A free trade agreement between Uruguay and China would destroy Mercosur since it contradicts the block's integration policies, according to Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira said in a Sunday interview with Folha de Sao Paulo, a leading daily of the country's financial capital.
Vieira was referring to the Uruguayan government announcement last July that it had started negotiations for a bilateral trade agreement with China, and which triggered much discrepancies among Mercosur members, particularly Argentina and Brazil.
If negotiations take place outside the Common External Tariff, they will destroy the common tariff, and destroying the tariff and Mercosur is in nobody's interest said the Brazilian official.
If negotiations mean different tariffs, mostly lower rates, whatever comes in cheaper in any country member, it will immediately circulate along the block since free circulation of goods is one of the pillars of the agreement, pointed out Vieira who openly opposes the proposals to make the block more flexible.
Brazilian president Lula da Silva will be visiting Uruguay on Wednesday, as part of his first overseas international tour which started this Sunday in Buenos Aires, where on Monday and Tuesday the seventh regional summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean states , Celac will be taking place.
Lula leaves Buenos Aires on Tuesday evening when the Celac summit is over and as part of an important presence of Brazil in regional politics, plus the clear intention of strengthening South American integration, following the four years of a rather erratic president Jair Bolsonaro administration .-
Mercosur is not the same as when it was created. We need to address the needs of each member, and the asymmetries existent, and to see if any further concessions can be instrumented, the head of Brazilian diplomacy said.
In effect the Common External Tariff has faced many exceptions, as those implemented unilaterally both by Brazil and Argentina, admitted Vieira.
It is of most importance that we talk with Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, about the present and future of Mercosur, and make the necessary adjustments with the entrepreneurs of our countries, added the Brazilian official.
As to the EU/Mercosur agreement which is waiting for a resolution after more than two decades, Vieira revealed, We are making the necessary internal analysis...with Mercosur countries, so that we can later retake talks with the EU, and if all is positive, we will advance.
Uruguayan diplomacy believes the presence of president Lula da Sivla and his foreign minister Vieira in Uruguay on Wednesday, be it only for the day will help determine how to advance in Mercosur issues.
Lula was invited by president Luis Lacalle Pou and will be staying in Uruguay until Wednesday evening. Following a first bilateral presidential meeting, they will be joined by foreign ministers Vieira and Bustillo.
In the afternoon Lula and his wife Rosangela Da Silva will be visiting ex president Jose Mujica and wife Lucia Topolanksy at their farm in the outskirts of Montevideo. The Brazilian delegation will be joined by the president of the opposition coalition, Fernando Pereira and the head of the trade unions congress Marcelo Abdala.