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  Félix Peña

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 September de 2003

Sociedad civil, transparencia y legitimidad en los procesos de integración y en las negociaciones comerciales: Un enfoque sobre la experiencia del Mercosur y algunas lecciones para las negociaciones con la Unión Europea

Paper prepared for the Chaire Mercosur –Sciences Po- Working Group on EU-Mercosur Negotiations Annual Seminar, September 2003

Objectives, analysis perspectives and expected results

How civil society participates in the definition of common national interests and in the production of new rules of the game, is one of the more relevant dimension of the regional-building process developed through Mercosur. We expect to make some contributions to the understanding of this aspect of the economic integration process in South America.

The issues will be approached from the perspective of the effectiveness, efficacy, credibility, social sustenance and legitimacy of the rules produced by Mercosur’s institutions.

Elements for the analysis of the reach and quality of the national interests´ articulation mechanisms will be provided, taking into consideration the different stages in the decision making process.

The dialogue and participation channels opened by the governments to civil society and its representative institutions will be included. Both national and multinational or common experiences will be taken into consideration, particularly the Economic and Social Consultative Forum and the Joint Parliamentary Commission.

The transparency degree in Mercosur´s decision making process and of its rules will also be analyzed. The quality and quantity of information available in the Internet will be considered in the perspective of the possibility it gives civil society in the timely pursuit of the negotiations as well as of the agreements reached in them.

As a result of the analysis of civil society’s participation and of its capacity to influence in the making and enforcement of rules, we pretend to give some recommendations towards the future construction of Mercosur.

Furthermore, we will take into account the requirements that come out of the current European Union-Mercosur negotiations, regardless the fact that they might also be valid for the hemispheric trade negotiations (FTAA) or, eventually, with the United States in the 1991 “4+1” agreement.

We will also take into account those requirements that come out of the need to prepare their respective societies to compete -particularly its companies and workers- in the economic spaces broadened by free trade. In other words, we’ll include the issue of civil society’s preparation for post-negotiation possible scenarios.

We will base our analysis on what we were able to observe (1) –or others experts have written on this topic (2) - on Mercosur´s twelve year-old experience as well as of the bilateral Argentina-Brazil agreement that preceded it (3).

We will try to present our points of view and make our recommendations as straight forward as possible (4). We pretend to reach an interested and well informed public, not necessarily specialists in economic integration and free trade technicalities. It intends to be “action oriented” and not “scholar oriented”.

Civil society’s participation from three points of view

There are at least three different angles from which to approach the issue of civil society’s participation in an integration process such as Mercosur.

The first is its participation in the design of integration strategies and public policies to be adopted by the partners, as well as in the creation and enforcement of the rules destined to regulate the construction of the integrated economic space, and the economic competition among firms producing goods producer and providing services.

The second angle is the participation of civil society in the development of multinational social interaction networks, which may be a result of the governmental strategies and public policies and rules. They manifest especially in business and social behaviors, in associative efforts in all levels (even in the cultural and academic) and in the trade, investments and human flows through the frontiers. In other words, it will be considering the role of civil society as a protagonist of interdependence among the member countries in the economic, cultural, political and social levels.

The third angle is the surge of a Mercosur´s civil society. That is, a common citizenship –even a common identity in an embryonic stage- that expresses itself in demands and expectations of participation from non governmental actors in the political instances (created or to be created) in a supranational level. It would be similar, in a regional level, to the growing demands and expectations with regards to the emergence of a civil society in the “global village”, which is currently manifesting through social movements that surge along the institutional dimension of globalization, especially with regards to its governance and to the World Trade Organization .

Our analysis, in this opportunity, will be limited to the first of the possible angles, regardless of recognizing the importance and natural complementariness of the remaining two angles. The broadness of the issues if the three angles were to be boarded simultaneously forces us to privilege the one we think most significantly conditions the possible progress of the others.

We understand that a real participation of civil society in the making of economic integration strategies and public policies, as well as in the creation and application of the rules, may produce significant effects in the development of regional social networks -and hemispheric or interregional in the cases of the FTAA, the “4+1” with the United States and the agreement with the European Union -as well as with regards to the progress towards the creation of an authentic Mercosur civil society. It will even be difficult to imagine relatively balanced progresses in the development of such networks –particularly when they involve investment decisions- if are not sustained on effective rules that reflect the interests of each civil society.

What must we understand by civil society participation with regards to our analysis? Basically we are relating to the fact that the men and women of each of the Mercosur´s national societies, in their different roles –either as citizens, tax payers, consumers, workers, businessmen, among others-, either directly or through their political representatives –specially Congress- or through their NGO´s, may influence in the definition of economic integration strategies, in the making of their respective governments´ or common public policies and in the creation and application of the rules, that in some way affects their values and interests.

This approach limits civil society’s participation only to the level of their influence on strategies, public policies and rules. The emphasis is particularly pointed to the possibilities that non governmental actors may influence –directly or indirectly- in the definition of Mercosur’s strategic direction and decision making process.

What are the levels in which civil society’s participation can be observed in the making of strategies, public policies and rules of an economic integration process such as Mercosur?

It is important to distinguish between the national level of each of the member countries and the multinational or common level (6). The first level differs, and sometimes significantly, in each country. It does not necessarily respond to common parameters. Nevertheless, in the Mercosur case, at least in its founding moments, the respective National Sections of the Common Market Group (CMG) were conceived as the main decision making focal point at the national level, having even ruled its composition and functioning. That was reflected in the Asunción Treaty, in the Ouro Preto Protocol and even in the Brasilia Protocol. The second level is a result of what the members decide together with respect to how the civil society may express itself and be effectively listened in the common bodies that compose the institutional and rule making mechanism of the integration process.

Civil society participation in three moments of Mercosur’s construction.

In the perspective chosen for our analysis, three periods can be distinguished in the history of Mercosur: the founding period (1986-1991); the development of the integration process since the end of the transition period to the beginning of its most serious crisis (1991-1999), and the attempts to renovate the political impulse and the eventual strengthening of Mercosur (2000-2003).

The first one is the founding period. There are actually two foundational moments. The one in 1986, when the Argentina-Brazil Integration and Cooperation Program (PICAB) was launched, and in 1990, when the negotiations that would end up with the signing and legislative approval of the Asunción Treaty were launched in the month of June.

These were times of political impulse and strategic definitions, as well of definition of the basic rules of the game. The main initiatives came in both cases from Argentina and in lesser extent from Brazil. Uruguay and Paraguay participated only since the 1990 process, except Uruguay’s political presence in the PICAB period, particularly as a consequence of the active role played by President Julio Sanguinetti and the Foreign Minister Enrique Iglesias, and in the trade level through its bilateral agreements with Argentina (CAUCE) and Brazil (PEC).

These were initiatives originated at the highest political level, with active participation of high level technical officials from each government. There are no evidences of an active participation from civil society –including businessmen- in thee making and launching of both initiatives, at least in an institutionalized manner.

