Argentine Foreign Ministers Santiago Cafiero Friday welcomed his Paraguayan counterpart Euclides Acevedo at the Palacio San Martín in Buenos Aires to discuss bilateral issues.
Both officials agreed on the need to review Mercosur's Common External Tariffs, among other topics, such as the reopening of land crossings between the two countries.
With the Foreign Minister of Paraguay, we are working together to strengthen Mercosur and enhance our bilateral agenda, the Argentine Foreign Minister said on social media.
Cafiero and Acevedo agreed reviewing the CET would be pivotal to Mercosur's adjustment to 21st Century reality and negotiations in that direction are well under way with the other two partners - Brazil and Uruguay. The CET review process began two years ago and has a maximum of 35%, while on average it reaches 12% compared to a global average of 5.5%.
Last Friday, oct. 8, Cafiero had met in Brasilia with Brazil's FM Carlos Alberto Franco França, after which they spoke of a necessary consensus for a 10% CET reduction, which was regarded as a sign of detente after diplomatic controversies on the matter earlier this year.
Friday's meeting between Cafiero and Acevedo focused on a bilateral agenda and the need to strengthen Mercosur, for which they proposed that future trade agreements have the presence of all member countries. Both foreign ministers also hoped for a prompt meeting of the Argentina-Paraguay Bilateral Trade Monitoring Commission to advance on economic issues regarding trade and investments.
Cafiero and Acevedo also discussed an ongoing project to strengthen satellite connectivity between Arsat and Copaco, to achieve interconnection of each country's optic fiber networks with the points where international Internet providers are located.
They also agreed to gradually reopen the three border crossings (to / from the Argentine provinces of Formosa, Misiones and Corrientes) which have been closed for about a year and a half due to COVID-19 restrictions. The new measures need to follow proper sanitary protocols, the officials stressed.
They agreed to highlight the need for common work against organized crime and drug trafficking, ... to deepen cooperation for the exchange of technology and experiences that reinforce the shared security agenda, the Argentine Government's statement went on.