Venezuela widens up the gap in Mercosur
The country ranks fourth in per capita GDP in the trade bloc
The trade union of Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina, the Member States of the Common Market of the South (Mercosur), is characterized by economic disparity. This feature will become more noticeable upon Venezuela's entry into the bloc next July 31.
According to the size of their economies, Brazil is the core of Mercosur. However, taking into account the per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Uruguay leads the group. As for trade, Uruguay and Paraguay import more than what they export.
What about Venezuela? The numbers of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), including data through 2010, show that in terms of per capita GDP, a key indicator, Venezuela occupies position four (USD 8,250), far away from Uruguay , in the first place (USD 11,940) and well ahead of Paraguay (USD 2,832).
Venezuela will join Uruguay and Paraguay as the countries that import more than what they export to their partners in the club.
Consider also uneven manufacturing development. While final products account for 36.4% of Brazil's exports; 32.2% in Argentina; 25.7% in Uruguay and 10.7% in Paraguay, in Venezuela, where oil is tantamount to 95% of exports, this number does not exceed 1%.
In this regard, Venezuela needs to be skillful at the time of making deals. A paper authored by Economist Alessia Lo Turco found that free trade has bolstered the expertise of Uruguay and Paraguay in production of raw materials and low-tech manufacturing. For its part, Argentina has taken benefit from medium- tech and low-tech activities. Brazil is the main winner, as it counts on a fairly integrated industrial structure, compared with the rest of Member States.
José Vicente Rangel clearly said: "We are not conducting negotiations threatened with a gun in the head." He warned behind closed doors in the midst of the social upheaval occurred during the oil strike in 2002 and 2003. Dissenting Timoteo Zambrano answered back that no other option was available: "The thing is that otherwise, you do not negotiate."