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Mercosur

Mercosur, or the Southern Common Market, is a customs union between Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. It was originally set up in 1991. Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru have associate member status. Bolivia may be incorporated as a full member soon. In June 2006, Venezuela signed on as a full Mercosur member, although its membership still has to be ratified by the parliament of Paraguay.

As an instrument of subregional integration, Mercosur has been used to carry out important harmonization processes between the member states in areas such as intellectual property, agricultural policy and labour law. But the group is also plagued by internal conflicts.

Mercosur as a bloc is currently negotiating bilateral free trade agreements with other blocs such as CARICOM, the Andean Community, European Union, and the Gulf Cooperation Council. It is also seeking one with the Dominican Republic.

Mercosur signed an FTA with Israel in December 2007 (which entered into force in September 2011) and another with Palestine in December 2011 after the four members recognised its statehood.

The possibility of Uruguay’s “breaking away” from Mercosur to sign its own FTA with the United States has created enormous tension within the group (not to mention within Uruguay). A similar situation exists with Paraguay.

last update: May 2012


Brazil readies free trade agreement with Palestine
Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and his Development, Industry and Foreign Trade minister Miguel Jorge announced in the Middle East that Brazil and Argentina have already agreed to negotiate a free trade agreement between the Mercosur and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).
Mercosur eludes Chavez as Paraguay demurs
Venezuela’s hopes of an early inclusion into the Mercosur trading bloc suffered a new blow as Paraguayan Vice President Federico Franco ruled out ratification of the pact while Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez harbored designs on the landlocked state
Israeli Prez Peres Must Carry Palestinian Answers to Brazil
Israeli President Shimon Peres should have answers to the Palestinian issues during his Latin American sojourn if he aspires to strengthen ties with them, particularly, in light of growing opposition in Brazil over the ratification of Mercosur-Israel FTA. A Parliamentary Commission on Foreign Relations and National Defence has recommended to the Brazilian parliament in September not to ratify Mercosur-Israel FTA until “Israel accepted the creation of the Palestinian state on the 1967 borders”.
Argentina-Brazil trade tensions rise
Brazil’s ambassador to Buenos Aires was summoned to Argentina’s foreign ministry Tuesday amid rising trade tensions between the two South American economic powers.
Brazilian Parliament recommends freezing out Israelis from third largest export market
“This decision is an enormous blow for Israel’s economy and foreign relations”, says Jamal Juma’ of the Stop the Wall Campaign. The Brazilian Parliamentary Commission on Foreign Relations and National Defense has recommended that the parliament should not ratify the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Mercosur and the State of Israel until “Israel accepts the creation of the Palestinian state on the 1967 borders”.
Sustaining global solidarity after Gaza
In South America, serious pressure is building against the Israel-Mercosur Free Trade Agreement (FTA), threatening to derail it entirely. South American social movements, who have years of experience fighting against free trade, have integrated Palestine solidarity into their general work.
Mercosur “is virtually fractured” Uruguay admits openly
Mercosur presidential summit next week in Brazil has on the table an agenda of several highly sensitive issues that could deepen the rift between senior members Argentina and Brazil and junior members Paraguay and Uruguay, according to Uruguayan parliamentary sources.
Argentina’s protectionist policies alienate Mercosur partners
As was anticipated Mercosur senior members Argentina and Brazil proposed Friday an increase of the common external tariff, (AEC) for certain products, and as was expected junior members Uruguay and Paraguay rejected the idea.
MERCOSUR Far from Expectations, Uruguay FM
MERCOSUR "is barely surviving or far from the expectations for which it was created," said Uruguayan Foreign Minister, Gonzalo Fernandez, in declarations today to the weekly magazine Busqueda.
Saved by Diversification
South America’s tendency towards trade diversification over the past few years may spare the region the worst repercussions from the U.S. financial crisis, unlike Mexico, which will definitely feel the effects, as its northern neighbour absorbs a majority of its exports, say experts.

    Links


  • MERCOSUR
    Mercado Común del Sur (MERCOSUR) is a common market between Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela.
  • MERCOSUR website
    Official website of MERCOSUR, a common market between Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay (in Portuguese and Spanish)