Introduction to Regional Processes of Latin America


From historical-theoretical perspectives, the developing regional processes of Latin-America can be attributed to four dominant integration philosophies; these are the Monroeism (also called Pan-Americanism), Hispano-Americanism (referred also as Ibero-Americanism), the Asianisation (also known as Japanisation), as well as Bolivarianism (or Latin-Americanism).

Monroeism insists on a union formed between the nations of the American double continent with the control and domination of the USA which would further reinforce its global position in comparison to the other parts of the world. This integration model can be discovered in the background of ALCA (Free Trade Areas of America), OAS (Organization of American States), BID (Inter-American Development Bank) and in the one of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement).

In the philosophy of Hispano-Americanism the re-ratification of the Latin-American influence of Spain and Portugal can be discovered (e.g. it is represented by the OEI or by Ibero-American Summit Conferences).

Earlier, the theory of Asianisation demonstrated primarily Japanese interests; nowadays – due to the headway of China – new aspects of the notion are revealed. At this point, APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) should be mentioned, as well, of which integrating effect influences some Latin-American Countries.

Finally, the integration philosophy ‘Bolivarism’ – called also Latin-Americanism –, should be mentioned which aim was to let the Latin-American nations form a union being independent from European authorities and the USA in the 19th century. This idea was justified by more significant factors, like linguistic-, cultural-, historical- and social similarities due to the Spanish and Portuguese colonization. Furthermore, it was also justified by the fact that the states of the subcontinent working in co-operation would have had a greater chance to hold out in the economical competition which was dictated by the contemporary word-economic structure.

The failure of the integration efforts, which took place in the last almost two centuries, shows that the fulfillment of this aim is not problem-free. On the one hand, the ambitions of some important personalities of the Latin-American history fostered a ‘from-the-inside-operative’, i.e. endogenous developing direction. This idea was advocated by the representatives of Latin-Americanism. On the other hand, even the events of the previous decades, as well as the heritage of the previous centuries, corroborated to the fact that the Latin-American economic processes had been influenced to a great extent by economic forces beyond their control.

Taking all nthese described signs into account, this tendency can be identified even during the three great periods of the 20th and the 21st century. These periods are: that of the old one, that of the new, and the one of the ‘third generational’ regional processes.

The goal of this study is to provide a short overview of these periods.

The ‘Old Regional Processes’ in Latin-America

In the view of the historical and philosophical antecedents of the last more than one-hundred years counted from the date of becoming independent, it can be stated that the institution of the Latin-American regional processes actually started to develop just after the end of the World War II. The first period of this process had begun in the 1950s und lasted till the middle of the 80s. The attribute ‘old’ was used by more authors (ROSAS 2001; BOUZAS 2005) for describing this regionalism-period. In Hungarian literature, analysis by Béla KÁDÁR can be read. Though these works cannot deviate from the style dictated by the dominating ideology of that time which was significant even in Hungary, the author provides a clear-cut overview about the given situation of the Latin-American integration, the economic ‘dilemmas’ of the investigated countries, the crises based on the protectionist economic policy, moreover about the possibilities of the efforts which applied protectionist theory and praxis.

In the 1960s, it seemed that for the developed countries having low word ecologic potential, the technical-structural growth and the joining in the expansion of the economy-pulling international sectors will be secured by an economic integration. Opposite to this, in the developing countries – so in Latin-America – the integration processes was urged by their insufficient development . In the case of the Latin-American states, it was important to take the fact into consideration that the rationality of a market based integration process – following the Vinerian-theory– could be questioned, if the market and the trade had been seen as underdeveloped from the outset on.

Simultaneously, the integration of the developed European countries (European Economic Community) was based on a previously historically established co-operation of foreign trade , which was just partly characteristic for the Latin-American situation. The co-operational rate attained in the case of the MCCA (Central-American Common Market) 9%, in that of the ALALC (Latin-American Free Trade Association) 8%, and among the members of the Andean Pact 3%. In addition, the existing asymmetry between the foreign trade-volumes of the states, which took part in the integration process, let the problems deepen further.

