Brazil's Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira told Folha de Sao Paulo that a possible free trade agreement between Uruguay and China would endanger the future of the South American Common Market (Mercosur). In Vieira's view, such a move would contradict the bloc's integration policies.
If you negotiate outside the Common External Tariff, you destroy the tariff. Destroying Mercosur is in nobody's interest, Vieira was quoted as saying regarding the Uruguayan government's announcement in July that it had taken the first steps toward a bilateral treaty, thus sparking strong reactions from the three other full Mercosur members.
”If they negotiate with different, lower tariffs, what enters cheaper in that country will circulate in the others, due to the free circulation (of goods),” Vieira pointed out.
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva is due in Montevideo on Wednesday after attending the VII Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) in Buenos Aires. Brazil is rejoining the forum after a long hiatus under former President Jair Bolsonaro.
Regarding Mercosur's future, Vieira explained that it is not the same as when it was created in 1991. We have to look at the needs of each one and the asymmetries that exist, and see if some kind of concession can be made, the Brazilian minister told Folha.
”We must talk with Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay about the present and future of Mercosur (...) and make the necessary adjustments in dialogue with the businessmen of our countries, Vieira also told Télam on Saturday.
Brazil will be playing a leading role in foreign relations this year. The first major presidency will be in the second half of this year, that of Mercosur, succeeding the current presidency, which is held by Argentina, explained Vieira, who has served as Ambassador to Buenos Aires for six years.
In an interview with Perfil, the Foreign Minister added that Mercosur is a fundamental and indispensable instrument in our relationship with the member countries and the region.
President Lula has already said on numerous occasions that we will only be strong and present in the world with a strong Mercosur, which unites us not only in the commercial aspect but also in all other areas, he added.
We will also have a great challenge, which is the presidency of the G20. It is a gigantic operation,” he mentioned.