At the request of Argentina and Brazil, on December 20, 2011 MERCOSUR (the South American trading bloc that includes Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay) authorized member countries to raise tariffs on 100 products above the commonly applied external tariff rate (CET) and up to the WTO bound rate of 35 percent. The new tariffs will go into effect after publication of the product list, and will remain in effect until December 2014. Each MERCOSUR member country will have the discretion to determine its own list of 100 products that will be included in the rate increase. Currently import tariffs range from 0% to 35 percent with the average at 11%. For imports from the United States, the average tariff rate is 16%.
Local press and the Wall Street Journal reported that the move is designed to protect the trading bloc from cheap imports from Asia, and that MERCOSUR members would target capital goods, textiles, and chemical products to include in their list of 100 additional products that will have a 35% tariff rate.
This report will be updated when the harmonized code numbers of the products are published.