Paraguay's Foreign minister Eladio Loizaga said on Monday that at the latest in early February Mercosur and the European Union would be exchanging their tariff reduction proposals for the much delayed free trade agreement. The deadline originally was December but it was delayed on request from Brussels.
One of Paraguay's priorities is to make the country the world's fifth exporter of beef by 2018, according to Industry and Trade minister Gustavo Leite. The land locked member of Mercosur currently holds the eighth position.
The Economist has dedicated an article to the recently inaugurated Paraguayan president Horacio Cartes, and his attempts to improve the living conditions of the majority of a population which is poor in a country rich in agriculture and energy.
Paraguay is waiting for the formality of a Wednesday vote in the Lower House floor to acknowledge the controversial incorporation of Venezuela as full member of Mercosur, putting an end to an 18 months political and diplomatic rift in the block. The Deputies' Constitution Affairs and Foreign Affairs committees on Tuesday afternoon approved Venezuela's Mercosur incorporation protocol, which means all is ready for the full house expected positive vote.
The Paraguayan Senate finally passed on Tuesday afternoon, with a large majority a protocol for including Venezuela as full member of Mercosur. The protocol, which was submitted to Congress by President Horacio Cartes, was supported 29-10.
EU/US/UK ambassadors openly support Paraguayan prosecutors investigating corruption and abuse in Congress
The United States, European Union and UK ambassadors in Asuncion openly expressed their support for Paraguay prosecutors that have been threatened by members of Congress because they insist in investigating lawmakers that are allegedly involved in corruption cases.
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.
The new Paraguayan government of President Horacio Cartes is rapidly formalizing relations with its Mercosur partners. On Tuesday the ambassador that will represent the country in Venezuela, Enrique Jara took the oath of office, which in fact means full normalization of relations with the country ruled by Nicolas Maduro.The ceremony at Government House in Asunción was headed by President Cartes and cabinet members.
The World Organization for Animal Health, OIE restored Paraguay with the status of free of foot and mouth disease, FMD, with vaccination, a condition it had lost back in September 2011. The news was confirmed in Asunción by Paraguay's Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Jorge Gattini
Paraguayan president Horacio Cartes will not be participating in the Mercosur summit scheduled to be held next month in Caracas, capital of Venezuela, which currently holds the rotating chair of the bloc, according to Paraguay foreign minister Eladio Loizaga.