Democratic consolidation was the top priority of re-democratised Argentina and Brazil. Regional integration too was meant to this goal, from two perspectives: from outside, through a treaty that diminished the scope for political manoeuvring by the military and increased international support for the incumbent administrations; from within, through encouragement of a proactive role for business in integration that would give it democratic legitimacy, while, at the same time, exercising democratic practices. Argentine and Brazilian political classes expected to combine these two aspects but soon had to face business reluctance. Government-business relations in the construction of Mercosur reflected government attempts to balance the trade-off between the approaches from without and from within. Although business was largely excluded from the strategic formulation of integration, in a democratic context, governments have to accommodate societal interests. This occurred through a significant overlap between powerful business interests and the executive's plans. The achievement of integration helped consolidate democracy, the choices made by political elites drove forward the democratic process.