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Montevideo, March 3rd 2024 - 23:16 UTC

 

 

Paraguay takes over rotating presidency of Mercosur; FTA with Singapore announced

Friday, December 8th 2023 - 09:43 UTC
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“I invite you to dream big together,” Peña told his fellow Presidents “I invite you to dream big together,” Peña told his fellow Presidents

“There is no Mercosur where only some people do well,” said Paraguayan President Santiago Peña on taking up his new role within the bloc, which in his view is bound for “great achievements.” Peña underlined that, globally, Mercosur faced four challenges: access to water, food security, energy sufficiency, and resilience in logistics chains.

 “There is no Mercosur where only some people do well,” said Paraguayan President Santiago Peña on taking up his new role within the bloc, which in his view is bound for “great achievements.” Peña underlined that, globally, Mercosur faced four challenges: access to water, food security, energy sufficiency, and resilience in logistics chains.

“If our nations continue to work in isolation, we risk diluting all this potential. And it is in our hands to give renewed impetus to this bloc. It is our privilege and also the undelegable responsibility of each one of us. That is why I propose that together we undertake an ambitious regional infrastructure development plan,” he argued.

The Paraguayan president also addressed the importance of the Paraguay-Paraná Waterway and the Bioceanic Corridor linking ports on the Atlantic coast to those on the Pacific. “I invite you to dream big together,” Peña told his fellow Presidents.

Singapore

“Mercosur is growing and reaffirming itself in the international scenario”, said Brazilian Vice President Geraldo Alckmin regarding the agreement with the Asian country. “Mercosur is growing and asserting itself on the international scene,” added Alckmin, who is also Brazil's Minister of Industry and Trade.

Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou pointed out that Singapore “has become a logistic hub for the whole [Asian] area” which makes it “an enclave for Mercosur towards the region.”

Bolivia

The admission of new members to Mercosur needs to be approved by the Parliaments of all the other countries. Bolivia's case had been delayed by Brazil under former President Jair Bolsonaro, but that changed this year with the political shift. From now on, Bolivia will have to adjust progressively to the trade, production, tariff, and technical standards of the bloc.

Lula took the Summit to sign into law the Brazilian Senate bill granting full membership to Bolivia. “It's official: Bolivia belongs to Mercosur!” Lula announced.

”We thank dear President Lula, who today enacted the Protocol of Accession of Bolivia to the Southern Common Market as a full member, an important historical milestone in regional integration (sic),“ Bolivian President Luis Arce Catacora wrote on social media.

During his speech at the Summit, Arce said that integration was the ”best path“ to strengthen and achieve greater development. ”We are convinced that if we walk together, all countries will be able to reach the goal faster, united we are much stronger,“ he pointed out in addition to proposing the regionalization of the fight against drug trafficking and the creation of a brigade to fight wildfires. ”Perhaps by joining forces we could have a brigade at the regional level, at the Mercosur level, that could have the capacity to go to help where these types of events occur,” he added.

The European Union

After the ratification of the deal with the European Union (EU) was officially postponed, Lacalle Pou said it would not be wise for Mercosur to further pursue this path: “After 25 years are we going to continue?” he wondered.

The Uruguayan President thus concurred with Peña who had announced that under him Mercosur would take other courses of action if such an agreement could not be concluded while Lula was still rotating president of Mercosur.

“Uruguay has insisted, it is not the first time it has done so, in adding the modernization concept, but someone else spoke of modernization, not only was it formally spoken but President Lula when he went to Uruguay spoke of modernizing the bloc,” Lacalle also said while reckoning Lula's efforts regarding the European case.

In his last international appearance just days before leaving office, Argentine President Alberto Fernández insisted that “we all have the same will to make Mercosur strong.” He also underlined the “new geopolitical debate ... in which the US hegemony is being challenged.”

“Europe is also crunching” after Brexit plus “the war in Ukraine” among other events, Fernández argued as he foresaw “a huge trade war with two protagonists: one that does not want to give in and feels weaker, which is the United States, and another one that feels powerful, which is China.”

In this scenario, he said the Mercosur pact with the European Union was “essential to avoid being trapped in the bipolarity of China and the United States.” However, “for it to be essential it requires that it serves us all, that it is a pact where we all win, because if one is going to win and the rest is going to lose, that is not a good pact,” Fernández stressed.

“Your farewell is a sad farewell for me, who am your personal friend, but I hope that we will continue our friendly relationship,” Lula told Fernandez.

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