11.8.2020 : 12:06 : +0200

General Information | Point of Contact | PoA initiatives & activites | Instruments & documents | Members


Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR)


Montevideo, Uruguay

Web site

Short description

MERCOSUR is an economic and political agreement aimed at promoting free trade and the fluid movement of goods, people, and currency among its members.


Since MERCOSUR focuses primarily on trade agreements, it does not have a substantive budget; however, member states approved the creation of the Fund for Structural Convergence. In force for the 2006–15 period, this fund amounts to USD 100 million per year. Brazil contributes 70 per cent, Argentina 27 per cent, Uruguay 2 per cent, and Paraguay 1 per cent. The EU also provides MERCOSUR with funding, primarily to support regional integration.

MERCOSUR was founded in 1991 by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Venezuela requested a full membership in 2006 and was awaiting the approval of Paraguay. As Paraguay has been suspended since 29 June 2012, Venezuela will become a full member as of 31 July 2012. Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru are associate members; i.e. they can join freetrade agreements and participate actively in some areas of work, but remain outside the bloc’s customs union. Mexico is an observer.


4 members (all UN member states)

  • Current members*: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay (Bold: founding member, Grey: suspended member)
  • Former members: None
  • Membership pending: Venezuela

Overlapping memberships with other ROs

MERCOSUR members represent:

  • 4 of 35 OAS members
  • 4 of 12 UNASUR members

* Information accurate as of 16 Juli 2012

PoA Point of Contact

  • Changes every six months
  • National PoA POC of the country hosting the MERCOSUR Presidency

PoA-related activities

MERCOSUR addresses small arms and security matters at the inter-governmental level only. In 1998 it issued the Southern Cone Presidential Declaration on Combating the Illicit Manufacture and Trafficking in Firearms, which led to the development of the MERCOSUR Joint Register Mechanism later that year. These marked the first sub-regional instruments to address small arms in the Americas. As part of the mechanism’s implementation, members developed the Security Information Exchange System, which is a registry to share information regarding the purchase, sale, import, and export of firearms, and which links the databases of MERCOSUR security bodies. In 2001 MERCOSUR and its associated members established the Working Group on Firearms, whose objectives are to increase controls on private security agencies; introduce legislation on stockpile controls at the national and regional levels; raise awareness of and public support for small arms issues; and establish convergent regional security policies to facilitate information sharing and cooperation. An MoU on the manufacture and illicit trafficking of firearms was adopted in 2004 to tackle the problem of illicit cross-border trafficking and help promote cooperation among national law enforcement authorities. MERCOSUR also conducts technical meetings between police and security forces on the problem of illicit trafficking in firearms to exchange information and share experiences.

PoA-related programmes and initiatives

PoA-relevant cooperation with other ROs

In 2001 CAN, MERCOSUR, Guyana, and Suriname established the South American Cooperation and Peace Zone. MERCOSUR also meets periodically with the OAS.

Legally binding regional instruments

  • CMC Decision No. 7/98: Joint Register Mechanism of Consumers and Sellers of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials for MERCOSUR (1998)
  • CMC Decision No. 15/04: Memorandum of Understanding for Information Exchange on the Manufacture and the Illicit Traffic of Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials (2004)

Other official documents of interest

  • Southern Cone Presidential Declaration on Combating the Illicit Manufacture and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition and Related Materials (1998)


This profile is also available in other languages:


Share this content
Share this content: