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Mercosur – Southern Common Market

The Southern Common Market is an integration bloc for the countries of the southern part of South America. It has allowed Colombia to promote greater interaction with Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, and to increase exchange and cooperation on many fronts, such as security and education, just to mention a few.

Profile of the Organization

Mercosur is a political integration and consensus mechanism. It was created by the Asunción Treaty on March 26, 1991. Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay are its member states. Its Presidency is held for 6 months and then rotates in alphabetical order.

Its Associate Members are: Bolivia (1996), Chile (1996), Peru (2003), Colombia (2004) and Ecuador (2004) and México is an Observer. Although Venezuela has also had an Associate status since 2004, after its withdrawal from the CAN in 2006, it requested Full Membership, which has been approved by the Congresses of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay and ratified by their respective government. Ratification on the part of Paraguay is pending.

The main aim of this mechanism is to allow broadening the dimensions of the national markets and pave the way to regional integration on many issues.

The political discussion forums of this mechanism are:

  • MERCOSUR Summit of Heads of State and Government.
  • Common Market Council (Meeting of Foreign Ministers).
  • Political Agreement and Consultation Forum –FCCP- (at the level of National Coordinators at each Ministry of Foreign Affairs).
  • Meetings of Ministers (sectorial).
  • Technical Commission of Minister Meetings

The Organization holds Sectorial Ministerial Meetings on social, economic, political and cultural matters. Colombia, as an Associate, may participate in the following Meetings: Agriculture; Culture; Economy and Presidents of Central Banks; Education; Industry; Interior; Justice; the Environment; Mines and Energy; Ministers and MERCOSUR High Authorities of  Science, Technologies and Innovation; Ministers and authorities related to Social Development; Healthcare; Labor and Tourism.

Colombia’s Admittance to MERCOSUR

In October 2004, Colombia registered the Economic Complementation Agreement Nº59 between the Andean Community and MERCOSUR with the ALADI. The Agreement was approved by the Congress of Colombia on November 30, 2005. The President of Colombia ratified it on December 30, 2005.

Colombia became an Associate Member of Mercosur on December 17, 2004 in Ouro Preto, Brazil, during the XXVII Meeting of the Common Market Council. Colombia’s status as a MERCOSUR Associate was formalized in Common Market Decision No 44, 2004 (MERCOSUR/CMC/DEC N° 44/04).

Web Page: http://www.mercosur.int