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Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Suriname are associate members. They benefit from tariff reductions when they enter trade with full members, but do not enjoy full voting rights or free access to their markets. Bolivia was invited to become a full member in 2012, but its membership is still subject to approval by the Brazilian Congress and is not expected to be completed in the near future. The European Union and the South American bloc of Mercosur have approved the draft free trade agreement, the two sides confirmed on Friday, ending nearly 20 years of negotiations. EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said earlier this month that her top priority was to seal a trade deal with Mercosur. After two decades of negotiations, the new free trade agreement has become a reality. As far as tariff reduction is concerned, it could be the EU`s most lucrative trade agreement to date, with savings likely to be four times greater than in the case of the agreements with Canada and Japan. Venezuela joined the four founding countries of Mercosur in 2012 as a full member, but was suspended at the end of 2016. Today, these four have a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of about $3.4 trillion, making it one of the largest economic blocs in the world [PDF].

In contrast, Latin America`s second-largest trade group, the Pacific Alliance, which includes Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, has a combined GDP of about $2 trillion. The United States is a party to many free trade agreements (SAAs) around the world. In previous negotiations, the United States had insisted that a single comprehensive agreement be concluded to remove trade barriers to goods while strengthening intellectual property protection. Specific intellectual property protection measures could include copyright protection measures in the style of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, similar to the free trade agreement between the United States and Australia. Additional protection would likely have limited the import or cross-importation of drugs, similar to the proposed agreement between the United States and Canada. Brazil has adopted a three-tier approach, which has put in place a series of bilateral agreements to reduce specific tariffs on products, a hemispheric pact on rules of origin and a dispute settlement procedure has been proposed by Brazil to omit the more controversial issues of the free trade agreement and leave them to the WTO. In this initiative, the European Union implemented a free trade agreement with Canada and concluded agreements with Japan and Mexico, and now, after 39 round tables, the EU has also reached a provisional agreement with Mercosur, a group consisting of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. .

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