Mercosur is a success, intra-trade has expanded at double the rate of world trade and despite all the bad press, the block is advancing on other fields such as social affairs and citizenship, according to Ivan Ramalho, Mercosur's High Representative, who is a former Brazilian deputy minister of trade and development issues.
Chile is ready to act as a 'bridge' between Mercosur and the Alliance of the Pacific so that Latin American can have a greater presence in the world state, said Chilean Deputy foreign minister Edgardo Riveros during a conference in Sao Paulo at the Lula da Silva think-tank.
Chile has become a single territory for telecommunications and long distance calls with different rates for fixed lines will no longer exist beginning Saturday. This in practical terms will also means a 50% reduction on normal phone calls.
Brazil confirmed that it will try to bring forward to 2016 the free trade agreement with Chile, Peru and Colombia, scheduled for 2019 and underlined the need for Mercosur and the Pacific Alliance to converge as part of the region's productive integration process.
Brazil will propose next Tuesday, in Caracas, during the Mercosur summit that the group and the Pacific Alliance reach an agreement on free trade by the end of the year, according to official sources from Itamaraty.
Mercosur leaders called for dialogue with the Pacific Alliance over its perception that Mercosur is becoming an obstacle to integration and wider growth in the region. Uruguayan Vice-President Danilo Astori seemingly sparked the debate a few weeks ago when he said that “Mercosur mustn’t be a terminal station,” calling for formal trade deals with the Pacific Alliance.
Mexico's stock exchange plans to be connected to bourses in Chile, Colombia and Peru by year-end through the Latin American Integrated Market, or MILA, nearly doubling the size of the bloc, it was announced in Mexico City.
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet on Friday proposed a September gathering between officials and business leaders from Mercosur and the Pacific Alliance in hopes of creating a tie-up between the two Latin American trade groups.
Colombia and Brazil's presidents Juan Manuel Santos and Dilma Rousseff met in Brasilia to address regional and bilateral affairs and the possibility of closer links between the Pacific Alliance and Mercosur, which are naturally complementary and do not compete among themselves.
The Pacific Alliance will try to 'expand its influence' through agreements with other blocks to improve cooperation in different fields while targeting a wider integration in the region, said Mexico's Economy minister Ildefonso Guajardo. The Alliance is holding its summit this week in Punta Mita, Mexico when the chair of the group will pass from Colombia on to Mexico.