Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro declared victory in municipal elections as his ruling Socialists won a majority of votes nationwide on Sunday, even though they lost to the opposition in five key cities. He also pledged to deepen his economic offensive to force businesses to cut prices, which was a turning point in his campaign.
Evelyn Matthei of the right-wing Independent Democratic Union (UDI) and Michelle Bachelet of the left-leaning Socialist Party (PS) partook in their opening head-to-head presidential debate, as for the first campaign in Latin American history two women compete against each other in a presidential election second round.
Argentina will from next week open the doors for Brazilian imports held up on the border between the two nations, including footwear and motor vehicles, according to Brazilian Minister of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade Fernando Pimentel.
The European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso called on Mercosur to decide whether it wishes to advance in trade talks with the European Union jointly, as a block, and suggested the idea of a 'two-speed negotiation', since it is clear that Brazil is interested in advancing and wants to reach an agreement.
Brazil trusts Mercosur and the European Union can exchange the proposed tariff lists for a free trade agreement keeping to the original schedule, before the end of the year, according to the country's foreign ministry.
Uruguayan president Jose Mujica again questioned Argentine president Cristina Fernandez administration trade policies which he said take us back 'to the sixties, when everybody locked in', and in effect deny Mercosur and harm other members.
Mercosur must have greater integration, act with an only voice and operate as a block, advised former French president Nicholas Sarkozy at a business conference in Buenos Aires, where he also underlined that without the European Union, France or Germany could have disappeared from the world map
Brazil's influential daily O'Globo called for a drastic change in the country's approach to trade policy arguing that without a review, Mercosur does not work and reveals that the latest signals from Argentina are that it is reluctant to reach a free trade and cooperation agreement in the framework of Mercosur with the European Union.
For Mercosur it is absolutely crucial that the trade and cooperation agreement with the European Union becomes effective said Uruguayan Vice-president Danilo Astori who indicated that Brazil and Uruguay are advancing the agreement at a faster speed than Argentina, which is involved in a more protectionist focus.
Uruguay made a formal complaint against Argentina before Mercosur regarding the administration of President Cristina Fernandez decision banning Argentine exports from transshipment in Uruguayan ports. The complaint was filed on Wednesday in Caracas at Subgroup 5 which addresses Mercosur maritime transport by Uruguay's Deputy Transport minister Pablo Genta.