The Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) has marked its 30 years of peaceful operations.
MERCOSUR was founded upon the signing of the Treaty of Asuncion in 1991 by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. The bloc was a historic achievement in the region and one of the major milestones in Latin American economic integration, which was intended to overcome the previous logic of rivalry between the countries and establish cooperation dynamics.
According to a statement signed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship for Argentina, Felipe Solá, with a population of almost 300 million and an area of about 15 million square kilometres MERCOSUR is known for its great natural resource and food potential.
He said the bloc exports 63 per cent of the world’s soy and is the largest global exporter of beef, chicken, corn, coffee and iron, as well as the eighth largest global automobile producer.
Based on its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which in 2019 reached $4.467 trillion (measured by purchasing power parity), “the bloc is the world’s fifth largest economy,” he highlighted.
According to Solá, although the explicit goals of MERCOSUR upon its foundation were of an economic and commercial nature, the bloc plays an important role in the consolidation of democracy and the avoidance of conflict.
“Peace is a necessary condition for development, and regional integration has historically been a key instrument for consolidating our region as an area of peace and cooperation, without armed conflicts,” the minister said.
First in 1991, he continued, “we created a free-trade zone so that our goods and services could move without restrictions, as well as a common external tariff so that we could manage exchanges with the rest of the world. This allowed for great expansion in our mutual trade.
“We were also able to promote the exchange of added-value products between the four member countries, which allowed for the stimulation of non-traditional export activities which create high added-value jobs (in the biofuel, chemical and petrochemical, plastics, pharmaceutical product, steel and automotive sectors, among others),” Solá said.