After the end of the "pink tide" in the middle of the last decade, the arrival of right-wing governments in countries such as Argentina and Brazil gave rise to "recharged open regionalism", in whichit bet again for the commercial opening and the insertion in the global economy . This new identity, however, could not be captured either, given that the governments of the region found themselves with an international scenario that went against the current of the globalization- friendly discourse : Brexit, Donald Trump, the pandemic and, more recently, the war In Ukraine, the optimistic outlook on the importance of consolidating global value chains was undermining and revaluing, on the other hand, the regionalization of production and trade.
In this sense, it is no coincidence south africa phone number list that intra-Mercosur trade has grown in 2021, although the volume reached is similar to that achieved in 2014. But to understand Mercosur's identity crisis, other factors of a structural nature must be taken into account. One of them is the "centrifuge" effect produced by China. On the one hand, by promoting the bilateralization of external relations, given that the Asian giant has shown that it prefers to be linked tête à têtewith the countries of the region when it comes to economic issues. The fact that each South American country has negotiated on its own to join the Belt and Road Initiative is a clear example of this (at the Mercosur level, the only relevant precedent of some kind of joint strategy with China dates back to 2012 , when Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil signed the "Joint Statement for the improvement of trade and economic cooperation between China and Mercosur.
Likewise, the deepening of the commercial link with China has significantly modified the productive structure of the South American economies, deepening the specialization in primary goods and the decrease in trade between the Mercosur partners, which went from 25% at the end of the 1990s to less than 11% in 2021 . This, in turn, has another effect: the establishment in the Mercosur countries has changed its physiognomy and, with it, the type of integration demanded by the dominant economic actors. Brazil is an emblematic case: the growth of agribusiness and transnationalized rent-seeking conglomerates in the yellow-green economy – to the detriment of industrial groups focused on the domestic market – has increased pressure to reduce the bloc's protectionist nature and reorient it as a platform for exporting commodities out of region.