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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 October, 2004, 10:21 GMT 11:21 UK
South America blocs in trade deal
Argentina's Nestor Kirchner shakes hands with Venezuela's Hugo Chavez (right)
A deal would include all but one of the continent's major economies
South America's two major trade blocs have ironed out a deal which could open up trade across the continent.

The Andean Community of Nations (CAN) signed a trade deal with Mercosur in July, but countries on both sides found they still disagreed on key issues.

Extensive talks have now settled the outstanding differences, the two said.

Mercosur, which includes the massive Brazilian economy, covers the east of the continent, while CAN covers the north-west including Colombia and Peru.

MERCOSUR
Argentina
Brazil
Paraguay
Uruguay

Of the continent's major economies, only one remains outside of the two groupings.

Chile in the south-west, as a major world copper supplier, has its own trade deals with Europe, Mexico, the US and South Korea and is a member of neither grouping.

Nor are the much smaller economies of Guyana, French Guiana and Suriname on the Caribbean coast in the north.

Meanwhile, Mercosur's trade talks with the European Union are within weeks of a final deadline of 31 October after five years of tortuous negotiation.

ANDEAN COMMUNITY
Bolivia
Colombia
Ecuador
Peru
Venezuela

The South American group believes Europe is dragging its feet on market opening on both farming products and industrial goods.

Europe, on the other hand, is seeking its own concessions.

"We need major movement and flexibility," one EU official told Reuters. "If they have changed their minds, we are ready to talk, but it won't be easy."


SEE ALSO:
EU-Mercosur trade talks stalled
21 Jul 04  |  Americas
South America trade bloc expands
08 Jul 04  |  Americas
Latin America builds trade muscle
05 Apr 04  |  Business
Argentina energy crisis spreads
01 Apr 04  |  Business
South American unity pledge
19 Jun 03  |  Americas


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