Nevertheless, there was an enthusiastic business presence and influence in the PICAB´s negotiations -specially on the industrial sectors included in the respective Protocols- as well as in the negotiations of the trade liberalization program included in the 1990 Economic Complementation Agreement (ACE) Nº 14, within LAIA’s framework. This program was reflected later in the Asunción Treaty.

One can also observe business presence –through its respective representative institutions- in the making of the exception lists established in articles 6 and 7 of Asunción Treaty´s Annex I, and particularly, in those that reflect the “punctual rhythm differences” that negotiated Paraguay and Uruguay according to what the Asunción Treaty determined in its article 6.

In all of these cases, the participation channels were mainly evident at the national level of each country, regardless of the participation of business representatives in both bilateral and multilateral negotiating meetings. In most cases, the trade preference negotiations were held at LAIA´s headquarters in Montevideo. Those who represented the private sector –especially businessmen- had a rich experience in the subject either as a result of their participation in the LAFTA years or at more recent LAIA’s agreements, especially the PICAB, the PEC and the CAUCE in the case of the Uruguayan businessmen.

It is not possible to observe any significant impact with regards to new modalities of governmental consultations to civil society’s representatives, or with regards to the business or labor sectors´ organization to canalize their expectations or the defense of their interests with their respective governments. Neither is it possible to observe any kind of civil society organization at the multinational level, to influence in the development of governmental strategies nor to influence in the negotiations of agreements and tariff reduction programs. Nevertheless, after numerous business and labor union meetings during the eighties (7), there are some steps done towards the non governmental actor’s organizations at the multilateral scale. Some of these first expressions of organizations at the multinational level can be observed with the creation of the Southern Cone Labor Union Centrals Coordination (CCSS) in 1986 and the Mercosur Industrial Council –an initiative launched by governmental negotiators- in 1991.

Both in the launching of PICAB as well as in the foundational moment of Mercosur, wide press coverage can be observed. The media begins to develop a significant activity in Mercosur´s public opinion making. The main newspapers of the four countries –including the specialized press- shows that the public opinion was informed, from the beginning of the political and economic reach of the strategic initiatives launched by the governments, as well as of the evolution -in the Mercosur period- of the negotiations that ended in the signing of the ACE 14 and of the Asunción Treaty. It can even be said that the public opinion’s favorable attitude with regards to Mercosur in the four member countries could explain the tendency towards a “mediática” or “special effects” diplomacy, as it will be observed later, particularly before and during the biannual summits. The need to produce “successful summits” can help explaining why the Mercosur normative creation has eventually slipped towards rules that will not penetrate into reality.

Nevertheless, the information available at the press, including the expert analysis, did not allow to access in time to the draft versions that were being negotiated or, even more, the trade liberalization programs and their exception lists. It is known that the hard core of trade preferences negotiations throughout Latin American integration history has been the exception lists and, therefore, they were also the main target of institutional business actions. Those negotiations have generally been done in a “closed circuit” manner, with a very low level of transparency to the general public.

Neither at the media nor at the respective parliamentary debates is it possible to observe significant civil society resistance to the government strategies, nor to the achieved agreements. One hypothesis can be that it was this way because the critical issues of the national agenda in 1991, was particularly full of immediate effect issues, specially in Argentina and Brazil –i.e. inflation and, sometimes, hyperinflation- and that the Mercosur agreements would have only mid-term effects (at the end of the transition period). It can be added that the LAFTA-LAIA experience showed –especially to businessmen- that the signed agreements could later be modified or delayed. This way, from the beginning there was a certain “aladificación” culture of Mercosur that began to show some effects in some social actors´ behaviors. One factor that may have contributed to this was that the PICAB agreements began to lose effectiveness towards 1987 and 1988 as a result of the economic difficulties that Argentina and Brazil were having. The signing of the 1988 bilateral integration agreement did not contribute to change the non governmental actors´ doubts about how serious were the governments on economic integration. It had very low feedback.

The second moment is the one that starts at the beginning of the transition period in 1991 and goes through the Mercosur crisis that starts in full scale in 1998 but particularly after the devaluation of the Real. This is the period in which Mercosur goes from an abstract idea of future effects, and gradually begins to become a reality with immediate effects in the relative competitiveness of producers and businesses in the different countries.

The reciprocal opening of trade among the members is achieved in this period –with limited but significant exceptions-, the Common External Tariff is approved –with exceptions and with a flexible application de facto-, and a broad number of rules is created –with a high percentage of them not incorporated in the members´ domestic legal systems (8) -. Sector integration was intended with the approval of Decision CMC Nº 3/91, but it did not find positive response from businessmen with the exception of the steel industry. The governments did not continue to impulse this dimension of the construction of Mercosur. However the sector focus did in fact prevailed in the automobile industry within the PICAB framework and, until the present, it continued to have their specific rules.

It is a stage in which significant conceptual differences and trade conflicts occur among the partners –sometimes with recurrent sectors and products-. In part, such differences and conflicts are the consequences of economic asymmetries, especially between Argentina and Brazil.

The role of non governmental actors is intense at the national level. The way in which it is canalized as well as the institutionalization degree varies en each country. Perhaps the case of the Mercosur Commission in Uruguay is the most systematic of the organizations (9). At least in theory, such canalization should have been done at the respective National Sections, both at the Common Market Group as well at the Trade Commission through their respective work subgroups, specialized meetings and technical committees. The practical experience has been different in each country –in intensities and non governmental actors´ participation modalities. Those differences have been in part a result of the characteristics of the respective governmental organizations and of the social sectors involved.

The biggest intensity, nevertheless, is manifested through direct actions in which organized sectors –especially businessmen and sometimes the labor unions (10)- intervene to defend their concrete interests. The actions are canalized though the government officials involved in the preparation of the national positions, particularly before the negotiations reach the Mercosur level. Many times it had been the congressmen who have participated on behalf of the respective sectors.

Generally there is a more intense participation near the Common Market Council meetings and the Presidents´ summits, especially when the agendas include issues of special interest to the business sectors –i.e. the 1994 Ouro Preto and 1996 Fortaleza Summits. Such participation is also intense at the technical meetings, particularly at the national level during the preparatory phase.

But it is in occasion of the different and recurrent trade conflicts that the participation of non governmental actors –especially businessmen- has been more significant, either through the main industrial organizations or through the respective sector associations. Examples of this can be observed in the automobile, textile, poultry, sugar and footwear sectors. With the creation of the Trade Commission, the interested sectors begin to present their claims though the respective national instances and according to the Ouro Preto Protocol procedures. Later this claiming action was taken –in some case- to the Brasilia Protocol arbitration mechanism, particularly after the first demand made by Argentina to Brazil, as a result business pressure.

During the critical period that started in 1999, after the devaluation of the Real, in many cases businessmen, labor unions and congressmen canalized their demands directly on their governments. It is perhaps the moment in which more clearly a growing questioning on the efficacy and even on the legitimacy of the integration process starts to be noticed, at least in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

At the common or multinational level, the Economic and Social Consultative Forum created by the Ouro Preto Protocol (11) and the Joint Parliamentary Commission (12) starts to function in this period. Its action does not show a significant influence in the rule making process or in the administration of trade conflicts. Nevertheless, it has a positive effect in the reciprocal knowledge of the Forum representatives –as well as the Joint Parliamentary Commission members- and, above all, it evidences the great existent gap at the institutionalized civil society participation in Mercosur’s decision making process.