Another problematic issue of this period was the asymmetry of the developmental standards produced by the member states. In the case of the EEC-members the individual annual GDPs were almost on the same level (except in the case of Italy). Parallel to this, in the same period, five- or six times bigger differences of the GDP-rates in given Latin-American countries were observable. In the 1960s, Brazil’s GDP was sixty times bigger than that of Paraguay, forty times than that of Bolivia, twenty times than that of Ecuador and fourteen times than that of Uruguay. This explains Brazil’s becoming the heart of the regional cooperation, which was joined by smaller countries, as well. The ‘big countries’ could behave in an ecologic introvert way, as they were able to lean on their own economy (at least till a given level) while the ‘small’ ones were supposed to have active foreign trade contacts and flexible economic policy to be able to join an integration process. For supporting this, in Latin-America the more developed member states gave unilateral allowances for the less developed ones, which finally caused a more complex problematic issue, called the mechanism of distribution (KÁDÁR 1977).

CEPAL (Economic Commission for Latin-America and the Caribbean, run by UNO), supported even by BID, had also a great influence on the integration processes of this period. The organization divided the economic history of Latin-America into four periods based on the dependence theory of foreign trade (centre – periphery):

  1. Around the date of establishing the independence: Period of secession from the international trade
  2. 1850-1930: Period of extrovert development (export oriented economy)
  3. 1930-1950: Period of import-deputizing policy
  4. 1950- : Period of economic stagnation

The analysis of CEPAL were followed by clear consequences: The exploitation of inner resources was pushed in the foreground, institutional and economic structures had changed, work places were created, an increase of export was observable, the institutions with planning profiles were reinforced, the international financial cooperation increased, the national markets became stronger, moreover the fair and effective integration among the Latin-American countries was gaining strength .

In the atmosphere of these changes were formed the ALALC (1960), the MCCA (1960), the Andean Pact (1969) which is nowadays known as Andean Community, temporary without the membership of Venezuela. Furthermore, the following organizations belong also to this integration wave: the La Plata Basin Community (1969), the CARICOM (1973) , the SELA (1975) , the URUPABOL (1963) and the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (1978). According to the cepalist conception, the solution for the economic and social problems of the region would have been the integration of the Latin-American countries, namely a common market formed based on the European model, which was fostered by the desarollismo-conception , i.e. the raise of a state-regulated and on protectionist economic policy based development-process to a regional level. So, the integration would have taken place – mainly in opposite to the Vinerian-conception – with the intervention of the state for defending the member countries of the region. The only exception of this was the previously mentioned ALALC; but as a significant example for this concept the Andean Pact should be mentioned, which was the most closed regional process of this period (KÁDÁR 1977).

In spite of all efforts, the national spheres being in crises of the most countries were unable to fulfill essential reforms for the real integration. In the ‘60s and later also in the ‘70s (in the period of the oil crises) in numerous Latin-American countries the military dictatorship seemed to be the only solution: Brazil (1964), Bolivia (1964), Uruguay and Chile (1973), Argentina, Peru and Ecuador (1976). Of course, this kind of regime provided no solution for these countries; they just let the long-time-piling problems delay. These were the consequences of the population boom, like: Analphabetism, drug trade, the intolerableness of the increasing crowdedness in the metropolises, unemployment, floating dept, guerilla wars and elimination of poverty; and last but not least the development of the economic integration.

Latin-American Free Trade Association (ALALC)

In the world economic context of the period after the World War II, Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Paraguay and Mexico signed the ALALC-contract in Montevideo, 1960. This organization was inspirited by the model of the three years earlier founded European Economic Community (EEC), moreover by the dependence theory developed by CEPAL and by its multilateral interpretation. Its aim was to establish a free trade region within 12 years.

In opposite to the integration model of the period (EEC), the ALALC-members wanted to achieve their aims not with the automatic and continuous lift of the traffic barriers but with successive conference-series discussing a ‘common list’ of the products which were meant as the bases of the free trade .

In spite of all the difficulties (namely the contract was signed in the period of the recession), the exchange of the products among the members increased by 360% between 1960 and 1972; however, there were differences as in the rates of the involved products, as in their composition in the case of the individual members. Simultaneously, the traffic rate within the region was only 12% of the whole amount of foreign trade in 1970, which meant that the main trade and investment partners of the member states did not belong to the Latin-American region but to the centre one of the world economics (West-Europe, USA, Canada and Japan). This fact can be explained by the existence of a more centuries old international trade network, and understood as its heritage.

