Mercosur will be holding a special meeting of foreign ministers next 15 November in Caracas to consolidate “Mercosur presentation before the European Union”, according to a release from the Argentine Foreign ministry.
Foreign ministers from Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Bolivia and Venezuela held a meeting in Caracas this week, which also included President Nicolas Maduro, and reiterated Mercosur interest in reaching a trade and cooperation agreements which “effectively acknowledges the development differences between both blocs”.
This includes the power to implement policies that preserve the development model with social inclusion which have enabled our countries in recent years to address social inequalities inside the region, and also contribute to boost global demand in a context of international crisis“.
Finally the release points out that in the development of this process, it will hold on to an only position among member countries”.
Mercosur and the European Union have been negotiating a trade and cooperation agreement since 1999, but talks have succumbed on several occasions and finally in 2010 were retaken. However the main difference remains: Mercosur wants ample access for farm produce and the EU for its manufactured goods and access to the services sector.
Besides Mercosur member countries have different positions regarding promotion and access to domestic markets, with Argentina and Brazil the most protective to that effect.
It has been agreed that before the end of the year the two blocs will exchange proposals (list of goods and services) to consider for trade liberalization and lower tariffs’ system.
Foreign ministers also agreed to promote talks with other regional organizations with the purpose of building a complementary economic and trade zone in the continent.
Venezuelan foreign minister Elias Jaua said that the other regional spaces considered in the event of a complementation were the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our America (ALBA), energy cooperation platform Petrocaribe and the Caribbean Community (Caricom).
In other issues Minister Jaua said the group, as in the last summit in Montevideo, condemned global espionage and, in particular, against Mercosur presidents undertaken by US intelligence data gathering agencies.
Jaua also reported about a phone call received from the foreign minister of Paraguay Eladio Loizaga who greeted the ministerial meeting and apologized for not attending.
Besides Jaua, the other ministers attending were: Hector Timerman from Argentina; Luis Almagro from Uruguay; Luiz Alberto Figueiredo, Brazil and Bolivia’s David Choquehuanca, since the country is in the process of incorporation as full member of Mercosur.
At the closing of the meeting President Maduro called for tighter cohesion and integration of Mercosur, so as to achieve a ‘new economy’ for Latin America.
“It is our aspiration that at the coming Mercosur summit in Caracas next December, we can design with greater clarity the proposal sponsored in this meeting of foreign ministers. We are proposing the creation of a powerful economic development shared zone for the continent”, said Maduro.