During this period the press coverage on Mercosur matters is relatively broad. Its intensity grows during the biannual summits and with the different trade conflicts that have shaken the Mercosur –i.e. the 1995 automobile crisis, or the 1998-1999 perception of unilateral trade restrictions and the negative expectations –overreacted most of the times- produced by the devaluation of the Real. The national press acted in most cases, as an echo to social and special interests, as it was possible to observe in the conceptual differences and trade conflicts in the automobile, sugar, textile, poultry, paper and footwear sector, among others. There was even a weekly newspaper specialized in Mercosur affairs –Gazeta Mercantil Latinoamericana-.

Nevertheless, it is a period in which there is a low level of transparency in the decision making process, both at the national and the common levels. The technical information and the draft project under negotiation have hardly been known outside the circle of government actors involved in the respective negotiations and, eventually to a very restrictive circle of non governmental actors. The frequent complaint (13) has been that the respective information was known “ex post”, that is, after the formalization of the decisions. The insufficient timely information has been considered one of the factors that have conditioned the degree of the civil society participation in Mercosur affairs, including the organized social sectors.

It is a period in which the low transparency has been experienced by those who tried to be kept informed on the ongoing negotiations from outside the directly involved circles through the Mercosur Administrative Secretariat’s webpage ( As it will be analyzed ahead, such lack of transparency includes the difficulty to obtain the information included in the annexes of the Mercosur bodies´ meeting acts, as well as the determination on which formally approved rules have effectively been incorporated to the respective domestic legal systems, according to article 40 of the Ouro Preto Protocol. Although the webpage has been improved recently, it is not yet possible to obtain the information needed to make an intelligent following of the decision making process (last visited on May 27, 2003). Even the respective governments´ web pages do not have the kind of information coverage that does have, for example, the webpage of the Ministry of Foreign Relations of Chile ( In our opinion, the same thing happens at he hemispheric level with the information available at the FTAA webpage (, that although it has incorporated the draft agreement, it does not have the information needed to become a real work tool for non governmental non expert but interested players, as the European Union ( and the World Trade Organization ( webpage’s do have.

Finally, the third moment is the one that begins after the deep 1999 crisis. It is expressed since 2000 with the different government initiatives to "relaunch" and "refound" Mercosur.

A great existential debate is originated about Mercosur, manifested with different intensity in the members. Precedents of this existential debate can nevertheless be found during the common external tariff negotiations that ended in Ouro Preto in 1994.

It is a debate in which there are petitions from the social sectors in order to “suspend” for a while Mercosur (i.e. the petition formulated by the UIA in Argentina); or it is questioned whether it is better to insist in the customs union or on the contrary it is necessary to concentrate in perfecting the free trade area –proposal made by different political and governmental instances and also by social and academic sectors in all four member countries); or the idea of diluting Mercosur´s trade components, including them in a broader hemispheric free trade area or eventually, in bilateral agreements with the United States (proposal observed during different moments, including very recent ones, in all four countries).

It has been a debate with large press repercussion and with the participation of many of political and social actors including the academic world. It can be said that in this periods the debate on construction strategies that did not exist during Mercosur´s foundational period, is finally achieved

It is possible to observe furthermore, that the existential debate on Mercosur appears closer linked to the domestic debate on each of the member countries on the strategy to follow in the different international trade negotiation fronts. This fact has been stimulated by the simultaneity of the trade negotiations at the WTO, the FTAA –especially with the United States- and with the European Union.

At this stage, the participation of the civil society in the Mercosur existential debate achieved greater intensity. It is mainly about economic integration within Mercosur and different options concerning international trade negotiations. But above all, new organizational modalities can be observed at the social sectors as well as in the interaction between governments and social sectors. Many times this responds to requirements set by Mercosur external negotiations, especially within the FTAA. Sometimes they are referred to a broader economic globalization, such as the case of the Porto Alegre Social Forum. Others have a regional reach, either hemispheric such as the Forum of the Americas or interregional, like the different forum created in the transatlantic axis of the Mercosur-EU interregional association, in which the Business Forum (MEBF) created in 1999 stands out. Others are at the national level, such as the Business Coalition in Brazil, and their objective is to facilitate the articulation of the business interests in the respective international trade negotiations. Finally, there are some organizations that only have as objective to facilitate the follow up of international trade negotiations at least from a technical point of view.

The multiplicity of strategic and political debate meetings organized by academic and business institutions and by the parliaments –especially in Brazil- points out a greater maturity in the consciousness of the active participation of civil society and, furthermore, the opening of the governments to the opinion of non governmental actors.

A new political situation arouse in May 2003. There is now a coincidence among the President of Argentina’s views and the strategy proposed by the President of Brazil with respect both to Mercosur and to the international trade negotiations. It has to be seen if it translates in the opening of a fourth period in the construction of Mercosur

A possible effect of this new situation –in our opinion both probable and desirable- will be to displace the Mercosur existential debate to a level of a methodological debate. Most probably the focus will be about how to advance in the construction of a common economic space compatible with the expected results from the different trade negotiations in which the members participate.

In such methodological debate, because of the reasons that we will explain ahead, the way of assuring an effective civil society participation in the creation and application of rules, should have a high priority.

Relevance of civil society participation in Mercosur.

In our opinion, the participation of civil society in the process of designing and implementing Mercosur’s economic integration strategies, as well as public policies and rules of the game, is important for at least two main reasons. They are the effectiveness of the rules and its consequent degree of efficacy and credibility, and the social legitimacy of the integration process.

In the case of Mercosur both reasons are related with the voluntary and permanent character of the integration process.

Mercosur belongs to a category of international processes that arises, particularly since the middle of the past century with the Schuman Plan launching that originated the European integration.

We are talking about voluntary association among sovereign nations that do dot necessarily pretend to disappear as such. They commit themselves to work together in a permanent way in order to integrate their economies –using for their own techniques that essentially correspond to what GATT-1994 Article XXIV defines as free trade zones or custom unions- establishing economic preferences –limited to goods or eventually extensible to services and other production factors, collective disciplines and institutional mechanisms that permit the creation and enforcement of common rules. Generally these processes acquire a multidimensional character that exceeds the exclusive trade and economic level when they occur among neighbor countries.

The EU, the NAFTA, the Andean Community, the Central American Common Market and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), among others, belong to this category besides Mercosur. We may also include within this category regional free trade agreements such as the FTAA and, particularly, due to its broad objectives, the interregional association between the EU and Mercosur.

Due to the voluntary character and to the call for permanence of the respective process, a distinctive element is the existence of a win-win perception among the members that explains the founding moment. The reciprocity of interests that is achieved is reflected in a constitutive pact from which a new legal system arises, exclusive for the member states. In the perspective of the global compromises assumed by the members under the WTO, the trade discrimination with respect to third parties is done according to article XXIV of GATT 1994 or articles V and V bis of GATS.

