Bolivian President Evo Morales said on Wednesday that his country will make efforts to reform the Common Market of the South (Mercosur) if it is allowed to join the regional trade bloc.
"If Bolivia becomes a (full) member of Mercosur it would be to implement profound changes ... Mercosur, as a trade tool, should aim to find solutions for the historically abandoned sectors in Latin America," Morales said in the central city of Cochabamba, according to reports from La Paz.
He added that both the Andean Community of Nations (CAN), another trade bloc in South America, and Mercosur have only served the interests of rich people.
"What I've discovered is that the CAN as well as Mercosur are tools that only benefit businessmen and wealthy people, instead of the poor people," said Morales, Bolivia's first indigenous Indian president.
An upcoming Mercosur summit in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro is expected to discuss Bolivia's request to join the bloc as a full member.
The heads of state from Mercosur member nations will attend the two-day meeting on Thursday, along with some leaders of other South American countries that are associate members of the bloc.
Mercosur is currently composed of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Last December, Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca said the accession of Bolivia to Mercosur does not mean it will leave the CAN, which also includes Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.