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Mercosur Free Trade Agreement

The Southern Common Market (Mercosur) is a trading bloc consisting of four countries on the South American continent. The purpose of the bloc is to integrate the markets of the member states.


Treaty Establishing a Common Market between the Argentine Republic, the Federal Republic of Brazil, the Republic of Paraguay and the Eastern Republic of Uruguay,

The Argentine Republic, the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Republic of Paraguay and the Eastern Republic of Uruguay, hereinafter referred to as the "States Parties",

CONSIDERING that the expansion of their domestic markets, through integration, is a vital prerequisite for accelerating their processes of economic development with social justice,

BELIEVING that this objective must be achieved by making optimum use of available resources, preserving the environment, improving physical links, coordinating macroeconomic policies and ensuring complementarily between the different sectors of the economy, based on the principles of gradualism, flexibility and balance,

BEARING IN MIND international trends, particularly the integration of large economic areas. and the importance of securing their countries a proper place in the international economy.

BELIEVING that this integration process is an appropriate response to such trends,

AWARE that this Treaty must be viewed as a further step in efforts gradually to bring about Latin American integration, in keeping with the objectives of the Montevideo Treaty in 1980,

CONVINCED of the need to promote the scientific and technological development of the States Parties and to modernize their economies in order to expand the supply and improve the quality of available goods and services, with a view to enhancing the living conditions of their populations,

REAFFIRMING their political will to lay the bases for increasingly close ties between their peoples, with a view to achieving the above-mentioned objectives,




Article I The States Parties hereby decide to establish a common market, which shall be in place by 31 December 1994 and shall be called the "common market of the southern cone" (MERCOSUR). This common market shall involve:

The free movement of goods, services and factors of production between countries through, inter alia, the elimination of customs duties and non-tariff restrictions on the movement of goods, and any other equivalent measures;

The establishment of a common external tariff and the adoption of a common trade policy in relation to third States or groups of States, and the co-ordination of positions in regional and international economic and commercial forums;

The co-ordination of macroeconomic and sectoral policies between the States Parties in the areas of foreign trade, agriculture, industry, fiscal and monetary matters, foreign exchange and capital, services, customs, transport and communications and any other areas that may be agreed upon, in order to ensure proper competition between the States Parties;

The commitment by States Parties to harmonize their legislation in the relevant areas in order to strengthen the integration process.

Article 2 The common market shall be based on reciprocity of rights and obligations between the States Parties.

Article 3 During the transition period, which shall last from the entry into force of this Treaty until 31 December 1994, and in order to facilitate the formation of the common market, the States Parties shall adopt general rules of origin, a system for the settlement of disputes and safeguard clauses, as contained in Annexes 11. III and IV respectively to this Treaty.

Article 4 The States Parties shall ensure equitable trade terms in their relations with third countries. To that end, they shall apply their domestic legislation to restrict imports whose prices are influenced by subsidies, dumping or any other unfair practice. A t the same time, States Parties shall co-ordinate their respective domestic policies with a view to drafting common rules for trade competition.

Article 5 During the transition period, the main instruments for putting in place the common market shall be:

  1. (a) A trade liberalization programme, which shall consist of progressive, linear and automatic tariff reductions accompanied by the elimination of non-tariff restrictions or equivalent measures, as well as any other restrictions on trade between the States Parties, with a view to arriving at a zero tariff and no non- tariff restrictions for the entire tariff area by 31 December 1994 (Annex I);

  2. (b) The co-ordination of macroeconomic policies, which shall be carried out gradually and in parallel with the programmes for the reduction of tariffs and the elimination of nontariff restrictions referred to in the preceding paragraph;

  3. (c) A common external tariff which encourages the foreign competitiveness of the States Parties;

  4. (d) The adoption of sectoral agreements in order to optimize the use and mobility of factors of production and to achieve efficient scales of operation. Article 6

The States parties recognize certain differentials in the rate at which the Republic of Paraguay and the Eastern Republic of Uruguay will make the transition. These differentials are indicated in the trade liberalization programme (Annex 1).

Article 7 In the area of taxes, charges and other internal duties, products originating in the territory of one State Party shall enjoy, in the other States Parties, the same treatment as domestically produced products.

Article 8 The States Parties undertake to abide by commitments made prior to the date of signing of this Treaty, including agreements signed in the framework of the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI), and to co-ordinate their positions in any external trade negotiations they may undertake during the transitional period. To that end:

  1. (a) They shall avoid affecting the interests of the States Parties in any trade negotiations they may conduct among themselves up to 31 December 1994;

  2. (b) They shall avoid affecting the interests of the other States Parties or the aims of the common market in any agreements they may conclude with other countries members of the Latin American Integration Association during the transition period;

  3. (c) They shall consult among themselves whenever negotiating comprehensive tariff reduction schemes for the formation of free trade areas with other countries members of the Latin American Integration Association;

  4. (d) They shall extend automatically to the other States Parties any advantage, favour, exemption, immunity or privilege granted to a product originating in or destined for third countries which are not members of the Latin American Integration Association."

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