Bolivia is one step closer to becoming the sixth member of the Southern Common Market (Mercosur), following the Argentine Parliament approval of the country's admission into the bloc.
In response to the recent decision, Bolivian Ambassador to Mercosur Benjamin Blanco stated, “It makes us very happy that Argentina has always encouraged our participation and it is very important for us.” He went on to say, “We are naturally part of Mercosur, due to our shared borders and trade relations.”
Bolivia shares nearly 75 percent of its borders with Mercosur countries, which is a regional trade bloc, comprised of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela.
More than half of total Bolivian exports are destined to Mercosur economies.
If admitted, Mercosur's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would represent more than 85.2 percent of the regions total GDP.
Last Sunday, Senior Representative of Mercosur Ivan Ramalho defended Mercosur stating, “There has been praise and criticism for Mercosur, but we are certainly not paralyzed as it is the impression delivered by the media.” He told Merco Press.
A 2013 report by the Bolivian Ministry of Foreign Relations found that from, 2009-2012 intra-trade levels between Mercosur countries was 4.2 percent greater than the rate of world trade during that same period.
Brazil is the only remaining country to approve Bolivia’s admission into the regional trade bloc.