At the middle of the 1970s it became obvious that there had been other problems that could be treated as responsible for the humble results in the implementation of the conception of free trade. These were the followings: Information deficit, high costs of foreign trade, lack of transport possibilities and that of the standards, the overlap of the row materials exported by the member states, which caused a competition for market instead of fostering co-operation. Furthermore, the lack of sanitary measures, difficulties of the devise exchange and credit accommodation and the unmanageable asymmetry among the nations were observable, as well . Even the over and over occurring border debates strengthened the troubles. However, the fact involved a more serious difficulty, namely that the member states had not intended to involve their industrial policy in the integration process. In other words, the dominant import-deputizing policies destroyed the aimed free trade in praxis. That is to say, although the ALALC propagated free trade, the member states continued their protectionist economic policy parallel (ROSAS 2001: 166).

Summarized, the developing intraregional trade tendency fostered by the ALALC was not able to form the conditions even within two decades (1960-1980) for an individual and dynamic traffic among the member states.

Central-American Common Market (MCCA)

The most significant model of the ‘old’ regionalisms is the Central-American Common Market . The counties in Central-America had not joined the ALALC, but it did not mean that they would have given up the idea of integration. Actually, in opposite to this presupposition, the General Treaty of Central-American Integration was signed by five countries (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala) at Managua on 13th December 1960 – 10 months later than the foundation of the ALALC. The aim of the members was regional development and economic integration by fostering the foundation of a customs union, furthermore by providing free trade for the most of the export products originated from the member states. Out of the methods of the economic integration MCCA used more ones for achieving its goal, e.g. multilateral free trade agreement among the member states, synchronization of the import duties and their stabilization in the protocol of the Middle-American customs preference, bilateral free trade agreement and agreement of economic integration (with the participation of every member states), furthermore an economic co-operational agreement among Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

The foundation of MCCA had a great influence on the agricultural sphere of the member states, especially cultivation and livestock production were supported (ROSAS 2001). The improvement of the latter one deprived the agriculture workers of fields which caused high rate tendencies of migration within the country, namely urbanization. Finally, this migration followed parallel by the semi-dictatorial policy systems and by the opposition to the continuous interventional attempts of the USA caused and lead to the spread of Central-American guerilla movements. But these social turbulences hindered the aimed integration processes (e.g. at the end of the 1960s Honduras quitted the MCCA) and it had not been possible to present any results related to an economic union, if peace in the region was not restored .

After signing the Treaty of Managua, the member states of MCCA (in opposite to the ALALC-members) stipulated the free traffic of the transport vehicles carrying trade products. Furthermore, all infrastructural investments were also stipulated which fostered the improvement of the Central-American region; these were e.g. construction of highways, bridges and irrigation systems, wiring in, building of block of flats. These decisions meant such an integration providing power which had some significance even beyond the merely market mechanisms and the conception of free trade.

The first two decades in the history of MCCA showed a successive increase of the export within the region which was observable till the debt crisis of the 1980’s. The export volume among the members decreased from the top 1.1 milliard US $ to its half (450 million US $, 1986) in less than six years. This touching bottom could be changed in the 1990s only when an economic rise took place due to the ‘new’ integration perspectives.

‘Old regionalisms’ from 1969 till the beginning of the 1980s

In Latin-America, on the Vinerian-theory based integration showed the signs of a collapse, especially after the failure of the ALALC, but at the end of the ‘70s it became full clear: Governments, which are seemingly insisting on the conception of free trade but in praxis leading protectionist economic policy, cannot achieve success in the integration process of more countries.

On the other hand, the cepatalist interpretation of the regional integration put off the member states with promises for a harmonious development and for the foundation of an appropriate economic field by the adaption of the protectionist economic policy on a regional level. These promises were, among others, the followings: Achieving a more optimal economic rate, harmonization of the requirement systems in the case of mixed-mechanisms, weakening the negative consequences caused by the concentration of the economic and political powers, providing functions for business federation, harmonization and that for arbitrators (KÁDÁR 1977).

This latter approach forced the Latin-American countries to make such further integration attempts which had their effects felt till the beginning of the debt crisis of the 80’s.

From the Latin-American Free Trade Association (ALALC) to the Andean Pact

The ALALC had to face with the problem of stagnation at the end of ‘70s and few years later all of its reasons for existence were also questioned, as its free-trade-area-project had failed . The countries in the Andean region (Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Columbia and Peru, later also joined by Venezuela, 1972) founded the Andean Pact in 1969 seeing in it a solution for the emerging problems and in the hope of successful seeking way out. This act can be also understood as a regional answer to the failure of ALALC. The aim of the member states was not only to succeed in establishing free trade, but also to create integration mechanisms which would support the development of the smaller and less competitive ones.

