Foreign trade in goods has been the main focus of the MERCOSUR integration process due to its importance for the economic development strategies of the bloc’s member countries and its effects on the evolution of nontrade-related areas of integration. The importance of this factor and the current state of the MERCOSUR—which is characterized by stagnation, a lack of conviction, and the absence of a plan to revert this situation—all make it necessary to reformulate the agreement.
The article by Álvaro Ons, Uruguay’s secretary of productive transformation and competitiveness, published in MERCOSUR Futures: New Directions in Regional Integration (publication in Spanish), puts forward a brief agenda of feasible short-term initiatives that have the potential to bring credibility and certainty to intraregional trade.
The potential contents of a brief, viable, internal agenda could include: using a dispute settlement mechanism that would be perceived as an instrument for normal trade relations; defining a regional approach to nontariff restrictions; regulating a safeguard regime; implementing facilitation initiatives that reduce the cost of trade; establishing a technical organ with a clear mandate; and agreeing on flagship projects that, for example, anticipate regional science and technology or infrastructure objectives.
Download the complete article here: Los Futuros del MERCOSUR [MERCOSUR Futures] (link in Spanish)