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.
The comment belongs to foreign minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa that has been the most outspoken official about Uruguay's frustration with the workings of Mercosur.
Our maximum aspiration is for the summit to agree on making Mercosur more transparent, on admitting our shortcomings and the commitment to overcome them. We believe a six-month period should be enough for results to become effective, said Nin Novoa.
Otherwise we must admit that Mercosur has become a failure, it does not work as it should, which is a free trade block.
Article 1 of the Mercosur 1991 founding charter is not being complied: there is no free circulation of goods, services and production factors, which is to be achieved through the elimination of customs duties and non tariff restrictions to goods circulation, and any other equivalent measure, this has never happened, insisted the Uruguayan official.
Hopefully the implementation of this plan we have in mind to end restrictions should take place during the six months of Paraguay as head of Mercosur. Paraguay is scheduled to take Mercosur chair on Friday; this is our maximum aspiration, which Uruguay hopes to continue in the following six months when it then holds the chair during the first half of next year.
Nin Novoa said Uruguay will insist that Mercosur members must agree to faithfully comply with article 1 of the Mercosur charter since we must eliminate all those obstacles to inter-trade.
Nin Nova said that other issues which interest Uruguay are the special regimes, capital goods, agriculture supplies and temporary admission licensing.
Efforts to reach a trade agreement with the European Union is another of Uruguay's objectives, so that we can have our technical and political teams sort out the proposals to exchange with the EU.
Nino Novoa revealed that Mercosur is waiting for news from the EU on the proposals and dates, since they also have their problems, but after the summit I plan to meet with them and comment on our advances.
Finally the Uruguayan official also talked about TISA, the Trade in Services Agreement, in the framework of the World Trade Organization which is intended to liberalize trade in services. Uruguay requested to participate a year ago, but it has become a highly controversial and political issue.
September 15 is the time limit for our aspirations. We are working on a draft, we'll discuss at the cabinet, show it to all political groups and then we'll see if we accept or not the terms of an agreement of this kind. Accepting TISA means that we are all convinced that the initiative will be beneficial for Uruguay, concluded Nin Novoa.