This kind of processes normally develops among countries with asymmetries in their relative power and with different economic dimensions. That is why it is relevant for them to be predominantly oriented by freely consented common rules (rule oriented process). This neutralizes the negative effects to the relative weaker and smaller partners if the reciprocal relations were predominantly determined by power factors (power oriented process). This observation is valid both for the intra-Mercosur relations, as well as to the hemispheric Mercosur-USA relations, or the interregional Mercosur-UE relations.

This is why institutions and common rules are important in order to keep through time the mutually profitable scenario that sustains the voluntary associative link. The goal of such institutions and rules is to preserve in a dynamic way the reciprocity of interests among partners. No country participates in these kinds of processes if they consider that it is not convenient for them. No one stays if they understand that it is losing more belonging than not. There are historical experiences in this sense, such as the decision of Great Britain not to enter into the European Coal and Steel Community, nor to enter the EEC until years after it was created. Or such as the Chilean decision to withdraw the Andean Group or not to enter Mercosur at its founding moment, nor later on become a full member. Isn’t there a debate also in the Mercosur countries regarding the convenience of a hemispheric trade or concerning its modalities and timing? In other words: no country is forced to negotiate or to participate in this kind of consensual associations among sovereign nations.

These processes, because of their voluntary character and their call of permanence, are sustainable in the long term as the advantages of belonging are perceived by the respective citizenships. It is the social legitimacy what at the end explains the origin of the association and that sustains it through the years.

It is in this perspective that civil society participation in the definition of the strategies public policies and common rules making acquires its full relevance. The citizens must feel identified with belonging to a regional space created by the association of States. The appraisal of a certain regional identity gives vitality to the respective processes.

This fact has been observed in the countries that have gradually been incorporated to what today is the European Union. That is why in the recent enlargement with Central European countries, the instruments used by the EU to facilitate the candidates´ preparation, such as the Phare Program, have especially emphasized on the development of actions destined to explain to the civil societies the implications for them of becoming full members or the European integration process. Even the final decision of participating has been submitted to public consultations to the respective citizenships. The social legitimacy has then been a central concern in the enlargement process that ends in 2004.

In the case of one of Mercosur countries –Brazil- a plebiscite has taken place in order to consult the public opinion with regards to their acceptance to the FTAA. Leaving aside the discussion with regards to the methodology applied in the consultation, it reflects the political importance that public opinion is given, not only in the integration process among neighboring nations, but even with regard to negotiations of other free trade agreements.

Mechanisms for interests articulation, transparency and civil society participation in Mercosur

The effectiveness of a legal norm in international relations is generally considered by its capacity to penetrate into reality (14). This is reflected in the fact that it is considered and respected by international protagonists –the ones destined by the rules-, in their behaviors and reciprocal relations. For that it must be supposed that the norm has formal validity. In other words, that it meets the necessary requirements to be recognized as such.

It may happen, though, that a norm may have a formal entering into force as an valid agreement among the members of the association of States, but that it had not been fully incorporated in the domestic legal systems of each country –by the means the own norm foresees or the one that results from the respective national legal hierarchy-. In this case, the norm may have international force among the member States, but will not have it within the domestic legal system of the respective countries.

The efficacy of a rule depends, in a great manner, on its effectiveness. That is, that the pursuit results are indeed achieved. It is difficult for non-effective rules to have efficacy. The issue of the efficacy of a rule may condition the process´ general efficacy if there is a chain effect of ineffective rules. In this case, the balance of interest behind any rule –and even the whole set of norms adopted by the members- may be affected in its efficacy.

The problem of the effectiveness and efficacy of the agreed rules, acquires a particular relevance when an integration process as Mercosur is oriented to stimulate investments and productive transformation in each of the members and in the block as whole. Such objectives require a reasonable degree of predictability with regards to the rules that will influence particularly the open market access for goods and, eventually, for services and government procurement as well. If the rules are not effective, that is, they do not penetrate into reality, the process loses the investors´ creditability on the possibility to access a market of 200 million consumers as it was promised when the Asunción Treaty was signed.

If this is the case, the main damages would come to the relatively smaller countries, such as Paraguay and Uruguay. It would affect their ability to attract productive investments on behalf of a broader market, even if the other investment conditions were to be favorable. This way, the expected results by their participation in the integration process would not be obtained with the consequent efficacy, and eventually social legitimacy loss. In the case of Mercosur, this is yet more important because the expectation of unrestrictive access to a broader market and its effect on productive investments, was the main argument why Argentina and Brazil refused to recognize a special treatment to Paraguay and Uruguay at the founding moment, except the one given on article 6 (punctual rhythm differences in the Trade Liberalization Program).

Furthermore, the effectiveness and efficacy of the rules conditions its credibility and social legitimacy.

Credibility should be understood as the possibility that the social actors to whom the rules are destined may perceive them as a relevant factor in determining decisions that influence in their behaviors. This is the case of businesses and investors.

Social legitimacy is understood as the recognition by society and, particularly its most affected social actors, that the rules are common to all the members and that they should be respected because of mutual convenience. In other words, that they are rules that guarantee that benefits will be obtain by all the members, regardless of the relative power or economic dimension, and that therefore allow to counterweight the eventual costs produced by the unrestrictive opening of their markets to relatively more developed countries. In Argentina and Brazil this issue is present at the debates on the convenience and opportunity of trade opening agreements with more industrialized countries such as the USA or the EU countries.

The credibility and social legitimacy issue grows in political and economic relative importance, as the number of rules affected by the lack of effectiveness and efficacy “virus” gets bigger in relation to the overall set of rules that regulates a voluntary economic integration process. If the spectrum is very broad, it is very likely that it is reflecting serious deficiency in the partner political willingness to carry out what they agreed. Citizens, businesses and investors usually perceive this immediately, especially if there is a collective memory of past tendencies towards a “fiction-integration”. It is even possible that it is also showing some profound disequilibrium in the reciprocity of national interests that support the consensual association. This could be the current case of Mercosur.

Another characteristic of this voluntary and permanent association phenomenon, besides having common rules, is that they have institutional mechanisms whose objectives are to impulse the development of the integration process through time, to formulate decisions that are materialized in common rules, and to administrate and settle conceptual or interest conflicts among the members. There is not a unique institutional model, nor are there international rules that determine parameters on their modalities and reaches. There is a very broad set of alternatives. The principle of freedom of organization prevails.

There are three basic functions that are expected to be fulfilled by the institutions of this voluntary and permanent association among sovereign nations. All three are related to the need to preserve, through time, the reciprocity of national interests in a win-win condition, as well as to translate it into rules that penetrate into reality in an effective, credible and legitimate manner.

The first function is to canalize the integration process´ political impulse, particularly when it foresees an incremental development in different stages implicitly or explicitly contemplated in the constitutive agreement, as have been the cases of the Rome and Asunción treaties. The second is to allow the creation and implementation of different types of decisions, expressed in complementary legal norms derived from the constitutive pact. The third function is to facilitate the administration of the conflicts that arise among the members and to solve them when they are set as actionable controversies.

