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With Venezuela officially joining Mercosur earlier this week, the already-bad odds of the Harper government completing a trade agreement with the South American bloc have surely deteriorated – but experts disagree on how that should impact Canada’s trade relations with the continent’s biggest economy — Brazil.

“Mercosur has lost its purpose, which was to be a free trade area – a common market. Now with the incorporation of Venezuela, which is not even adopting the common tariff of Mercosur … it no longer holds the ideal of being a free trade bloc,” says Juan Carlos Hidalgo, a Latin America policy analyst...

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