“We are liberal but not stupid,” said Brazil's Economy Minister Paulo Guedes Thursday during a virtual event where he explained that his country has no intention of leaving Mercosur, but it does want to modernize it.
In line with Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou's demands at the last bloc Summit, Guedes explained he favoured the reduction of the common external tariff and the modification of Mercosur's founding document, namely the Treaty of Asunción, to allow member countries to negotiate agreements unilaterally with other blocs or countries.
We are not going to leave Mercosur. We want to continue with integration but it is not working as it should. We want to modernize Mercosur, Guedes said at a business event called Coalizao Industria. He added that within Mercosur trade has dwindled by two-thirds since the bloc's inception in 1991.
The minister also lashed out at the direction of Brazil's automotive industry. Our automotive industry was shrinking ... we should have sold cars to Korea because we started producing them before they did, said the ultra-liberal minister who vindicates the Chilean dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, for which he worked in the education sector.
Guedes denied that the closure of the three Ford factories in Brazil had to do with a lack of trust in the government of President Jair Bolsonaro. It is a sector threatened by the electric or hydrogen car. Ford left Brazil, not because of our government but because it is a sector in difficulties throughout the world, he argued.
What the minister did not mention was that Ford has been boosting plants in Argentina and Uruguay.
The virtual event was marked by 'zoombombing', a virtual attack by strangers causing uproar in the broadcast.
When asked by industry businessmen about the commercial opening that the government was promoting, he replied: We are liberal but not stupid.
Guedes also said he does not intend to create taxes to combat the fiscal deficit and that the solution is to adjust the budget. But in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Brazil is committed to both health and the economy.
He added that a disorganized economy in the middle of a pandemic..., the country sinks. Look at the drama of Venezuela and Argentina.