Such functions are fulfilled by common organs of the association of States. They can be integrated by government representatives that act in such character. They are normally distinguished according to the level of governmental representation, in political –i.e. ministerial- and technical organs. Usually they have attributions to adopt different kind of decisions that, generally originate legally binding rules of the game.

There can also be organs integrated by technical independent officials that are designated collectively by the member States. This type of common institution usually has technical and executive functions and can be collegiate –as it is the European Commission- or unipersonal –such as the Mercosur Technical Secretariat-. Their attributions can also vary according to the different cases, but are generally committed to preserve a common vision of the integration process, as well as to assure the technical quality of the rules that come out of the decision organs composed by government representatives. One relevant function may also be to protect the interests of the members´ with lesser relative power and economic dimension.

With respect to the decisions adopted by the political or even the technical organs, they can be approved by consensus or by any majority system. They are expressed through unilateral legal norms of the association, or as proposal of multilateral international rules that are later submitted to the members –i.e. the Asunción Treaty complementary protocols. Their legal effects can also vary in a very broad set of options and can either be direct or indirect in relation to the domestic legal systems of each member. Some would only be programmatic or formulate recommendations or regulate internal tasks to be fulfilled in the future. Others can be strictly institutional such as the creation of new institutions at different levels.

The task of settlement of disputes can be in charge of an arbitral jurisdiction –permanent or ad hoc- or of a judicial one.

In the framework of an association’s organs, the articulation of national interests and its expression in decisions with different types of legal effects, recognize at least three phases.

The first phase is what we could be named ascending. It usually is the less studied one. It is the phase in which each country determines its own domestic decision with regard to what they want or need to obtain as a collective decision. It is supposedly made based on a diagnostic on what the national interests are and what are the possibilities of obtaining consensus with the partners on it. It is then a phase that is fulfilled in the national segments of the decision making process (15). Each country organizes itself in the most convenient way and according to their constitutional and administrative framework. But, as it was said before, within Mercosur, both the Asunción Treaty as well as the Ouro Preto Protocol established what sectors of each national administration composes the main decision making organs and establishes the respective Foreign Relations Ministries as the national coordinators.

The second phase is the adoption of decisions at the common multinational level. It occurs when once the members have reach an agreement, the decision is finally adopted –according to the established vote system- and becomes the respective legal norm –including the legal effects that should have to produce and the internalization modalities, if it corresponds.

Finally the third phase can be named as descendent. It is the one in which the decision penetrates into reality either because of its direct effect or because it was incorporated in the respective domestic legal systems in order to be enforced.

The Mercosur experience could be showing that important institutional deficiencies are located in the ascendant phase of the decision making process. It could be the fact that the proposals that arrive to the final decision table either have not been sufficiently consulted with other governmental instances or with the interested social sectors. This is translated, sometimes, in unsatisfactory quality products.

It could then be the definition of each national interest that may be presenting some weaknesses –including the essential exercise of conciliating each country’s domestic requirements with the possibilities to obtain from the members what presumably is needed-. It could be explaining the accumulated number of rules that are not being enforced, or in other words, are not being effective. Sometimes they do not even have finished the respective legal process to obtain their formal validity.

This deficiency in the preparation of the national positions can be due to various reasons. One could be -in a determined country- that the functioning of the respective National Section of the CMG has not been institutionalized. It was conceived at the founding moment as a collegiate organ composed by representatives of the Foreign Relations Ministry and the economic government areas –based on the experience of the previous bilateral integration period between Argentina and Brazil- The founding idea was that it should work as a true executive engine of the integration process, based on the political impulse given by the Presidents and Ministers, particularly those in charge of economic policies. It has not always been like that.

It may also be due to the insufficient consultations to other sectors of the public administration or, particularly, to a low participation of civil society through its representative institutions. One factor that may explain civil society’s low participation could be the difficulties to access quality and in-time information that may help the following –and decodification- of what is actually been negotiated. This contributes to reinforce the tendency to decision making mechanism that work in a kind of closed circuit in which only government experts and, only marginally, some civil society’s representative institutions participate.

The amount of accumulated rules that did not penetrate into reality or that have not even completed their cycle to become formally valid, could help to explain the perception that citizens, businesses, investors and third countries have about a profound distance between Mercosur´s nominal legal structure and reality. This can contribute in the diagnosis of a process with serious efficacy and credibility problems that may result in a growing legitimacy crisis if such situation produces serious damages to the interests of partners, especially those with less economic dimension and relative power.

Towards a greater civil society participation in the future construction of Mercosur and in its international trade negotiations.

The following recommendations are based on what has been observed with regards to the participation of civil society in defining and implementing strategies, public policies and rules of the game, during the period between the creation of Mercosur and the present situation. They are recommendations that pretend to capitalize a decade of experience.

The opportunity could come from the fact that the governmental political impulse has been renovated. We believe that the political understanding that comes out of the public positions expressed by the governments that entered into power during 2003 in Argentina and Brazil, will permit to overcome the existential debate that has been observed during the past years about Mercosur´s pertinence.

If this is actually the case, the main focus should immediately be centered in the methodological debate on how to continue with the construction of a Mercosur compatible with the members´ other international insertion dimensions, and that it facilitates domestic productive and social cohesion transformation processes.

Under this perspective, we pretend to contribute with a crucial aspect of such debate: the active participation of civil society actors interested both in the construction of Mercosur as well as in its international trade negotiations and, particularly in this case, with the EU.

The central idea we wish to defend is that given the two-decade-long economic integration experience in the South of America (PICAB and Mercosur periods), it is only through a significant institutionalized participation of interested non governmental actors –especially in the formulation, at the national level, of strategies and public policies as well as in the creation and implementation of rules-, that it is possible to pretend to have rules with enough effectiveness that allows them to have efficacy and credibility and, above all, sustainability through time and legitimacy in their respective societies.

In order to achieve this, a strengthening of Mercosur´s institutional mechanisms, especially within their respective national segments, is needed. But this is not a topic to be boarded in this report (16).

In this opportunity we will limit us to raise some recommendations destined to achieve a greater presence of nongovernmental actors in defining and implementing, Mercosur’s strategies, public policies and rules of the game.

We find it convenient to limit the scope of recommendable and possible actions in order to reach a gradual evolution towards the strengthening of the working together methods, both at the governmental level as well as with the nongovernmental actors. It is the relationship between decision making mechanisms and the participation of civil society, that allow to achieve effective rules –with efficacy, credibility and legitimacy-, and a major economic and social interdependence that will subsequently be produced as a consequence of the networking among relevant social actors. This will result in a growing predominance of the integration logic, both among the member countries as well as in the larger economic spaces that will result of the current international trade negotiations in which Mercosur participates.

