The Bolivian Senate is expected to vote next month for the full incorporation of the country to Mercosur, thus complying with some of the last steps to join the group made up of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela.
President Jose Mujica said that Mercosur even with all its problems has been a good deal although it could have been better, and it is imperative that the group signs trade agreements with Europe and China, which has become the main trade partner of the region.
Chile's new foreign minister Heraldo Muñoz ratified his country's membership of the Pacific Alliance, a much questioned group by other regional organizations such as the Venezuelan inspired ALBA and even Mercosur led by Brazil, and suggested that Mercosur and the Pacific Alliance could consider integration. Chile is currently an associate member of Mercosur.
Mercosur will present a joint proposal to the European Union for a wide ranging trade agreement between the two blocks later this month, announced Brazil' Minister of Industry Mauro Borges, following a visit to Buenos Aires where he met with Economy minister Axel Kicillof and Industry minister Debora Giorgi.
More than 20 countries confirmed that representatives from their governments will attend the inauguration of Chilean president-elect Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday, Chilean Senate leader Jorge Pizarro announced. Leaders from Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, Belgium, Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Haiti, Suriname and El Salvador have confirmed their presence.
With an eye on Argentina and Venezuela, Brazil private sector wants Mercosur trade in local currencies
Brazil's private sector concerned with harsh times ahead, particularly with exports to Argentina and Venezuela are proposing that Mercosur trade should be done with local currencies leaving aside the US dollar. The initiative was launched by the president of the Brazil-Argentina Commerce Chamber.
The dynamic imbalance in trade negotiations is clearly evident in the case of trade negotiations of Canada and the US with the European Union, and what happens with EU/Mercosur trade talks that have been going for seventeen years, with no clear results yet, according to OAS Secretary General Miguel Insulza.
The International Monetary Fund lowered its forecast for economic growth in Uruguay this year to 3% from its previous estimate of 3.3%, the IMF's deputy managing director said on Friday in Montevideo. Naoyuki Shinohara told reporters that the revision is due to lower growth expected in Uruguay's neighbors Argentina and Brazil and lower prices for commodities and Uruguayan exports.
The Argentine government has suspended dialogue with Iran, heralding a shift in policy that coincides with improved relations with Israel that includes a visit this month by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Veteran New York Times reporter and columnist, Roger Cohen, who on several occasions has visited Argentina recently called at Ushuaia. He wrote the following piece, which is not very enthusiastic about the current situation or the heavy burden of populist history in one of the richest countries of the world.