Technical delegates from Mercosur and the European Union are holding a round of talks in Asunción to consider 'levels of ambition' for the coming exchange of tariff proposals with the purpose of reaching a much delayed free trade agreement, said Paraguayan Deputy Economic Relations minister, Rigoberto Gauto.
Mercosur foreign ministers meeting held this week in Paraguay to decide on the proposal to present the European Union for a trade agreement, apparently was not as satisfactory as announced because of Argentina's reluctance and 'reserves' about opening its market to the EU.
Paraguay’s three branches of government agreed on Monday that Asuncion bears no obligation to repay $85 million borrowed by a representative of the late Gen. Alfredo Stroessner during the waning years of the 1954-1989 military regime.
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.
President Cristina Fernández was present on Sunday in the Paraguayan capital, Asunción to hear Pope Francis give mass during his visit, and greeted the Argentine citizens who had travelled to see the leader of the Catholic church. The head of state left the open mass at around midday, handing Francis a gift before retiring after witnessing the ceremony with Paraguayan counterpart Horacio Cartés.
Pope Francis urged Paraguay to consolidate democracy and end corruption and drug trafficking, after receiving a colorful welcome on Friday at the start of the last leg of his eight-day South American tour.
Argentine President Cristina Fernández will have a meeting with Pope Francis during the Pontiff’s visit to Paraguay, official sources have confirmed. The Argentine leader will travel to Asunción between July 11 and 13 for her sixth encounter with Francis, who will be ending his South American tour during those dates. The Pope will visit Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay, beginning Sunday.
The Mercosur Council will establish an action plan at the next Mercosur presidential summit scheduled for 16/17 July in Brasilia, when the group's chair for the next six months will be handed to Paraguay by Brazil. Other issues on the agenda besides making Mercosur more flexible include addressing the 'special regimes' and the 'free trade zones' in the area, revealed Uruguay's foreign minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa.
Mercosur, ports, energy, trade are among the issues in the agenda that Paraguayan president Horacio Cartes will consider with his counterpart Tabare Vazquez when he makes a one day visit on Thursday to Montevideo, according to the Uruguayan ambassador in Asunción Federico Perazza, ahead of the meeting.
Paraguay believes in a 'single speed' approach to negotiations for a trade agreement between Mercosur and the European Union, but discussions must be more dynamic and wide ranging, said the country's president Horacio Cartes, currently visiting Spain.