In order to achieve so, we believe convenient the creation of incentives to increase the participation of civil society in the making of the rules of Mercosur through:

  • A greater quality information and transparency through the CMG National Sections´ websites, given it in a timely manner and not only “ex post”, taking into consideration the role of each National Section as a focal point for information on national positions.

Such pages would be powered by a notorious enrichment of the official Mercosur website, using as models –among others- the WTO and the EU websites. An intelligent and last generation website should include the draft proposals under negotiation –as it is the case of the USTR website ( or even the domestic draft rules and the rule itself, if they are related to the economic competition in the broader economic space. Both title IX of the EU-Chile Free Trade Agreement and, particularly, Chapter 20 of the US-Chile Free Trade Agreement can be considered interesting precedents on this.

A way to contribute significantly to information access and to public officials´ accountability is to publish in the Mercosur official website and in the respective national focal websites, the name of the competent officials in each of the issues that compose both the Mercosur and the international trade negotiations agenda, including their e-mail addresses.

Finally, another recommendation to increase transparency in the decision making processes and the officials´ responsibility with respect to citizens, would be to establish an “ombudsman” for Mercosur, conceived as the defender of civil society’s interests in the economic integration process. This idea could begin to exist in an experimental manner with the opening of a “complaints” section in the official Mercosur website, as an embryonic type of electronic “ombudsman”. One of the Technical Secretariat’s officials should, in that case, have the duty to derive all the complaints to the respective national instances. The complainant should have the opportunity to control the route of his complaint through the website. It is an idea that could be executed, for example, with EU technical cooperation. At an early stage, it may be only referred to the interregional negotiations process;

  • An active contribution of the academic sector to interpret the information in order to turn it comprehensible for those whom, without being experts need to follow the rule making process from the perspective of the different sectors of civil society.

In such sense, both the European and the Canadian experiences, among others, could be useful as a model of interactive pattern among governmental negotiators and officials, civil society’s representative institutions and the academic world. This is an appropriate field to canalize technical cooperation both from the EU as well as from the Hemispheric Cooperation Program.

The already mentioned creation of institutions specialized in following international trade negotiations on behalf of the business institutions of Argentina and Brazil, is a precedent that should be stimulated and helped with international technical cooperation.

In this field, the press in general can play a very significant role, especially the specialized one, by continuing with the very positive development showed in the last years since the intensification of Mercosur´s international trade negotiations agenda. There are today more journalists specialized in following both the negotiations as well as Mercosur, and that is reflected in a major quality and precision both of the information as well as of the analysis. To contribute to the formation of specialized journalists by Mercosur´s academic institutions could also be subject of technical cooperation by the EU or by the FTAA´s Hemispheric Cooperation Program approved in Quito;

  • A strengthening of the non governmental actors´ capacity to access to the existing or future jurisdictional mechanisms -either national or multinational- in order to demand the enforcement of the rules freely agreed by the States.

As it was shown at the WTO, the NAFTA and, most certainly, the EU, it is the active role of civil society –particularly of businessmen- impelling the use of jurisdictional mechanisms –either arbitral or judicial- to demand the enforcement of what was agreed, one of the crucial factors to assure a rule oriented character of an integration and free trade agreement.

It is better if such participation could result in a direct access to the use of those jurisdictional mechanisms to nongovernmental actors. But it is a good step if the governmental instances were receptive to the impulses to demand jurisdictional enforcement of what was agreed, if it corresponded. -.i.e. the respective CMG National sections in the case of Mercosur-.

In some cases –i.e. Argentina- the domestic judicial jurisdictional instance may be very effective when there is an explicit constitutional recognition with regard to the supremacy of the treaties over national laws. It can even be considered that in Mercosur this has been an underused action by nongovernmental actors, especially the firms. One notable exception –because of the precedent created- was the complaint made by Cafés La Virginia against the Argentine State because it did not recognized a tariff reduction incorporated in an preferential agreement signed with Brazil within the LAIA framework. In 1994, the Argentine Supreme Court ruled in favor of the complainant and the State had to restore what was improperly perceived;

  • A greater development of the connectivity of national non governmental institutions representative of civil society’s interests at the Mercosur level –and at interregional level of the association with the EU, as is the case of the MEBF-beginning with the business, labor and consumers representatives.

And at the same time, a strengthening of capacity of real influence in the decision making process of the Economic and Social Consultative Forum and of the Joint Parliamentary Commission, including eventually its evolution toward a Mercosur Parliament in which members could be elected directly by the people of the region;

  • An intensification of the public policies oriented toward the development of integrated sector networks through the incipient experience of the Mercosur Competitiveness Forums, and particularly in those sectors in which there has been greater sensibilities to the opening of the domestic markets –a good source of information regarding this point could be the recurring trade conflicts that have occurred in some sectors within Mercosur, or the “baskets” of tariffs positions to be reduced in ten years or sometimes longer terms within the trade negotiations with the EU and the USA-; and

  • The allocation to the Mercosur Technical Secretariat of enough resources not only to fulfill its functions of preserving a common vision and the technical quality in the creations of rules, but for it to become an information irradiation focal point through a substantial improvement of its webpage.

Without doubts there will be a long time before Montevideo –headquarters of the Technical Secretariat- could play a role that Brussels have as a focal point of the non governmental actors interested in the adoption of community rules (17). But it is important to stimulate a tendency that will gradually give a greater relative weight to the Technical Secretariat in the process of creating and implementing Mercosur´ rules.

We understand that the fact that the member countries simultaneously face the strengthening of Mercosur, the complex international trade negotiations at the WTO, at the hemispheric level and at the interregional, as well as the preparation of their societies and their companies –especially SME- to compete in the post-negotiation scenarios, should also conduct to a multi-polar and multidimensional approach of the participation of civil society in all of the negotiation processes.

The rich EU experience with their economic cooperation programs with the countries pretending to become full members or associate member’s, could be of some help to the Mercosur countries (18).

In this sense, the cooperation effort made by the EU to strengthen the effective participation of the Mercosur countries´ civil society in the interregional negotiation should be focused with the idea of producing as well a significant effect in Mercosur´s functioning and in its other international trade negotiations.

Particularly, the EU financing of production and labor recovering in sectors recognized as being sensitive during the negotiations, should be one of the more concrete means to broaden the interest and participation of civil society I the economic space that may result of the ongoing negotiations. This way, the achieved agreements could become viable and with social legitimacy.

Furthermore, in the FTAA negotiations –and even in the “4+1” with the USA-, the priority for the Hemispheric Cooperation Program should be to increase the participation of Mercosur´s civil society and its preparation for post-negotiation scenarios, even by financing production and labor recovering in the most sensitive sectors. In order to achieve this, it would be necessary significant financial support from industrialized countries and international financial organizations.

(1) The author’s observations are based on the following of the founding moments of PICAB and MERCOSUR, and also in his participation in various public sector duties in Argentina –especially in the Ministries of Foreign Relations and Economy- and, before, in the INTAL (1966-1977) and in the Inter-American Development Bank (1984-1991) in Washington. Testimonies from thirty years of regional integration are compiled as articles in his book “Momentos y Perspectivas. La Argentina en el Mundo y en la Región”, by EDUNTREF, Buenos Aires, 2003.

