Essay about Merc

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Mercosur: South America's Fractious Trade Bloc - Council on Foreign Relations

Mercosur: South America's Fractious Trade Bloc
Authors: Joanna Klonsky, Associate Editor, Stephanie Hanson, and Brianna Lee Updated: July 31, 2012 This publication is now archived.

Introduction What is Mercosur? What are associate members? Why was Paraguay suspended as a Mercosur member? What are the implications of Venezuela joining as a full member? Does Mercosur have a political agenda? How does Mercosur affect other regional groups? How has Mercosur stimulated cooperation among its members? What are the prospects for Mercosur's future?

Mercosur, the "Common Market of the South," is an economic and political agreement
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The trade bloc's "grand aspiration is to unify the Southern Cone and then all of South America in an economic bloc," says Katherine Hancy Wheeler, a research associate with the Council on Hemispheric Affairs. "It gives them more trading security." Brazil is the region's largest economy with a gross domestic product (GDP) of more than $2.2 trillion in 2012. The population of Mercosur's full membership totaled more than 260 million people in 2011; including Venezuela, it has a collective GDP of $2.9 trillion and is the world's fourth-largest trading bloc after the European Union (EU), North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). Whether any reduction in poverty can be linked directly to Mercosur trade policies is unclear.

What are associate members?
Mercosur has five associate members--Chile, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru--that do not enjoy full voting rights or complete access to the markets of Mercosur's full members. They receive tariff reductions, but are not required to impose the common external tariff that applies to full Mercosur members. Of these countries, Bolivia is being considered for full membership. But the decision is complicated by Mercosur's history with Bolivia, as well as the common external tariff. Bolivian President Evo Morales has

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