Foreign Affairs minister Celos Amorim implicitly admitted that access to the Brazilian market for other Latin American countries, including Mercosur, is not easy because of a proliferation of non trade barriers which has resulted in large surpluses with most of the region’s countries.
“Brazil has to be more open, and not only with regard to tariffs. What’s the use of lowering tariffs if so many other difficulties are created?” said Amorim acknowledging protests from many of regional countries referred to non-trade barriers imposed by Brazil to its partners.
“We must think if these products confront the same difficulties when they circulate inside Brazil”, added Amorim.
The minister also admitted that because of these difficulties Brazil has a strong trade surplus with many of the region’s countries which generates conflicting situations.
Amorim admitted most complaints that reach his office refer to Brazilian non-trade barriers such as “sanitary, phytosanitary and technical controls” both at federal and state level.
The minister acknowledged that the Brazilian bureaucracy resists lifting barriers.
“We discuss liberating the services sector with Untied States and the European Union, but we don’t discuss the issue with our Mercosur partners. We must give a leap forward in the services and investment sectors”, said Amorim.
Mercosur full members Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay have repeatedly complained about technical control barriers to access the Brazilian market which has led to on-going disputes particularly with Argentina that is also involved in a domestic industry protection policy.
Uruguay, which has the most open economy of Mercosur four full members and would like to further lower tariffs following the Chilean model, has reiterated it would like to reach trade agreements with third parties but is conditioned by the veto from any of its associates. All Mercosur decisions on the issue demand a consensus.