(2) Regardless the existence of others, the following are the main authors consulted for this paper, and many of the observations made come out of its reading:

  • BALBIS Jorge, “La participación de la sociedad civil en el proceso de integración en el Mercosur”, CELARE, “La Sociedad Civil del Mercosur y Chile en la Asociación con la Unión Europea”, CELARE, Santiago de Chile, 2002, ps. 149.

  • BOUZAS Roberto y AVOGADRO Enrique, “La elaboración de políticas comerciales y el sector privado: memorando sobre Argentina”, en la publicación “El Proceso de Formulación de la Política Comercial. Nivel Uno de un Juego en dos Niveles: Estudios de Países en el Hemisferio Occidental”, elaborado bajo la dirección de Sylvia Ostry (INTAL-ITD-STA, Documento de Divulgación 13), BID, marzo 2002, p.1 y ss.

  • CELARE, “La Sociedad Civil del Mercosur y Chile en la Asociación con la Unión Europea”, CELARE, Santiago de Chile, 2000.

  • CHALOUT Yves y BARBIERO Allan, “¿O Mercosul é um espaço público?. Os dilemas das Centrais Sindicais e da Sociedad Civil”, en “Dimensôes da Integraçao no Mercosul”, Cadernos do CEAM, UnB-CEAM-NEM, Brasilia 2002, ps. 97 y ss.

  • COSTA VAZ Alcides, “A integraçâo no Mercosul: novos atores e o desafio da participaçâo política e social”, en CHALOULT Yves y DE ALMEIDA Paulo Roberto, organizadores, “Mercosul, NAFTA & ALCA: A Dimensâo Social”, LTR, Sâo Paulo, 1999, ps. 69 y ss.

  • COSTA VAZ Alcides, “Experiencia del Brasil: una visión académica”, presentación en el Seminario “Participación de la Sociedad Civil en la Integración Económica: Experiencias de Francia y Brasil”, Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero (UNTREF)-INTAL, Buenos Aires, 1º de abril 2003 (versión grabada).

  • DA MATTA Roberto, “O Mercosul e a sociedade: em torno das trocas econômicas e da integrâçao cultural”, en FUNAG, “O Mercosul e a Integraçâo Sul-Americana: Mais do que a Economia”, FUNAG, Brasilia, 1997, ps. 101 y ss.

  • DARCY DE OLVEIRA Miguel, “Cidadania e Globalizaçâo: a Política Externa Brasileira e as ONGs”, Instituto Rio Branco-Fundaçâo Alexandre Gusmâo-Centro de Estudos Estratégicos, Brasilia, 1999.

  • DRUMMOND María Claudia, “Experiencia del Brasil: una visión parlamentaria”, presentación en el Seminario “Participación de la Sociedad Civil en la Integración económica: Experiencias de Francia y Brasil”, Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero (UNTREF)-INTAL, Buenos Aires, 1º de abril 2003 (versión grabada).

  • FADLALA E., MASI, F., VON HOROCH J., FERREIRA A., “El Paraguay y la Integración Regional: Primeros Enfoques”, IDIAL, Asunción, noviembre 1990.

  • GRANDI Jorge y BIZZOZERO Lincoln, “Hacia una sociedad civil del Mercosur. Viejos y nuevos actores en el tejido subregional”, en Integración & Comercio, año 1, nº 3, Buenos Aires, BID-INTAL, Septiembre-Diciembre, 1997, y “Participación de la Sociedad Civil en los Procesos de Integración Económica”, ALOP-CEFIR-CLAEH, Montevideo, 1988, ps.209 y ss.

  • HIRST Mónica, “Reflexiones para Análisis Político del Mercosur”, FLACSO Buenos Aires, Serie Documentos e Informes de Investigación, Noviembre 1991.

  • HIRST Mónica, “Avances y Desafíos en la Formación del Mercosur”, FLACSO Buenos Aires, Serie Documentos e Informes de Investigación, Julio 1992.

  • HIRST Mónica, BESCHINSKY Gabriel y CASTELLANA Fernando, “A Reaçâo do Empresariado Argentino Frente a Formaçâo do Mercosul”, Serie de Documentos e Informes de Investigación, Mayo 1993.

  • HIRST Mónica, “La Dimensión Política del Mercosur: Especifidades Nacionales, Aspectos Institucionales y Actores Sociales”, FLACSO Buenos Aires, Serie Documentos e Informes de Investigación, Diciembre 1993.

  • HIRST Mónica, “Pontos de reflexâo sobre a dimensâo sócio-político-cultural do Mercosul”, en FUNAG “O Mercosul e a Integraçâo Sul-Americana: Mais do que a Economia”, FUNAG, Brasilia, 1997, ps. 123 y ss.

  • JAKOBSEN Kjeld, “Uma visâo sindical em face da ALCA e de outros esquemas regionais”, en CHALOULT Yves y DE ALMEIDA Paulo Roberto, organizadores, LTR, Sâo Paulo, 1999, ps. 232 y ss.

  • LEQUESNE Christian, “Paris-Bruxelles: comment se fair la politique européenne de la France », Presses de la Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques, Paris 1993, y también su presentación sobre la experiencia de la participación de la sociedad civil en Francia y en la Unión Europea, en el Seminario sobre “Participación de la Sociedad Civil en la Integración Económica: Experiencias de Francia y Brasil”, UNTREF-INTAL, Buenos Aires, Abril 1, 2003 (versión grabada).

  • MOTTA VEIGA Pedro da, “O policy making da política comercial no Brasil: os caminhos da transiçâo”, en OSTRY Sylvia (coord), “El Proceso de Formulación de la Política Comercial. Nivel Uno de un Juego en dos Niveles: Estudios de Países en el Hemisferio Occidental”, INTAL-ITD-STA, Documento de Divulgación 13, BID, Marzo 2002, pg. 13 y ss.

  • OSTRY Sylvia, “Prefacio”, en citado Documento Divulgación 13, ps. i y ss.

  • PEREZ Romeo, “La participación social en los procesos de integración”, en “Participación de la Sociedad Civil en los Procesos de Integración”, ALOP-CEFIR-CLAEH, Montevideo, 1998, ps. 179 y ss.

  • PODESTÁ Bruno, “Integración económica y formación de un espacio social: la Unión Europea, la Comunidad Andina y el Mercosur”, en “Participación de la Sociedad Civil en los Procesos de Integración Económica”, ALOP-CEFIR-CLAEH, Montevideo 1988, ps. 33 y ss.

  • PODESTÁ Bruno, GÓMEZ GALÁN Manuel, JÁCOME Francine, GRANDI Jorge, “Ciudadanía y Mudialización: La Sociedad Civil ante la Integración Regional”, CEFIR-CIDEAL-INVESP, Madrid 2000.

  • PORTELLA DE CASTRO María Sílvia, “Experiencia del Brasil: una visión sindical”, presentación en el Seminario “Participación de la Sociedad Civil en la Integración Económica: Experiencias de Francia y Brasil”, Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero (UNTREF)-INTAL, Buenos Aires, 1º de abril 2003 (versión grabada).

