In 2004, Mercosur signed a cooperation agreement with the Andean Community Trade Bloc (CAN) and issued a Memorandum of Understanding for future negotiations on the integration of all of South America.  The prospect of greater political integration within the organisation, advocated by the European Union and supported by some, remains uncertain.  Bolivia, which was also a member of the CAN and an associate member of the Mercosur process before the start of the UNASUR process, plays a crucial role in relations, says Marion Huermann, with Bolivia traditionally seen as an intermediary between andean countries and the rest of South America. Regional integration: a key role for Bolivia When Mauricio Macri was elected president in 2015, there was a glimmer of hope for Mercosur to finally open up. Macri has been at the forefront of reviving external negotiations, which were concluded with an agreement between Mercosur and the European Union after more than 20 years of stalled negotiations. This hope grew with the strong attitude of the Brazilian Minister of Finance, Paulo Guedes, under President Bolsonaro. However, Argentina`s decision, led by President Fernandez, to withdraw from negotiations with Mercosur – even if it returned later – raised a question mark over how Mercosur will continue to operate. Recent political instability in Brazil has further dampened expectations. The new agreement provides favourable conditions for the export of hybrid and electric cars, buses and trucks, starting with a quota of 10,000 vehicles and increasing by 3,000 per year over the next ten years, trade agents said. Mercosur was finally created in 1991 by the Treaty of Asuncion on the basis of the Buenos Aires Act, the Treaty of Asuncion set rules and conditions for the creation of a free trade area among its four signatories. Similarly, it was decided that all common market construction measures should be completed by 31 December 1994 with the amendment of the Treaty of Ouro Preto.  In 2001, the Mercosur flag was raised for the first time at Mercosur`s headquarters in Montevideo. A constructive outcome to this solution – although unlikely given the Argentine government`s anti-trade stance – would be to transform Mercosur into a free trade agreement rather than a customs union.
A free trade agreement can maintain the current zero tariff for domestic trade, while providing members with flexibility in negotiating their own trade agreements with other countries. The United States should follow this path by actively pursuing a free trade agreement with Brazil, which would have the added benefit of diversifying its supply chains. I hope that there will be a more open and flexible bloc that will give the citizens of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay hope for a more prosperous future. In 2016, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, then Michel Temer, and Argentine President Macri, began pushing to negotiate a free trade agreement between Mercosur and the European Union and other Latin American nations.  In June 2019, the free trade agreement between the European Union and Mercosur was confirmed.  The bilateral trade agreement opens up 100% of EU trade and 90% of Mercosur`s trade.  However, the agreement has yet to be ratified.