From the date of the contract-signing on, the Andean Pact-members set some important aims, just like the harmonization of the different policy branches (which could not be attained in case of ALALC), the setting of a common outer customs system, the support of the intraregional free trade, but it kept even the idea of a later, gradually introduced common Latin-American market in sight. Further aims were e.g. the regulation of foreign capital investment and the organization of the international division of labor, which was meant as supporting the development of the developing industry. The basic principles of the agreement were mostly the same as the ones of the leading economic philosophy of this period, namely the import deputizing model of which implementation was attempted to fulfill with government programs, firstly on a national, later on regional levels, as well.

In spite of all efforts, the rate of the regional export related to the total one increased only by 1.7% in 1970 (one year after the foundation) and by 4.5% even in 1979. These modest indexes of the Andean Pact can be explained by more reasons. On the one hand, although the agreement aimed the free trade within the region, practically a huge amount of products did not belong to the circle of the ones labeled with protective duty. Even the harmonization of the outer customs did not succeed, as the single member states were of different opinions related to the defense of their own economy; in other words, instead of showing the characteristics of a regional economic defense (regional protectionism) they insisted on the protection of their national economics (protectionism). Furthermore, the set production goals did not suit the trade-needs of the member states. Later, in the early ‘80s the problems were deepened by the dept crises, as the by crises affected countries were not able to produce the necessary devise amount to keep their economics alive. The protected industrial activities were financed out of the devise incomes of the row material export, which had pushed the competition among the members to the extremes, as there was a significant overlap in this field among the countries among the Andean countries.

In the 1980s, these events lead to the reform of the Andean Pact.

From Latin-American Free Trade Association (ALALC) to Latin-American Integration Association (ALADI)

The previously mentioned failures of ALALC had the leaders of the member states forced to introduce some inner reforms which lead to the foundation of ALADI (Latin American Integration Association) in 1980. The contract had been signed at Montevideo; later Cuba also joined the organization in 1999. By this event Latin-America’s most significant and powerful integration organization of the second half of the 20th century was endowed with life.

Some of the main goals of the ALADI: Economic and political pluralism, continuous convergence toward a Latin-American common market, flexibility during the development of the integration processes, taking into account the differences among the developmental levels of the member countries, usage of more trade tools for achieving conciliation in members’ interests . Furthermore, the establishment of a common market was aimed by using three mechanisms, namely by introducing duty concessions for the products coming from member countries in contrast to ones being exported from a third one; by usage of positive examples of regional agreements among two or more countries which would facilitate motivation; furthermore, by the motivation of partial duty concessions. The organization is in consideration of economic weaker countries and is open for the joining of other Latin-American states (see the case of Cuba), and it also opens with multilateral relationships towards other integration processes, as well.

Learnt from the previous mistakes of ALALC, ALADI was more careful in fulfilling the set goals than its forerunner had been. ALADI even tried to use a more complex repertoire of tools for achieving them, with the aim of letting the economic-trading relationships among the nations of the region deepen. This attitude made it possible that ALADI became an “umbrella-agreement” which clearly means that it provided the members with the opportunity for emphasizing economic-trading perspectives which were the most actual for them. Moreover, trade agreements, which facilitated bi- or trilateral relationships, were also supported by it, even if they did not functioned under the ALADI’s aeges. Due to this ‘behavior’ it helped the development of other integration processes, as well, just like in the case of G 3 or in the one of MERCUSUR. Simultaneously, it also helped in the reformation of the already existing integrations, e.g. in the reactivation of the Andean Pact.

According to some experts’ opinions, there are two possible ways for interpreting this ‘catalytic converter’ role. One interpretation said that ALADI had facilitated the development of the Latin-American integration by supporting the initiations of the free trade and that of the integration on the subcontinent. According to the second one, ALADI did the opposite in real: It fostered a greater disunity in Latin-America, as the consolidation of different regional processes could be eliminative with non-member-states, on the one hand; on the other, it helped in keeping the hierarchical relationships among the Latin-American countries alive; moreover, it also let the dividedness of the different Latin-American regions deepen further .

Despite of all these, the operation of ALADI has been contributing in a great amount to development of the Latin-American regional processes from the 1980s until today.

The ‘new’ regional processes in Latin-America (From the middle of the 1980s until now)

From the middle of the 1980’s parallel with the failure of the import deputizing policy and with the stagnation of the multilateral trade tendencies (i.e. the aims of the World Trade Association) a new wave of regionalization processes had raised which can be described based on the list of characteristics provided by INOTAI (1994):

  • The new tendency has some significance even beyond the pure trade-aspects (e.g. technologies, investments, services, capital flows, issues of labour market were emphasized, as well).
  • It is a group of national economies being on different developmental levels (the relative feeling of being in safety can be provided by the membership).
  • Even the USA joined this process (the foundation of NAFTA) in spite of the fact that this country was one of the most significant representatives of the multilateral economic tendency
  • It is able to deal with the non-customs restrictions (the GATT aimed only the deconstruction of customs)
  • It tries to fill in the gap caused by the uneven development of different fields of the international economy.
  • The relationship among the member states is based on the principles of liberalism and of free trade but not on the ones of protectionism.

These changes and directives did not let even the Latin-American countries without any influence, so the new wave of the regional processes became a significant integration factor among the states of the subcontinent. This period can be interpreted, on the one hand, as a regional reaction to the failure of the efforts by GATT and WTO aiming the promotion of the free trade on a multilateral level; on the other, as one given as response to the unsuccessfulness of the ‘regional protectionisms’ (MCCA, PA) based on the conception of protectionist economic policy. This situation was influenced even by the end of the cold war further which meant the loosening of the relationships among Latin-American countries that made the rapprochement on diplomatic, economic and trading levels possible.

The later foundation of the first organization following these conceptions, MERCOSUR, had been already indicated by the agreement between Argentina and Brazil, the ‘Declaration of Iguacu’, 1985 (BOUZAS 2005; ROSAS 2001). Simultaneously, the ‘older’ regional processes were rearranged and inner reforms were fulfilled, just like in the case of PA, MCCA , and CARICOM .

The following chart summarizes the signed bi- or multilateral agreements of free trade, 1990-1994:








Argentina – Brazil 1990


Brazil – Peru 1993


Bolivia – Uruguay 1991


Mexico – CARICOM 1993


Argentina – Columbia 1991


Mexico – Costa Rica 1994




Bolivia – Brazil 1994


Chile – Mexico 1991


Mexico – Bolivia 1994


Chile – Argentina 1991


Chile – Bolivia 1994


Argentina – Bolivia 1992


Chile – Ecuador 1994


Bolivia – Peru 1992


Columbia – Venezuela – Mexico 1994


Argentina – Venezuela 1992


Venezuela – CARICOM 1994


Argentina – Ecuador 1993


Columbia – CARICOM 1994


Bolivia – Chile 1993


Brazil – Venezuela 1994


Chile – Venezuela 1993


Bolivia – Paraguay 1994


Chile – Columbia 1993

Chart 1 – Signed free-trade agreements in Latin-American and in the Caribbean, 1990-1994. SELA, cited in ROSAS (2001).

According to ROSAS (2001: 84), these agreements can be seen as reactions to the foundation of NAFTA and they had negative influence on the operation of ALADI – so also on the whole Latin-American integration process – due to the polarity of the ‘individual judgments’ related to the export products.

In the followings, two ‘new’ regional economic groups will be introduced which influenced the whole Latin-American region. These groups are the Andean Pact , which has been twice renewed since the 1990s, and MERCOSUR which let the stream of the ‘new’ Latin-American regional processes unfold.

From the Andean Pact to the Andean Community (CAN)

Due to the integration waves of the 1990s and parallel to the signing of bilateral free trade agreements, the ‘reactivation’ of the almost twenty years operating Andean Pact can be observed. The term ‘reactivation’ reflects the real process properly, as neither the Latin-American region could escape the dept crises of the ‘80s, which consequence made the restructuring of the organization unavoidable. Especially Peru’s economy had to face with grave problems as it was unable to redeem its debt, but this was in the whole Andean region well known. So, during the ‘80s, the integration issues were pushed in the background by the search for solution to inner economic matters. Although the integration institute of the Andean countries was formally active, in real it could not grasp the opportunities it would have been able to.

