Mercosur full members, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, plus Chile and Bolivia decided the creation of a Permanent Veterinary Committee with the purpose of harmonizing and joining efforts in the unification of sanitary conditions for the region.
The announcement was made last week in Montevideo, Uruguay and the next stage is for the Agriculture Ministry of each country to endorse the initiative whose functioning and objectives are in line with a similar institution in the European Union.
"It has been defined as a procedure committee that will be involved in all those fields that help improve homogeneous sanitary conditions in the region", said Mr. Ricardo Ugarte, head of the Uruguayan Livestock Services.
Mr. Ugarte added that the "new instrument will support and help in those areas that are most immediate and needed" for a sustainable and internationally adequate animal health environment.
Establishing better and more advantageous conditions for the movement and transport of live animals and animal products, "harmonizing existent legislation in the region and from other non South American areas is the target", of the committee.
The initiative follows the endemic condition in certain remote areas of some Mercosur countries, of rapid contagion diseases such as foot and mouth that severely limited market access to the region's beef and lamb exports.
In a related event Uruguay and United States signed a memorandum of understanding for the establishment of an Agriculture Consulting Committee.
The memorandum was signed in Davis, California, by Uruguayan Minister of Agriculture Gonzalo González and United States Secretary of Agriculture, Ann Veneman.
The Committee is expected to improve bilateral cooperation in regional and global trade issues, as well "as share ideas and coordinate improved policies for the benefit of our farmers, businessmen and consumers", indicated a brief release from the US Agriculture Department.