardini, Gian. "Who Invented Mercosur?." ''Diplomacy and Statecraft'' 18.4 (2007): 805–830. * Malamud, Andrés. "Presidentialism and Mercosur: a hidden cause for a successful experience." in ''Comparative Regional Integration'' (Routledge, 2018). 73–94
online
* Rivera, Salvador. ''Latin American Unification: A History of Political and Economic Integration Efforts''. (McFarland Press, 2014). * Rivera, Salvador. "Jacob K. Javits and Latin American Economic Integration." ''Cuaderno de Negocios Internacionales e Integración.'' 13 no. 64/65 July–December 2007.


External links

*
Radio Mercosur – website and radio online
{{Authority control Mercosur, Customs unions Free trade agreements Trade blocs Development in South America South American integration International organizations based in the Americas Intergovernmental organizations established by treaty Administrative territorial entities in South America Economic policy in South America Economy of South America Economy of Argentina Economy of Brazil Economy of Paraguay Economy of Uruguay Foreign trade of Argentina Foreign trade of Brazil Foreign relations of Paraguay Foreign relations of Uruguay Argentina–Brazil relations