The Mercado Comun del Cono Sur (MERCOSUR) was established by the Treaty of Asuncion [30 I.L.M.1041] in March 1991. The final Protocol of Ouro Preto was signed in December 1994 and MERCOSUR went into effect on January 1, 1995. It is a customs union between Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Other South American countries have become associate members in MERCOSUR (Chile and Bolivia in 1996 and Peru in 2003) and there are negotiations proceeding with Mexico, Venezuela and Columbia for further expansion. The purpose of MERCOSUR is to create a common market with the elimination of trade barriers between the member countries. The Protocol of Ouro Preto established the administrative structure for MERCOSUR. The Protocol of Brasilia detailed the dispute settlement procedure and the Protocol of Olivos created the Permanent Appellate Tribunal.
It is important to note that the majority of the documentation for MERCOSUR is created in Spanish and Portuguese and has not been translated into English.
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