Brazilian Foreign minister Antonio Patriota downplayed the significance of the Alliance of the Pacific, the free trade agreement which includes Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico, arguing it is not a “real deep integration” as the one proposed by Mercosur.
Speaking with foreign correspondents in Sao Paulo, Patriota said the Pacific Alliance “is an effort which brings together countries with similar characteristics, but not an alliance, or a free trade zone or a customs union, much less an integration project such is the case of Mercosur”.
According to Patriota Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela) is ‘full of life and dynamic’ and in 2019 ‘we will have a South American free trade zone, next to other blocks such as the Caribbean Community, Carikcom”.
“When I say that the alliance is marketing or a new package for the same existing produce I’m not trying to downplay, since we are talking of countries that are most important for Brazil. And Brazil hopes and expects that this effort will help make those economies more dynamic and elevate living standards”, underlined the Brazilian minister.
Patriota also talked about Paraguay and president-elect Horacio Cartes assertions rejecting the incorporation of Venezuela as full member of the Mercosur group next to Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.
“They are statements from an elected president; it’s important to follow and see what he will be saying when in full exercise of office, as of August 15 when he is inaugurated”.
Patriota also underlined the reestablishment of Mercosur relations with Paraguay, suspended since June 2012, which was decided at last week’s summit in Montevideo, and the fact that despite the political sanction, trade continued to flourish and there were no retaliations hurting the Paraguayan people.
Likewise “it was an important gesture” the fact that Mercosur governments acknowledged the victory of Cartes in the April presidential election and that some presidents such as Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff have anticipated she would be travelling to Asuncion for the inauguration on 15 August.