Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro called on the other Mercosur member states to “redouble efforts in external negotiations”, adding that Brazil wants “speed” and “significant results”, in the framework of the meeting for the 30th anniversary of the bloc.
“We want our economies to be able to participate even more in the new regional value chains, especially at this time, when we urgently need to overcome the great damage caused by the pandemic,” said the Brazilian president in his virtual intervention.
Bolsonaro spoke after the Argentine president, Alberto Fernández, opened the ceremony from Buenos Aires, in an event that will also be attended by the presidents of Paraguay, Miguel Abdo Benítez and Uruguay, Luis Lacalle Pou, as well as Chile, Sebastián Piñera, an associate member of the bloc, and Bolivia, Luis Arce, also an associate member but in the process of joining as a member.
Modernization of Mercosur
During his speech from Brazil, Bolsonaro called for the “modernization” of Mercosur by “updating external tariff rates.”
He also pointed out that there is “a great space to be able to further deepen regionalism” in those sectors that are on the margins of international trade and called for “overcoming the existing gaps” in industries such as the automotive and sugar industries, aligning current regulations “to best practices and international standards.”
On the other hand, the Brazilian head of state alluded on several occasions to the “original conception” of the Treaty of Asunción, which founded Mercosur in 1991, stressing that the premises of “political and economic freedom” of the bloc’s member countries must be respected.
“We have to set an example with concrete results, with jobs and income for our citizens, with support for our companies and with goods of lower value and better quality available to all consumers,” said Bolsonaro, for whom it is necessary to “improve the rules that value the business environment.”
To achieve this modernization of the regional bloc, the Brazilian President defended that the countries can freely negotiate their own trade agreements, since political or economic differences between Mercosur members “should not affect the progress of the integration project.”
“We understand that the rule of consensus cannot be transformed into a veto tool or a permanent brake. The principle of flexibility is inscribed in the Treaty of Asuncion itself. Brazil wishes to count on the support of the other members of the bloc to continue expanding the network of extra-regional trade negotiations,” he said.
Solidarity with those killed by COVID-19
Bolsonaro began his speech by admitting that Mercosur member states are going through “a difficult moment” and “full of challenges,” alluding in particular to the impact of the pandemic in the region.
“I reaffirm my solidarity with the families and my deep mourning for the loss of lives and the profound suffering that the pandemic has caused our peoples,” said the Brazilian President.