Leaders of several British Overseas Territories meeting in Bermuda released a joint statement following a Pre-Joint Ministerial Council two-day meeting held last week in Hamilton. The goal of the international gathering was to discuss matters of common interest in order to present a unified front next December at the JMC in London.
Brazil's central bank raised interest rates to 14.25% from 13.75% as expected on Wednesday, delivering another hefty increase to stifle inflationary risks from a sharp depreciation of the local currency. This is the highest rate since October 2006.
Brazil' minister of agriculture Katia Abreu said she was very optimistic about Mercosur reaching a trade agreement with the European Union, and if there are problems look to Europe, because Mercosur members have almost agreed and finished their proposal.
The latest Mercosur summit, held last week in Brazil included a special statement, --besides the main regular declaration with 69 articles--, blasting the UK for violating international law and Argentine domestic law over the exploration of hydrocarbons in the Argentine continental shelf in proximity of the Malvinas Islands.
Mercosur agreed at the Brasilia summit that in the second half of the year they will address alternatives for the elimination of tariff and other similar barriers that impede the natural flow of trade of goods and services among its members. The initiative was agreed by Common Market Council, CMC, on the first day of deliberations and confirmed on Friday by the presidents of the group's full members.
In what can be considered her last speech before a Mercosur summit, Argentine president Cristina Fernandez, who is stepping down next December, hailed what she called the “magnitude of the importance of integration” in South America with the inclusion of both Venezuela and Bolivia showing the “success and the resounding failure for those who forecasted for years that the Mercosur was going to fail.”
Uruguay is attending the Mercosur summit in Brazil hoping the group implements deep changes, particularly referred to the free circulation of goods, services and production factors, and considers a six month period should be sufficient trial for the changes to become effective.
Paraguay is committed to return Mercosur to 'its roots', reach an agreement on some of the original fundamentals, eliminate restrictions to inter-trade and strongly promote the trade accord with the European Union. This is scheduled to take place in the coming six months once Paraguay is handed Mercosur' chair at the group's midyear presidential summit that begins on Thursday in Brasilia.
Bolivia's incorporation as a full member of Mercosur will be addressed as of Thursday in Brasilia at the group's two-day presidential summit, an issue which could be completed by the first half of next year, despite some warnings from Bolivia's private sector.
Mercosur will be holding its half year presidential summit in Brasilia next Thursday and Friday, an event which will expose an abundance of trade and political conflicts, discrepancies and recurrent challenges despite all its members commitment to integration. Besides full members, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Venezuela and Brazil, leaders from Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia, Guyana and Surinam have also been announced.