The Southern Common Market,[lower-alpha 1] commonly known by Spanish abbreviation Mercosur, and Portuguese Mercosul, is a South American trade bloc established by the Treaty of Asunción in 1991 and Protocol of Ouro Preto in 1994. Its full members are Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Venezuela is a full member but has been suspended since 1 December 2016. Associate countries are Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, and Suriname.[6]

Southern Common Market
  • Spanish:Mercado Común del Sur
    Portuguese:Mercado Comum do Sul
    Guarani:Ñemby Ñemuha
[citation needed]
  • "Nuestro norte es el Sur" (Spanish)
  • "Nosso norte é o Sul" (Portuguese)
  • "Yvy mba'e yvate ojehegui" (Guarani)
  • "Our North is the South"
Dark green: full members.
Light green: associated members.
Red: suspended members.
Blue: observer members.
Largest citySão Paulo
Official languages
Ethnic groups
4 members
  •  Argentina
  •  Brazil
  •  Paraguay
  •  Uruguay
1 suspended
  •  Venezuela
7 associated
  •  Chile
  •  Bolivia (Protocol of Accession, 2012)
  •  Colombia
  •  Ecuador
  •  Guyana
  •  Peru
  •  Suriname
2 observers
  •  New Zealand
  •  Mexico
GovernmentIntergovernmental organization and customs union
Luis Lacalle Pou
 Iguaçú Declaration
30 November 1985
 Buenos Aires Act
6 July 1990
26 March 1991
16 December 1994
11,879,134 km2 (4,586,559 sq mi)
 Water (%)
 2022 estimate
273,601,804[2] (5thb)
23/km2 (59.6/sq mi) (204thb)
GDP (PPP)2022 estimate
US$5.195 trillion[3] (6thb)
 Per capita
GDP (nominal)2022 estimate
US$2.638 trillion[3] (8thb)
 Per capita
HDI (2019) 0.788[4]
high · 70thb
4 currencies
Time zoneUTC-2 to UTC-5
Date formatdd/mm/yyyy (CE)
  1. Pardo, Mestizo, etc.
  2. Considering Mercosur as a single entity.
  3. Pro tempore.[5]

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 Association in 1960, which was succeeded by the Latin American Integration Association 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, 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 (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 was established, in which the signatory countries would not tax or restrict each other's imports. As of 1 January 1995, this area became a customs union, 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 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, in which there is free intra-zone trade and a common trade policy between member countries. In 2022, the Mercosur had generated a nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of around 5.1 trillion US dollars, placing the bloc as the 6th largest economy in the world. The bloc places high on the human development index. It has signed free trade agreements with Israel, Egypt, Japan and the European Union, among others.

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