Founded in 1991, Mercosur is an economic and political agreement among Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay (and currently waiting Venezuela to join). Other South American countries such as Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru currently are associate members. Mercosur, the “common Market of the South,” is the largest trading bloc in South America.

Mercosur’s primary interest has been eliminating obstacles to regional trade, such as high tariffs, income inequalities, or conflicting technical requirements for bringing products to market. Mercosur tariff policies regulate imports and exports and the bloc can arbitrate in trade disputes among its members. In the longer term, Mercosur aims to create a continent-wide free-trade area, and the creation of a Mercosur development bank has not been settled yet.
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