Venezuela is a Mercosur member since 2012, but since 2017 suspended. Bolivia is in the process of acceeding the bloc.
On 28 June 2019, precisely 20 years after the Heads of State or Government of the EU and the four founding members of Mercosur (the ‘Southern Common Market’) – Argentina (AR), Brazil (BR), Paraguay (PY) and Uruguay (UY) – agreed to launch negotiations for an association agreement (AA), the parties reached an ‘agreement in principle’ on its trade pillar. The latter consists of a free trade agreement (FTA) with a comprehensive scope. It is aimed inter alia at the gradual liberalisation of trade in goods and services and the opening up of the parties’ government procurement markets. The FTA is part of a broader AA encompassing a political dialogue pillar and a cooperation pillar which were agreed upon in June 2018.
The AA would be a major achievement for the long-standing EU policy of seeking to enter into ambitious bi-regional AAs with Latin American regional organisations like Mercosur. As Latin America’s largest trading bloc with a combined GDP of US$2.4 trillion in 2018, a population of over 260 million and solid investment ties with the EU, Mercosur has been at the very heart of this policy.