After the ‘lost decade’ the reactivation of the Andean Pact occurred gradually. In 1990 the actual five member states (Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela) signed the Declaration of La Paz which aimed the further reinforcement of the previous results of the integration process, especially focused on environmental protection. In 1991 the introduction of the common external customs was prepared by the singing of the Guayaquil Agreement and even the foundation of the Andean customs-union was accelerated. The same year the Declaration of Baharona was also signed which advanced the introduction date of the common external customs. But the planed deeper integration was delayed by the emerging difficulties at the beginning of the ‘90s, like by the absence of consensus related to the customs-decrease or by the delay of the payment of the yearly quota-fee. Further difficulties were the tension caused by the renewed border debates between Peru and Ecuador and the political crisis involving from the debates around the Peruvian president’s, Alberto Fujimori’s office. These facts impaired the relationships among the countries and even the trust in the democratic principles . These clearly show the correlation between the economic-trading processes and the political instability of the member states, but it influence can be even observed in the pre- or absence of democracy.

In 1995, with the signing of the Protocol of Trujillo the system of Andean Pact had radically changed and the Andean Community was founded, further, the member states organized the Andean Integration System which is build up by numerous organizations and institutes. At the meeting the aim was set that the sates of the region should establish a common market by 2005. Earlier, from 1993 on, a free trade agreement came into operation among Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador and Bolivia, which was joined by Peru in 1997. 1995, the members planed a common external customs system, which was not realized in 1992. This step meant even a deeper integration level (Andean Customs Union).

In the last years three Andean countries made such provision even on international level which made the economic and politic cohesion much weaker: In 2005 Peru, in 2006 Columbia signed a free trade agreement with the USA, furthermore the number of the members was reduced to four by the Venezuela’ quit which also meant that the integration lost one third of its territorial, just as its economic part. These events made it clear that in the rest of the Andean Pact two integration models were existing parallel to each other: Columbia and Peru followed the principles of the ‘open regionalism’ combined with the establishment of full trading liberalization; Ecuador and Bolivia aimed the deeper regional union (closed regionalism) further in which centre was not the trade but the sovereignty.

The development of the Andean Community can be divided into three periods. The first one lasted from 1969 till 1980 in which the main integration paradigm was the import deputizing policy. The second one, 1999-2006, the model of the opened regionalism was applied by the five member states; practically it meant the liberalization of the trade. Finally, from 2007 on, the period which was previously mentioned and characterized by dichotomy (the open regionalism model represented by Peru and Columbia, and the closed one by Ecuador and Bolivia).

In the view of the present integration dilemma, the question can be raised, if the external or internal aimed integration model would win on significance among the Andean countries in the near future.

The MERCUSOR (South Common Market)

After the foundation of the previously mentioned Declaration of Iguacu (which was signed under the aegis of ALADI, 1985) the South Common Market (El Mercado Cumún del Sur, MERCUSOR), gradually developed, dominated by Argentina and Brazil, represents one of the most important and precedent-serving ‘new’ regional process. According to more authors (BENECKE 1999; BOUZAS 2005) a new period of the Latin-American integration has begun with the signing of the Declaration of Iguacu. But the foundation of MERCOSUR itself is associated with the Treaty of Asunción, which was signed 26th March 1991. The present members of the economic integration are Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay (1991) and Venezuela (2006). Beside the members states joined Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Columbia, Peru and Mexico the treaty. These countries took place as observers in the integration process. The MERCUSOR has a territory of cc. 13 million km2. If we looked at it as a single country it would be the second biggest in the world. Its population is 282.4 million (based on estimated data, 2011). Its GDP (if this community is consider as one single sate) reached 3194.2 milliard US $ which meant the fifth place on the global rank list in 2010. It official languages are Spanish and Portugal.

The goals of MERCOSUR are the followings: Establishing free trade and a customs union, the synchronization of the macroeconomic policies , the complementary integration of different economic sectors just as the promotion of the free influx of the goods, subjects and capitals. Moreover, the member states and the affiliate members aimed also the realization of a deeper political and cultural integration and even the increase of economic effectiveness and competitiveness of the members. The environmental protection and the fixing of the transport conditions among the members were also aimed.

In spite of the last 20 successful years, there was a need for economic changes to make the MERCOSUR states be able to fulfill the posed aims. Among these the followings are listed: Reactivation of the industrial production, establishment of a regional production chain (economic aspect), realization of technological-scientific coordination; fixing the communication conditions, just as the fixing of the transport infrastructure, furthermore, finding a new resolution related to the usage of the old and the renewable energy sources .

