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'Mercosur does not exist': Uruguay should try a one to one deal with the Europe

Sunday, February 1st 2015 - 20:47 UTC
Full article 15 comments
“There is no excuse for not attempting a one-to-one agreement with the EU, because other countries in the continent have followed that path” said Riezler “There is no excuse for not attempting a one-to-one agreement with the EU, because other countries in the continent have followed that path” said Riezler
Argentine president Cristina Fernandez has been the less willing to agree with the EU, but Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay have shown the most interest Argentine president Cristina Fernandez has been the less willing to agree with the EU, but Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay have shown the most interest

Mercosur does not exist; Uruguay is losing precious time and should try a one to one trade agreement with the European Union, according to Paul Riezler, president of the Euro-Chamber in Uruguay and of the Uruguay-Germany Commerce and Industry Chamber.

 “Uruguay is losing precious time, Mercosur does not exist and there is no excuse for not attempting a one to one trade agreement with the EU, because other countries in the continent have followed that path despite what the EU officially states”, said Riezler.

The business leader insisted “yes, the EU says it only negotiates at blocks' level, but it also happens it has signed agreements with Chile, Mexico, Colombia, Peru. Evidence is that Europe in theory says it does not sign, but in practical terms it does sign agreements with individual countries, the only thing we can add is that Uruguay has been losing time”.

Riezler admits that some of the difficulties to reach an agreement are from the EU, but “Mercosur also has its share”.

In effect the administration of Argentine president Cristina Fernandez has been the less willing to agree with the EU, but Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay have shown the most interest on reaching the long delayed trade agreement.

“Uruguay can reach an agreement with the EU, through Mercosur or if not on its own. But not in three years time, the right moment is now, Uruguay can't afford to lose more time”, insisted Riezler.

He also pointed out that in the block to block negotiations, Uruguay has adopted the correct diplomatic policy, behind Brazil and supporting 'big brother', “he defends the initiative and also gets the blows”, but at some point if things don't move, “Uruguay has to face it: we do it with them or we do it on our own”.

However reaching a Uruguay-EU agreement could have consequences with Mercosur members, but these must be addressed 'politically' and anyhow such an accord will always be better than “possible good or bad” deals that could be developed with Argentina.

Riezler said that a good moment for the change of trade agreements' strategy could be when the new Uruguayan administration takes office next March first. “I feel that the incoming government is very much committed to Mercosur, but I also feel that if results are not forthcoming, they might say, 'well if we can't do it together, we'll have to do it on our own'”.

Last July Mercosur members finally agreed to a joint proposal which is to be discussed and exchanged with the EU proposal. However last November the new European Community authorities took office and it was decided to wait for a new timetable of exchanges.

In September Alvaro Ons, Uruguay's head of the Integration Department in the foreign ministry warned that without an exchange of trade proposals it was hard to be 'optimistic' about a deal in the short term.

Mercosur/EU negotiations took off in 1999 and were later stalled for different motives until 2010. That year it was understood that December 2013 was the time limit for the exchange of trade proposals. However the protectionist measures implemented by Argentina and challenged at the WTO by the EU and US became an obstacle, besides the fact that several EU members, (France and Ireland mainly) were reluctant to agree on agriculture.

Likewise since Mercosur decisions are by consensus, and Argentina fearing the loss of its Brazilian market share to the EU, the administration of Cristina Fernandez was ever so reluctant to have the group reach an understanding.

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  • Skip

    Simple!

    Sign a deal and then see what Mercosur does. I bet the other countries will be too afraid to kick Uruguay out because that will give Paraguay ideas and then Mercosur will be nothing but Brazil being held back by two deadbeats: Argentina and Venezuela, who will never do anything to advance Brazil.

    Feb 02nd, 2015 - 05:55 am 0
  • ChrisR

    It all comes down to 'No Money Pepe', the ex-Tupas murdering commie bastard who is our president until March.

    He has said he would do a lot of things but has done almost nothing. The useless windmills, giving money to 'the poor' (instead of providing jobs) and legalising pot come to mind.

    He sees the other countries as 'brothers' and has not done a thing to break that charade throughout the tenure of his presidency.

    Vasquez, a second timer at the presidency should be more proactive but there are an immense number of illiterate and innumerate dead heads in the ‘Broad Fraud’ conglomeration of tiny little parties who still fight among themselves for a chance at ‘power’.

    I am always hopeful about Uruguay but very often disappointed. The ‘politicians’ at local and ‘government’ level seem childlike, lacking in worldly experience and out for what they can get. SA in miniature.

    Feb 02nd, 2015 - 10:53 am 0
  • Conqueror

    It's questionable whether Urineguay would ever get to sign a deal with the EU. Certainly the huge numbers of people in the UK who support the Falkland Islands would probably object. A trade deal with a little country with nothing meaningful to offer AND supports argieland and its illegal 'claim' AND even suggests it has a 'claim' itself. Will Urineguay want a deal with the EU (excluding the UK). Which other EU members will decide they can do without such a useless little place. I wonder whether Urinos have ever thought that, without a British flotilla outside Montevideo, the captain of the Graf Spee might have decided to turn his guns on the city to get his way? Although Hans Langsdorff was very much a gentleman.

    Feb 02nd, 2015 - 12:06 pm 0
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