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South America

Economy

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Historically a colonial area, economically dependent on the export of agricultural and mineral commodities, South America has experienced growth and diversification in most of its economic sectors since the 1930s. After World War II (1939-1945) national policies of import substitution (the local manufacture of formerly imported goods) reshaped industry. The benefits of this rapid economic development have not spread evenly but have accrued more to the leading cities and their environs.

The development of free trade has also been of major importance to South America. This effort began in the late 1960s with the Andean Community and has been evolving ever since. In the early 1990s the creation of the Southern Cone Common Market (commonly known as Mercosur, from the Spanish “Mercado Comun del Sur”) greatly improved South America's trade and economic prospects. In 2004 the Andean Community and Mercosur joined forces to create the South American Community of Nations, increasing the potential for economic cooperation among member states.

 
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