Mercosur: Introduction

Mercosur, also known as the Common Market of the South, is a trade bloc agreement that exists between the following South American countries: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay.  The trade bloc was established under the Treaty of Asuncion in March 1991; it was then expanded under the 1994 Treaty of Ouro Preto, which set up a formal customs union.  The main objective of Mercosur is to bring about the free movement of goods, capital, services, and people among its member states.  The headquarters is located in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, and the official languages of the trade bloc are Portuguese and Spanish.  

In addition to the four founding members of Mercosur, there are five countries with associate member status.  These countries are Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.  As associate members, they are able to join free-trade agreements but do not receive the benefits of the customs union.  Venezuela is currently awaiting membership, which is contingent upon ratification by Paraguay, as all other member countries have already ratified Venezuela’s membership.

Number of Member Countries: 5
Headquarters: Montevideo, Uruguay
Region(s): South America
Founding Document: Agreement Text
Composition: Plurilateral
Coverage: Goods & Services
Website: Mercosur

Sources

BBC News: Mercosur (Common Market of the South)

Official Mercosur Website (Available only in Spanish and Portuguese)

Glossary