In “Andres Oppenheimer: While Pacific Alliance thrives, Mercosur withers,” your author strives to portray both a positive momentum of the year-old Pacific Alliance, and the relatively limited development of the Mercosur bloc. However, his argument that the main actors in Mercosur will suffer from inward-looking policies may be somewhat misguided. In fact, talks concerning a preferential trade agreement between Mercosur and the European Union (E.U.) have recently accelerated, and it is likely that an agreement will be reached by early 2014. Additionally, all Mercosur nations have joined the emerging Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), which is set to supersede the Mercosur agreement and foster strong regional integration over the next several years.
Brazil is also actively working outside of the regional framework to strengthen their international economic ties. Even without the Mercosur-E.U. trade agreement in place, bilateral trade between Brazil and the E.U. has increased over the last five years by an average of 8.4 percent annually. Additionally, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s government is currently looking to expand both regional and global trade as a means to combat the country’s poor economic performance in the first quarter of this year. While Mercosur’s economic integration is proceeding slowly at best, Mercosur nations—and particularly Brazil—may be looking more toward strengthening international ties, rather than furthering their less favored inward-looking policies.
Joseph Ringoen, Research Associate at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs
In response to the Orlando Sentinel article: Andres Oppenheimer: While Pacific Alliance thrives, Mercosur withers
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