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rice market, economic reform


There has been growing interest among nations in the western hemisphere in preferential trading arrangements (Taylor et al., 1995; Schuh and Junguita, 1993). Since 1990, 33 regional agreements have been registered with the World Trade Organization — the supranational organization that sets the rules for international trade (Blandford, 1995). One of the most important of these trading arrangements is the Mercado Comun del Sur (Common Market of the South), commonly referred to by its acronym, the MERCOSUR. (See Table 1 for a definition of acronyms and technical terms.) The MERCOSUR is a customs union whose member nations are Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay and whose economies account for over half of Latin America’s gross domestic product (GDP). Chile joined as an associate member on October 1, 1996, and Bolivia is expected to become an associate member in 1997.

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