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Latin America's trade relationships have been severely strained by the series of uncoordinated currency depreciations within the region since the Asian Crisis spilled over into Brazil in 1999 and by large swings in G-3 exchange rates. Large depreciations, whether forced by capital markets or unilaterally effected for competitive trade reasons, are equivalent to steep increases in tariffs facing trading partners; they damage trade relationships and distort trade-oriented economic growth. The sources of the unfolding regional crisis and its implications for intra-regional trade as well as trade with major external trading partners are examined. Implications for future regional economic integration are drawn.


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