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Mercosur: past, present, and future


  • Paulo Paiva

    () (Inter-American Development Bank)

  • Ricardo Gazel

    () (Inter-American Development Bank)


In March 2003, the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) celebrated its twelfth anniversary. In twelve years, the bloc went from a substantially restricted trade structure to a practically free-trade area, with additional efforts in establishing a customs union and progressing toward a common market. Despite these advances, the integration process has experienced setbacks as the result of such different economic phenomena as the Asian financial crisis, Brazil's currency devaluation and, later, economic uncertainty in Argentina. Setbacks to the integration process create credibility issues and could jeopardize the future of the process. This paper discusses the current level of economic integration of Mercosur, the speed of the process, and the resulting mixed level of different stages of economic integration. It also discusses the main achievements in the last twelve years, identifies the shortcomings as well as the opportunities and challenges facing the bloc in the near future.

Suggested Citation

  • Paulo Paiva & Ricardo Gazel, 2003. "Mercosur: past, present, and future," Nova Economia, Economics Department, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Brazil), vol. 13(2), pages 115-136, July-Dece.
  • Handle: RePEc:nov:artigo:v:13:y:2003:i:2:p:115-136

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    Cited by:

    1. Ariel A. Barraud & Author-Name: Ariel A. Barraud, 2011. "Exploring trade flows between MERCOSUR and the EU: what does an export demand function tell us?," Economic Analysis Working Papers (2002-2010). Atlantic Review of Economics (2011-2016), Colexio de Economistas de A Coruña, Spain and Fundación Una Galicia Moderna, vol. 2, pages 1-1, December.
    2. Herz Bernhard & Wagner Marco, 2011. "Regionalism as a Building Block for Multilateralism," Global Economy Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-25, March.

    More about this item


    Mercosur; economic integration; trade policy; globalization;

    JEL classification:

    • F02 - International Economics - - General - - - International Economic Order and Integration
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration


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