Venezuela has been accepted as a full member of Mercosur, the customs union comprising Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

In 2010, Brazil and Argentina will stop charging import tariffs on Venezuelan exports, except for certain ‘sensitive’ products. In 2012, most Brazilian and Argentine exports will be allowed in Venezuela with no tariffs.

There has been some mistrust between Venezuela and Brazil recently, as the latter is reported to have accused Venezuela of encouraging Bolivian president Evo Morales to nationalise privately-owned assets, including those of Brazil’s energy giant Petrobras.