south american version of the eu
- i meant to send people this article days ago, i think
this is a very interesting thing.
Thursday, 9 December, 2004, 06:12 GMT
S America launches trading bloc
Representatives from 12 South American countries have
signed an agreement to create a political and economic
bloc modelled on the European Union.
The new South American Community of Nations was
launched at a summit in the Peruvian city of Cuzco.
Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo, said a new
country was being born, which would one day have a
common currency, parliament and passport.
Members of the new community will start by phasing out
Leaders also hope it will increase South America's
clout in international trade talks.
THE NEW BLOC
Territory: 17,658,000 sq km
Population: 361 million
Unemployment: 12% (Can); 12.9% (Mercosur); 8.5%
Source: Can (2003)
Mr Toledo said the new community would also help
member nations "confront the challenges of
globalisation so that it is fairer".
"If in the past, geography divided us, today it unites
us," Mr Toledo said.
The move will create a market of 361 million people
with a GDP of $973bn, exporting $181bn of goods and
But the BBC's Hannah Hennessy in Cuzco says details
and disputes must be resolved if the bloc is to live
up to expectations.
It is born from the convergence of the two main trade
groups of the region - the Andean Community (Can) and
Mercosur - as well as Chile, Surinam and Guyana.
The Can was created 35 years ago, but it still has not
decided on common tariffs for its members.
Critics say that if existing blocs have not been able
to achieve unity, this one stands little chance of
Poverty is one of the greatest challenges for the new
There have also been criticisms that countries are
putting their own interests first.
The presidents of Brazil, Venezuela, Peru, Colombia,
Bolivia, Chile, Surinam and Guyana attended the
The leaders of Argentina, Ecuador, Uruguay and
Paraguay did not even bother attending the summit,
sending envoys in their place.
Others left before the signing of the declaration.
In trade terms, there is also scepticism. Some
analysts note that in many cases the South American
countries export the same products.
The region's two biggest powers, Brazil and Argentina,
are currently locked in trade disputes, while Bolivia
and Chile have no diplomatic relations at all.
However former Argentine president Eduardo Duhalde
brushed aside the sceptics, saying the new group would
not only responded to a very old integration dream but
also to modern requirements.
"Our countries cannot face alone the challenges of the
new economic and political world order," said Mr
To emphasise this move towards greater integration,
Peru and Brazil signed a $700m agreement to create a
road linking the two countries to be finished by the
end of his term in 2006.
- I just finished my International Political Economy class last week.
It's now almost a consensus in academia that isolationism and
protestionism will not work, as seen in the sound defeat of Dick
Gephardt earlier this year. (No disrespect. Dick is a good man.)
What worries me is that as these trade blocs continue to form, the
transition from a unipolar to a multipolar system can get chaotic
and out of control. The US will, again, play a crucial role in this
- You're right, the world could easily get more chaotic as more regions become
united economically and/or politcally. But I have doubts about how successful
this South American union will be, as did the writer of that BBC article I think.
But assuming that somehow they and the African Union become as united
and integrated as the European Union is today, it would probably be good for
the standard of living of the South Americans and Africans, though at the
same time could lead to more confrontation between them and the current big
powers, like the U.S. and China. And it sounds almost like the world
described in Orwell's 1984, with Eurasia, Oceania, and whatever the third
power was called.
Speaking of Orwell, has anyone read his semi-autobiographical book Down
And Out In Paris And London? I just finished it, it was very interesting.
On the other hand, things are already pretty chaotic right now. If there was, for
example, one African government, that government could probably easily end
the violence in Darfur.
--- In email@example.com, "Ram Lau" <ramlau@y...> wrote:
> I just finished my International Political Economy class last week.
> It's now almost a consensus in academia that isolationism and
> protestionism will not work, as seen in the sound defeat of Dick
> Gephardt earlier this year. (No disrespect. Dick is a good man.)
> What worries me is that as these trade blocs continue to form, the
> transition from a unipolar to a multipolar system can get chaotic
> and out of control. The US will, again, play a crucial role in this
> post-modern world.