ASUNCION – Foreign Ministers of Mercosur nations agreed to widen ties with countries such as China and Russia, besides its existing ones with the European Union, to achieve its goal of free movement of goods and services.
The information was provided by Foreign Minister Eladio Loizaga of Paraguay, the country holding the temporal presidency of Mercosur, while addressing reporters Sunday.
“We have agreed that Mercosur has to advance in its relations, not just with the EU, but with all other countries such as Canada, Japan, Russia or China,” said Loizaga.
He added this philosophy is in line with the first article of the Treaty of Asuncion, which led to the creation of Mercosur in 1991.
“It is essential that Mercosur revisits its origins, the first article of free circulation of goods, services and factors of production,” he said in a press conference held after Common Market Council meetings.
EU-Mercosur negotiations to reach the long-awaited trade agreement between the two blocs were also back on the ministers’ agenda, which largely depends on the exchange of trade offers.
Loizaga underlined Mercosur is ready to begin the process and is awaiting a response from the EU, and said the process must carry on ahead, next under Uruguay’s presidency.
This year, EU and Mercosur have been preparing their list of offers; however, no dates have been finalized to kick-start negotiations.
Loizaga also spoke of a meeting between Mercosur and the Pacific Alliance, scheduled for next semester, where they would look to align postures and possibly reach economic agreements.
He added it is an added advantage that some states are members of both Mercosur and the Pacific Alliance.
A summit of the Heads of State Monday will bring together the presidents of Paraguay (Horacio Cartes), Argentina (Mauricio Macri), Uruguay (Tabare Vazquez) and Brazil (Dilma Rousseff).
Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez will fill in for Nicolas Maduro, who will be unable to attend the meeting.