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
EU-secretdeals.info - new website reveals texts from Europe’s US and Canadian trade negotiations (TTIP, CETA) | 7-Mar-2014
Sign the petition to candidates running in the 2014 European elections: Stop the TTIP and CETA! | 6-Mar-2014
New report: No fracking way How the EU-US trade deal risks expanding fracking in Europe and the US | 6-Mar-2014
AFL-CIO, more than 40 other organizations call for public consultations on investor rights in trade deals | 3-Mar-2014
Rough trade: the new corporate power grab | 1-Mar-2014
Trade chief misleads on GM foods | 18-Feb-2014
Night anti-TPPA protest for M’sians in the dark | 14-Feb-2014
Carta Abierta a Cumbre del Mercosur | 13-Feb-2014
What is TTIP? | 13-Feb-2014
Public forum on anti-people “trade” deal | 13-Feb-2014
Déclaration de la Plateforme des organisations de la société civile de l’Afrique de l’Ouest sur l’accord de Cotonou (POSCAO) sur l’APE | 10-Feb-2014
German public TV videos on TTIP - now in EN | 5-Feb-2014
Is the TPP dead? | 5-Feb-2014