German Chancellor Angela Merkel pressed Brazil's government on Thursday to further open its markets to foreign companies, and said she saw an opportunity to reach a free-trade deal between the European Union and the Mercosur trade bloc. Merkel is on a two-day visit to Brazil with a large delegation of government officials and representatives from German companies.
Uruguay's foreign minister said on Friday that nobody supports the proposal from the Brazilian Senate president Renan Calheiros to put an end to the Mercosur customs union. However he did point out that he proposal exposed that the block effectively is 'not working' and needs to have its foundations reviewed.
Renan Calheiros, president of the Brazilian Senate, and the man who could help President Dilma Rousseff avoid impeachment in Congress, has proposed a package of measures to rescue Brazil from its current stagflation, but among his demands is “an end to the customs union of Mercosur”.
Technical teams from Mercosur country members are scheduled to meet next Tuesday in Paraguay to iron out the final proposal to be presented by the group to the European Union for the long delayed trade and cooperation agreement. The meeting in Asunción will be headed by Rigoberto Gauto, who is currently the Mercosur coordinator since Paraguay holds this half year the rotating chair.
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.