Given the many (often unpredictable and usually sudden) changes to Mercosur regulations, including its Common External Tariff (or Arancel Externo Común), we tend to abstain from publishing any news here.

However, given the very poor coverage of UK media on these matters (we recommend The Economist and the FT as the most reliable resources), and given the changes announced today, here are just a few points to help UK exporters:

– Mercosur is the trading bloc in the Southern cone of South America, comprising Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay

– As a trading bloc, Mercosur has an external common tariff for all goods that arrive from outside the bloc

– The World Trade Organisation allows this tariff to be of a maximum of 35%

– In December 2011, the Mercosur members passed a law allowing its members to select up to 200 capital goods, textile and chemical products that could carry the maximum 35% tariff

– Brazil announced yesterday (28th May 2012) a list of the 100 products that it will apply the maximum tariff to

– This measure could be in place until 2014

– As yet (5pm UK time 29th May), Uruguay and Paraguay have not released any official statements regarding this increase

– Argentina is expected to propose to increase the external common tariff to all non-Mercosur products at the Mercosur summit on 28th June 2012

This is the last measure in a long line of protectionist moves from Argentina and Brazil, well-documented in our blog, as well as in the FT and The Economist recently. If you are exporting to these four countries or thinking of doing so, please contact us. If you are currently exporting and wonder how these measures will impact on your business, contact your Latin American partner (distributor, franchisee, agent, etc) or your shipping company/freight forwarder.

Please follow our tweets @UKLatinAmerica to keep up to date with news from Latin America, including Mercosur, of relevance to exporters, particularly those from the UK.

For further analysis and information on Mercosur, check out or blog post for Strong and Herd here “Mercosur: the good, the bad and the ugly”

I would be grateful for your comments – has this been useful to you?


Gabriela Castro-Fontoura

Director, Sunny Sky Solutions, 29 May 2012