President of Uruguay, Luis Lacalle Pou| Photo: Walter Paciello/Presidency of Uruguay
Uruguay announced this Wednesday (7), during the meeting of the Common Market Council (CMC) held by teleconference, that it will start talks with countries outside Mercosur to negotiate trade agreements, which until now has been vetoed by the bloc.
“The position of the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Francisco Bustillo) and the Minister of Economy and Finance (Azucena Arbeleche) was to defend the modernization of the bloc through a substantive, agile, dynamic, flexible and permanent agenda of external negotiations”, he said. the Uruguayan government through a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In the note, Uruguay said it understood that decision 32/00, which prohibits the individual signing of agreements by member countries, is not in force because “it was never internalized”.
Paraguay, in turn, defended joint Mercosur negotiations with countries outside the group and with other blocs. The Paraguayan Foreign Minister, Euclides Acevedo, appealed during the CMC meeting for the founding rules of the bloc and the objectives established in the Treaty of Asunción, signed 30 years ago. He also stressed the importance of decisions within Mercocul being taken by consensus.
According to sources from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Argentina, which ends its period in the bloc’s rotating presidency, the CMC meeting was attended by the country’s chancellor, Felipe Solá, in addition to Brazilian Carlos Alberto França, Paraguayan Euclides Acevedo and Uruguayan Francisco Bustillo . The chancellor of Bolivia, Rogelio Mayta, also participated as a guest and because his country is in the process of joining the group.
This Thursday, the Summit of Heads of State of Mercosur, Associated Countries and Special Guests will be held, also virtually, at which Argentina will officially transfer the biannual presidency to Brazil. The meeting will debate, among other issues, the bloc’s trade strategy, which has generated strong internal divergences in recent months.
Both the host, Argentine President Alberto Fernández, Jair Bolsonaro, Mario Abdo Benítez (Paraguay), and Luis Lacalle Pou (Uruguay) will speak.