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132 Int'l Lab. Rev. 639 (1993)
MERCOSUR: History and Aims

handle is hein.journals/intlr132 and id is 653 raw text is: International Labour Review, Vol. 132, 1993, No. 5-6

MERCOSUR: History and aims
O n 26 March 1991 the Presidents of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and
Uruguay met in Asunci6n and launched the negotiations which are
expected to result in the establishment of the Common Market of the
Southern Cone (MERCOSUR). Agreements to be reached in the near
future will complement decisions that have already been taken and bring
about a wider market as from 1 January 1995. MERCOSUR represents a
historic opportunity for the Atlantic-rim countries of South America to pool
and harness their vast potential for the greater prosperity of their
inhabitants. These four nations have understood that a joining of forces and
the synergy resulting from the ensuing union will give greater impetus to
their economic development.
The Treaty of Asunci6n aims at establishing a single market among the
four republics, based on the free movement of goods, services and factors of
production; the establishment of a common external tariff and trade policy;
the coordination of macro-economic and sectoral policies; and the
harmonization of their respective legislations in order to strengthen the
process of integration. The .Treaty also calls for the gradual reduction of
tariffs over eight consecutive six-month periods, with a view to eliminating
all tariffs and non-tariff restrictions to internal trade by 31 December 1994.
From the outset, the Treaty was seen as a means for initiating a process
of economic integration, rather than as a constitutional instrument for the
common market. This is why it does not contain social clauses, or provisions
for social integration. This omission has since been remedied through the
establishment of a negotiating body for social and labour issues, as we shall
see below. Another reason for the absence of a social chapter in this
document is the fact that it grew out of a set of bilateral commercial
agreements between Argentina and Brazil. First Uruguay, and then
Paraguay, joined this process, leading to the signing of the Treaty in the
latter's capital city.
Most observers consider that negotiations are progressing reasonably
well and that deadlines are being met, although there have been difficulties,
* Professor of Labour Law, Uruguayan Coordinator of Subgroup 11 for MERCOSUR
negotiations, and representative of his country in the ILO Governing Body.

Copyright © International Labour Organization 1993

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