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Bolsonaro Pushes Mercosur to Promote Regional Free Trade

Bolsonaro presiona en Mercosur para fortalecer el libre comercio en el bloque

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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, whose country assumes the six-month presidency of Mercosur on Thursday, announced at the bloc’s Summit that he will maintain his “efforts” for “the revision of the common external tariff and flexibility for trade negotiations”.

“We cannot let Mercosur continue to be a synonym for inefficiency and waste of opportunities,” Bolsonaro stated while speaking virtually at the summit, which is also being attended by the presidents of Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.

According to Bolsonaro, “Brazil will not stop in its efforts to modernize” its own economy and Mercosur, and wants its “integration partners” to join him in the ideals of “openness, democracy and freedom” promoted by his government.

The Brazilian leader assured that “the six months that are coming to an end (in which Argentina held the presidency of the bloc) failed to meet expectations” in relation to “two of the issues that most mobilize” Mercosur, which he identified as “the revision of the common external tariff and the flexibility of negotiations”.

He thus alluded to the position, which Brazil shares with Uruguay and which Argentina opposes, of moving towards a sharp reduction in the bloc’s import tariffs, and to a clause that obliges member states to negotiate trade agreements jointly with other integration mechanisms or countries.

“We cannot slip in the achievement of these objectives”, because “Mercosur must show its value with deliveries to the population, with the conquest of new markets and the elimination of obstacles”, he said.

Bolsonaro pointed out, in direct collision with the stated position of Argentine President Alberto Fernández, that “the persistence of impasses or the use of the rule of consensus as an instrument of veto” constitute “archaic tools that sow skepticism”.

“The ministers and negotiators of Mercosur know of our thirst for results”, said the Brazilian president, to emphasize that his government will dedicate the six months of its rotating presidency to seek “results that can be understood, valued and perceived by the population and businessmen” of the countries of the bloc.