Mercosur foreign ministers will be meeting next March 9 in Buenos Aires in the framework of Argentina's pro tempore chair and following on the Argentine/Brazilian presidents recent meeting when it was decided to give the group a new thrust taking advantage of the new world scenario.
Precisely this week in the meeting held in Brasilia, Mauricio Macri and Michel Temer agreed on the need to advance in the elimination of interior tariffs that limit trade inside the group and to approach Mexico which is now looking south.
In effect since president Donald Trump took office one of his targets has been a review of the NAFTA agreement, building a wall along the border with Mexico and drastically cutting the bilateral trade deficit.
In this new scenario Macri and Temer agreed that approaching the Pacific Alliance (Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico) must also be a priority for Mercosur, besides continuing with the European Union trade and cooperation discussions. New rounds of talks are scheduled in the coming weeks in Brussels and Buenos Aires.
Uruguayan foreign minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa, currently in a visit to Germany with president Tabare Vazquez, admitted Uruguay was very much concerned that countries which are direct competitors have managed special access facilities to those important markets, and thus approaching the Pacific Alliance would be a very strong political message.
Nevertheless Mercosur has its own problems and challenges. In effect last 14 December when Argentina took the chair, in an extraordinary meeting of the Common Market Council, the four founding members ministers had to witness an opera soap performance from their Venezuelan peer Delcy Rodríguez who insisted in attending despite the fact her country had been suspended for not having complied with all of membership requirements.
Venezuela's suspension was decided following a four year grace period granted in 2012 to adopt all Mercosur rules and regulations, and a human rights chapter which the president Nicolas Maduro repeatedly ignored or only complied in part.
The March 9 meeting will bring together host Susana Malcorra, Brazil's Jose Serra, Uruguay's Nin Novoa and Paraguay's Eladio Loizaga, but don't be surprised is Ms Rodriguez turns up in Buenos Aires.