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Common Market of the South

South American regional economic organization. Mercosur grew out of earlier efforts to integrate the economies of Latin America through the Latin American Free Trade Association (1960) and its successor, the Latin American Integration Association (1980). In 1985 Argentina and Brazil signed the Declaration of Iguacu, which created a bilateral commission to promote the integration of their economies; by the following year the two countries had negotiated several commercial agreements. The 1988 Treaty for Integration, Cooperation, and Development committed Argentina and Brazil to work toward the establishment of a common market within 10 years, and it invited other Latin American countries to join. Mercosur was created in 1991 by the Treaty of Asuncion, which was signed by the heads of state of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Several other countries were later admitted as associate members, and in 2006 Venezuela became a full member. Mercosur is headquartered in Montevideo, Uruguay.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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