July 6, 2020

Brazil says that "the protectionist and ineffective Mercosur is over"

Brazil's Foreign Minister, Ernesto Araújo, said Wednesday that "the protectionist and ineffective Mercosur is over," by opening a meeting of foreign ministers of the block prior to the presidential summit.

Araújo reviewed the activities of the block consisting of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay during the last semester, in which his country held the temporary presidency of the mechanism, and gave special importance to the priority given to the negotiations for greater presence in international trade.

The foreign minister said that, until a few years ago, when most of the four countries were ruled by "the left," trade negotiations had been set aside and both protectionism and ideological interests prevailed.

According to Araújo, the arrival of Mauricio Macri in Argentina, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil and Mario Abdo Benítez in Paraguay gave the block a new dynamic, which was "recovered as a trading platform."

He cited in this regard the trade agreements finally reached with the European Union (EU) and then with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), both this year, and the "advances" in similar deals with Canada, South Korea, Lebanon , Indonesia and Singapore.

"The protectionist and ineffective Mercosur is over," said the Brazilian minister in front of the Argentine foreign ministers, Jorge Faurie; Paraguay, Antonio Rivas; and Uruguay, Rodolfo Nin Novoa.

"We will not return to the caverns," added Araújo, who referred to a "protectionist, closed and ideological" Mercosur that, in his opinion, has been left behind.

The Brazilian Foreign Minister stressed that "Mercosur has ceased to be a brake" for the economies of its four partners "to become an accelerator", thanks not only to the resumption of its external action, but also to changes in its own internal structure.

In that regard, he highlighted the decision of the block to initiate a review of its Common External Tariff (CET), established 25 years ago and never altered, and the progress towards a reduction of internal tariff barriers, which should boost trade between the four partners

The foreign ministers meeting precedes the summit that Thursday will bring together the presidents of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, and Paraguay, Mario Abdo Benítez, and the Uruguayan Vice President, Lucía Topolansky, together with host Jair Bolsonaro, in the Brazilian city of Bento Gonçalves.

Both in the case of Argentina and Uruguay, representatives of Alberto Fernández and Luis Lacalle Pou, elected presidents of those nations and who, respectively, will assume their positions on December 10 and March 2020, do not attend the meeting.

. (tagsToTranslate) Brazil (t) just (t) Mercosur (t) protectionist (t) ineffective

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