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University of Toronto

Publication Date

Spring 2004

Program Name

Southern Cone: Regional Integration, Development and Social Change

Abstract

In response to the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) process of regional economic integration which began in 1991, in 1994 national organizations of family farmers from the member countries formed a transnational coalition entitled La Coordinadora de Organizaciones Agricultores Familiares del MERCOSUR (COPROFAM) to represent themselves at the regional level. This study examines the reasons why the Federación Agraria Argentina (FAA), the largest member from Argentina and a longstanding Argentine institution, chose to represent itself as part of a transnational coalition at this regional level. Furthermore, it attempts to answer what the obstacles and successes of COPROFAM have been and what the activities of COPROFAM indicate about the supposed democratic deficit of MERCOSUR. The research was conducted using a wide array of sources including journals, original documents, and interviews. It was found that while the FAA and the other agricultural organizations were involved in the design of the MERCOSUR institutions and norms, they were only permitted to do so within the already determined ideology and agenda that represented the interests of the large commercial agricultural producers. Thus, the family farmers were unable to raise their issues in this forum. Furthermore, the perceived threat of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) combined with a shift in the political environment in both the FAA and in the Argentine and Brazilian governments has prompted a rebirth of COPROFAM in recent years.

Disciplines

Economics | International Economics

 

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