This article explores the nature of the political economy of Argentina's trade policies towards Mercado Cormin del Sur (Mercosur - the Southern Common Market) after the financial crisis of 2001/2002 and analyses to what extent they constitute a robust potential for development. In the past decade, scholars of Latin America have argued that the reactivation of national and regional developmental goals in this region have resulted in the development of a new political, economic and social agenda for regional integration because open regionalism had failed to respond to the challenges of stable growth. Although the existing literature on regionalism has explored the internal and political dynamics of the recent efforts to cooperate in the region, there has not yet been adequate attention given to the link between regionalist projects and processes of globalisation. By using the analytical tools of the literature on new regionalism, this article argues that there is a need to go beyond stark distinctions between domestic and external dynamics of regionalist projects. The main argument of this article suggests that Argentina's developmental efforts were restricted by divergent understandings of Mercosur and development priorities; and asymmetries of production that prevailed among the bloc's members in the context of a more globalised and liberalised world economy.