  • QUIJANO José Manuel, “La integración y la sociedad civil: algunas experiencias del caso uruguayo”, en OSTRY Sylvia, informe antes citado, Documento Divulgación 13, ps. 75 y ss.

  • RIOS Sandra Polonio, “Experiencia del Brasil: una visión empresaria”, presentación en el Seminario “Participación de la Sociedad Civil en la Integración Económica: Experiencias de Francia y Brasil”, Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero (UNTREF)-INTAL, Buenos Aires, 1º de abril 2003 (versión grabada).

  • SANCHO José, “La Preparación Nacional de la Decisión Comunitaria”, ICAP, San José de Costa Rica, Octubre de 1974.

  • SOBERON Luis, “Sociedad, participación e integración: aspectos conceptuales”, en “Participación de la Sociedad Civil en los Procesos de Integración”, ALOP-CEFIR-CLAEH, Montevideo 1998, ps. 189 y ss.

  • STUART Ana María, “A sociedade civil na integraçâo: movimentos sociais e organizaçôes sindicais”, en CHALOULT Yves y DE ALMEIDA Paulo Roberto, “O Mercosul, NAFTA e ALCA: A Dimensâo Social”, LTR, Sâo Paulo 1999, ps. 120 y ss.

  • TAQUINARDI María Helena, “Experiencia do Brasil”, presentación en el Seminario “Participación de la Sociedad Civil en la Integración Económica: Experiencias de Francia y Brasil”, Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero (UNTREF)-INTAL, Buenos Aires, 1º de abril 2003 (versión escrita).

  • VIGEVANI Tullo, “Mercosul: Impactos para Trabalhadores e Sindicatos”, LTR-FAPESP-CEDEC, LTR Editora, Sâo Paulo 1998.

  • VIGEVANI Tullo y PASQUARIELO MARIANO, Karina L., “Estratégias e alianzas entre os atores sociais”, en “O Mercosul em Movimento II”, SILVA ILHA Adayr da y VENTURA Deisy, Livraria do Advogado Editora, Porto Alegre 1999.

(3) Regardless the existence of many other –the bibliography is broad and varied quality- two recent books allows to appreciate the cumulative experience of Mercosur and the current state of the debate in its future: HUGUENEY FILHO Clodoaldo and CARDIM Carlos Henrique (coord.) “Grupo de Reflexâo Prospectiva sobre o Mercosul”, MRE/BID/IPRI/FUNAG, Brasilia 2002, and CHUDNOVSKY Daniel and FANELLI José María, “El Desafìo de Integrarse para Crecer: Balance y Perspectiva del Mercosur en su Primera Década”, Siglo XXI-Red Mercosur-BID, Buenos Aires 2001.

(4) QUIJANO José Manuel, op.cit.

(5) See, among others,

  • AARONSON Susan, “Taking Trade to the Streets: The Lost History of Public Efforts to Shape Globalization”, The University of Michigan Press, 2001.

  • BERTRAND Agnès, KALAFATIDES Laurence, “OMC, le Pouvoir Invisible”, Fayard, Paris, 2002.

  • HOWSE Robert, « The legitimacy of the WTO », en COICAUD Jean-Marc, HEISKANEN Veijo (editors), “The Legitimacy of International Organizations”, The United Nations University, 2002, ps. 355 y ss.

(6) See OSTRY Silvia, “Preface”, op.cit.

(7) One of the first meetings with strong Argentine and Brazilian business representation took place in Sao Paulo, on September 1982.

(8) PEÑA Félix , “Concertación de Intereses, Efectividad de las Reglas de Juego y Calidad Institucional en el Mercosur”, Programa Estado de Derecho, Fundación Konrad Adenauer y Red Mercosur, May 2003.

(9) QUIJANO José Manuel, op.cit.

(10) In 1999, after the devaluation of the Real, as Undersecretary of Foreign Trade at the Ministry of Economy, the author participated in numerous meetings with business and labour organizations and with congressmen, to evaluate the possible devaluation effects in the bilateral trade of Argentina with Brazil. Concrete measures were explored and proposed –safeguards measures among them. It was specially the meetings with the labour union representatives that gave a perception of a significant degree of their understanding of the factors involved and the existing limits for any governmental action. They demonstrated also a very good level of information on the issues raised in each sector. There was a broad coincidence between the business and labour union positions, particularly in the most affected sectors such as footwear and textile.

(11) PADRÓN Alvaro, “El Foro Consultivo Económico-Social del Mercosur”, and FRASCHINI Juan José, “El FCES: una experiencia en proceso”, both in “Participación de la Sociedad Civil en los Procesos de Integración”, ALOP-CEFIR-CLAEH, Montevideo, 1998.

(12) GOBBI Hugo Javier, “Démocratie et Intégration dans le Mercosur: le Rôle de la Commission Parlementaire Conjointe”, CIACO, Louvain-la-Neuve, 2001; CAETANO Gerardo, PERINA Ruben (coord..), « Mercosur y Parlamentos: el Rol de los Congresos en la Democracia e Integración”, CLAEH-OEA, 2000; and “Parlamentos e Instituciones en el Mercosur: los Nuevos Desafíos”, CLAEH-OEA-CPC, 2000; CEFIR, “Perspectivas Institucionales del Mercosur: Organización y Funcionamiento de la Comisión  Parlamentaria Conjunta”, Buenos Aires, Junio 1998.

(13) This complaint was observed by some of the panelists in the seminar on “Sociedad Civil e Integración: la experiencia de Francia y Brasil”, organized by UNTREF and INTAL on April 1, 2003. On the contrary, in the Seminar on “La experiencia de Chile en sus negociaciones de libre comercio con los EEUU y la Unión Europea”, organized by UNTREF, INTAL Fundación Gobierno y Sociedad and the International Trade Negotiations Center of the Unión Industrial Argentina, Buenos Aires, May 2003, it was possible to observe a high degree of participation in the respective negotiations, both from the business organizations as well as the labor unions representatives.

(14) See this topic and the respective bibliography in the article cited in note 8).

(15) See for example, PARKER George, “Influence pedlars must try harder”, in Financial Times, Wednesday, April 30, 2003.

(16) See the article of the author cited in note 8).

(17) PEÑA Félix, “Proyecciones Institucionales del Grupo Andino”, en Revista de la Integración, nro. 2, INTAL-BID, mayo 1968, pg. 132.

(18) See among other publications, the report “Participation of Non-State Actors in EC Development Policy”, Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament and the Economic and Social Committee, Brussels, 07.11.2002, COM (2002) 598 final.

Félix Peña es Director del Instituto de Comercio Internacional de la Fundación ICBC; Director de la Maestría en Relaciones Comerciales Internacionales de la Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero (UNTREF); Miembro del Comité Ejecutivo del Consejo Argentino para las Relaciones Internacionales (CARI). Miembro del Brains Trust del Evian Group. Ampliar trayectoria. |

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