A report, titled as Regional Integration in America – Contemporary Situation and Problems, elaborated by the working party REAL 2006, states that in spite of all difficulties MERCOSUR “is not a project which proved an abortion” and its future would be influenced mainly by the relationship between the two significant countries, Brazil and Argentina .

On the other hand, the effect of the more and more uncountable tendencies of the world economy should not be neglected by observing MERCOSUR’s further development. New tendency within the ‘new regionalism’: The third generation of the Latin American regional processes

In Latin-America, in the first decade of the new millennium, the third generation of the regional processes appeared as a reaction to the depletion of the earlier ones. Its main characteristics were summarized by OJEDA (2010):

  • Emphasizing the political perspectives which correlates with the fact that leftist governments came into office in more Latin-American countries after 2000
  • The importance of state officials became more essential and even a return to the desarrollist conceptions can be observed, in opposite to ones of trade liberalization
  • Establishing institutes and common policies which cooperation is not only reinforced on trading fields
  • To social issues was given a greater attention, as well, which is not a traditional sector. It was focused also on the problems of the asymmetry between the developmental levels of given countries and even the interdependence of integration, poverty and the reduction of social inequalities (social justice).
  • The infrastructural issues are also more emphasized.
  • Greater attention is paid even to energetic issues (a untraditional sector, again) and to it related projects.

The appearance of the third generational Latin-American regional processes cannot be bound to a concrete date. They refer to the reinterpretation and the inner reconstruction of the new regional processes along the south-south cooperation axis. OJEDA (2010) enumerates the foundations of ALBA , UNASUR and Banco del Sur to this integration wave.

LANGENHOVE (2005) understands the third generation of the regional processes as an development of the relationships of the regional processes among each other which could be observed on a global level but in Latin-America another kind of tendency was found. However, the relations among the regional processes are more and more deep and frequent, in Latin-America there was no other significant agreement among integration processes except of the on between CAN and MERCOSUR. Furthermore, Latin-American diplomats reported in qualitative interviews and in informal conversations about the courses of the real meetings among the integration, which unfolded between two countries in the most cases, several times in the beaks of official meetings.


The developing integration efforts among the Latin-American countries, although they have a two hundred years long history, became real projects only in the second half of the 20th century. As this study emphasizes, these efforts have not meant inflexible economic and trading institutions but economic integration waves formed during the previous decades or ever-changing economic relations among given countries. This could take place due to the influence of world economic- and to that of international foundations (e.g. CEPAL). Furthermore, as a function of the inner situations of given countries, they could be reinforced or weakened, moreover even changed in developmental direction during several years.

The experiences of the last decades show that in all cases the absolute application of the integration models (see: protectionism – import deputizing economic policies; liberalism – free trade) left more unanswered questions, as clear solutions for the emerging economic and social problems on the subcontinent.

The issue of the present and future Latin-American integrations could be summarized by questioning the possibility of the realization of an integration praxis which is based on a historical-philosophic approach to the Latin-Americanism and could lead to a successful integration among the Latin-American states, or, learnt from the failures of the previous attempts, the integration of the region should be based on a from Latin-Americanism divergent conception, just like the one of Pan-Americanism, in the vies of ALCA’s failure.

The ‘integration of the integrations’, known as the ‘third wave’ of the regional processes could mean a new opportunity for the Latin-American economic communities. An Economic Complementary Agreement (2002) was signed the very first time in the global economic history between two economic coalitions (CAN and MERCUSOR). This fusion directs the countries of the South part of the double-continent toward the political, economic and trading project of the UNASAR (Union of South American Nations), of which success or failure will have been seen in few years, and of which consequences will influence the whole Latin-American region.

