Mercosur prepares action plan to reduce barriers to intra-bloc trade

This semester, Mercosur will map out an action plan to highlight what are the tariff and non-tariff barriers hampering intra-zone trade. The measure aims at facilitating the free movement of goods across countries (Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Paraguay, Uruguay and the recently added Bolivia).

2461,comeca-nesta-quinta-feira-a-48-cupula-do-mercosul-em-brasilia-2

Foto: Reprodução/ Roberto Stuckert Filho

The decision was presented on Thursday (16/07) by the foreign ministers of Paraguay and Uruguay during a meeting of the Common Market Council that took place prior to the 48th Summit in Brasilia. Since Friday (17), Paraguay holds the Presidency pro tempore of Mercosur for the next six months.

According to the Paraguayan foreign minister Eladio Loizaga, one of the trade barriers is the export licenses in force. “We want [these barriers] to be overcome because they do not benefit anyone in particular. We all have to grow together in Mercosur, prepare for the challenge of starting negotiations with the European Union and other blocs in the world “, he said.

The trade surplus of Brazil with Mercosur, which has already reached $ 12 billion, fell to around 3 billion in the first half of 2015. Brazilian exports to the bloc are formed by 77% of manufactured goods, with Argentina and Venezuela as major partners. However, imports of that same indicator reach 81%, and Argentina and Uruguay are the largest suppliers – data from Ministério do Desenvolvimento, Indústria e Comércio Exterior/ Secex/ Aliceweb.

An additional measure discussed during that same meeting of the Council is the maintenance until 2021 of exceptional regimes to the Common External Tariff (CET) of Mercosur for Brazil and Argentina. Has also been approved the renewal of the Focem (Fund for Structural Convergence and Institutional Strengthening Mercosur) for 10 years with the current values of contributions. Focem has been live since 2007 and has over 40 projects approved in areas such as real estate, transport, energy and productive integration.

The GDP of Mercosur in 2013 reached US$ 3.3 trillion, equivalent to 77% of the South American economy. The block, in 2014, attracted investments of US$ 72 billion.