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What Is MERCOSUR?

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The European Union and Mercosur states – Argentina, Brazil Paraguay and Uruguay – reached a political agreement on 28 June 2019 for an ambitious, balanced and comprehensive trade agreement.

The EU is Mercosur’s number one trade and investment partner. EU exports to Mercosur were €45 billion in goods in 2021 and €17 billion in services in 2020.

The EU is the biggest foreign investor in Mercosur with a stock of €330 billion in 2020. While the relationship is very substantial both exporters and potential investors face barriers in Mercosur markets.

The goal of the new EU-Mercosur trade deal is to

  • Increase bilateral trade and investment, and lower tariff and non-tariff trade barriers, notably for small and medium sized enterprises
  • Create more stable and predictable rules for trade and investment through better and stronger rules, e.g. in the area of intellectual property rights (including geographical indications), food safety standards, competition and good regulatory practices
  • Promote joint values such as sustainable development, by strengthening worker’s rights, fight climate change, increase environmental protection, encourage companies to act responsibly, and uphold high food safety standards

The agreement represents a win-win for both the EU and Mercosur, creating opportunities for growth, jobs and sustainable development on both sides.

About the agreement

Agreement in principle

Read the different sections of the agreement

Documents

Round reports, EU proposals and impact assessments

Factsheets and guides

Find out more about the EU-Mercosur trade agreement.

The agreement explained

The EU-Mercosur trade deal explained in plain English.

Information for businesses

EU-Mercosur Trade in your town

EU-Mercosur trade in your town

Towns and cities across the EU export to Mercosur. Here’s just a sample.Finland — Giving Argentinians a taste of traditional Finnish brewing

The company sees growing demand for its types of beer in South America, and especially in Argentina, and would like to launch exports there. A trade agreement between the EU and Mercosur would open up a whole new market, where similar tastes in beer are found on both sides of the Atlantic.EU trade deals give Europeans more and more opportunities. Find out more.

More on Trade relations

Mercosur

EU trade relations with Mercosur.Exporters’ informationExporting from the EU, importing into the EU — all you need to know is on the Access2Markets porta

Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR)

Founded in March 1991 by the Treaty of Asunción between Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, MERCOSUR committed the signatories to the progressive reduction of tariffs culminating in the formation of a common market on 1 Jan. 1995. This duly came into effect as a free trade zone affecting 90% of commodities. A common external tariff averaging 14% applies to 80% of trade with countries outside MERCOSUR. Details were agreed at foreign minister level by the Protocol of Ouro Preto signed on 17 Dec. 1994.

In 1996 Chile negotiated a free trade agreement with MERCOSUR which came into effect on 1 Oct. Subsequently Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Suriname have all been granted associate member status. Bolivia began the accession process to full membership in 2012. Mexico and New Zealand have observer status. Venezuela, which had associate membership between 2004 and 2006, became the fifth member of MERCOSUR in July 2006, although it was not going to have full voting rights until all the other full members had ratified its entry into the organization. Paraguay was the only country still to approve Venezuela’s full membership, but it was suspended from MERCOSUR in June 2012 following the impeachment of its president, Fernando Lugo. With Paraguay suspended, Venezuela was then formally admitted in July 2012. Paraguay was readmitted in Aug. 2013 after the swearing-in ceremony of its new democratically-elected president, Horacio Cartes. Venezuela was suspended in Dec. 2016 for failing to meet membership requirements.

Organization. The member states’ foreign ministers form a Council responsible for leading the integration process, the chairmanship of which rotates every six months. The permanent executive body is the Common Market Group of member states, which takes decisions by consensus. There is a Trade Commission and Joint Parliamentary Commission, an arbitration tribunal whose decisions are binding on member countries, and a secretariat in Montevideo.

Further to the treaty signed by 12 South American countries in May 2008, it is anticipated that MERCOSUR will gradually be integrated into the Union of South American Nations.

  • Headquarters: Dr Luis Piera 1992, Piso 1, 11200 Montevideo, Uruguay.
  • Website (Spanish and Portuguese only): http://www.mercosur.int
  • President pro tempore: Mauricio Macri (Argentina).

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