Works Cited

  • AHUMADA, Consuelo (1998): El Modelo Neoliberal y su impacto en la sociedad colombiana, El Áncora Editores, Bogotá.
  • BENECKE, Dieter,W.(1999): Relación entre la Unión Europea y el MERCOSUR, in: Diálogo Científico, Vol. 8, No. 1, Instituto de Colaboración Científica,Tübingen.
  • BOUZAS, R (2005).: El „nuevo regionalismo” y el área de libre comercio de las Américas: un enfoque menos indulgente, in: Revista de la CEPAL 85, 2005. Abril.
  • CREAMER, Germán (2008): Regionalismo abierto en la Comunidad Andina: Creación o desviación de comercio?, Columbia University y Tulane University, New York.
  • HELMUT, Janka (1975): ALALC: Ilusión o posibilidad?, in: Nueva Sociedad N˚. 19-20, Julio-Octubre.
  • INOTAI, András (1994): Az új regionalizmus a világgazdaságban. In.: Külgazdaság, 1994/1., 28-44. oldal.
  • KÁDÁR, Béla (1977): Latin – Amerika gazdasági dilemmái, Közgazdasági és Jogi Könyvkiadó, Budapest.
  • LORA FUENTES, Miguel (2007): Cambian los paradigmas de integración en la Comunidad Andina, Bolpress, Bolívia.
  • MOLNÁR, Gábor (2002): Mélyinterjú Carlos Moscadoval, Jefe del Sector Económico y Comercial, Embajada de Brasil en Bogotá (manuscrito).
  • MOLNÁR, Gábor (2006): Los pilares teóricos del MERCOSUR, in: V. Magyar Politikai Földrajzi Konferencia kötet, Pécs, PTE.
  • MOLNÁR, Gábor (2007): Japán-Mexikó közötti kétoldalú kapcsolatok alakulása a ’80-as évek végétől 2000-ig, Belvedere, Belvedere Meridionale alapítvány, XIX. évfolyam, 3-4. szám, pp. 80-96., Szeged.
  • MOLNÁR, Gábor (2010): A Déli Közös Piac (MERCOSUR) jelentősége a 20.-21. századi Latin-Amerika integrációs folyamataiban, Doktori Értekezés, Földtudományok Doktori Iskola, Földrajzi Intézet, PTE, Pécs.
  • MOLNÁR, Gábor (2011): Los cambios en el espacio de los procesos regionales de América Latina, UGI 2011 – Chile, Santiago.
  • OJEDA, Tahina (2010): La cooperación sur-sur y la regionalización en América Latina: el despertar de un gigante dormido, in.: Relaciones Internacionales, núm. 15, octubre de 2010, GERI – UAM.
  • PALOTÁS, László (2002): Az európai kereskedelmi befolyás változásai Latin-Amerikában in: Szabó – Ölbei – Wilhelm: Anyaországok és (volt) gyarmataik 1. Afrika – Amerika – Ázsia Universitas Munkacsoport, Konferencia kötet, Pécs.
  • RAPOPORT, Mario – MUSACCHIO, Andrés (2006): Una opción de hierro: el MERCOSUR o provincias de un imperio, REAL 2006, Wien.
  • REAL 2006, Realciones Europa – América Latina, Grupo de trabajo 1, Integración regional en las Américas – estado actual y problemas, Viena (manuscrito)
  • ROSAS, María Cristina (2001): La economía internacional en el siglo XXI., Mexico,UNAM.
  • Shigeru, Kochi (2007): La Economía Política de las Relaciones México-Japón en el contexto del TLCAN, Kobe University, in.: option=com_content&task=view&id=575&Itemid=226
  • SOROS, György (1998): La crisis del capitalismo global, Barcelona, Plaza y Janes.
  • TÓTH, József – GOLOBICS, Pál (2002): A nemzetközi regionális együttműködés egyes elméleti kérdései, 151-161. oldal. in.: ABONYINÉ, P.J. – BECSEI, J. – Kovács, Cs. (Szerk.) (2002): A magyar társadalomföldrajzi kutatás gondolatvilága, Ipszilon Kiadó és Pedagógiai Szolgáltató Kft., Szeged.

Cited Websites

Cita esta página

Molnár Gábor. (2014, noviembre 18). Introduction to Regional Processes of Latin America. Recuperado de
Molnár Gábor. "Introduction to Regional Processes of Latin America". gestiopolis. 18 noviembre 2014. Web. <>.
Molnár Gábor. "Introduction to Regional Processes of Latin America". gestiopolis. noviembre 18, 2014. Consultado el .
Molnár Gábor. Introduction to Regional Processes of Latin America [en línea]. <> [Citado el ].

Escrito por:

Imagen del encabezado cortesía de thejourney1972 en Flickr

Warning: Undefined variable $buffy in /home/gest/ on line 33