BUENOS AIRES – Argentine President Mauricio Macri and his Brazilian counterpart, Michel Temer, agreed on Monday on the need to strengthen the Mercosur trade bloc and to make its rules more “flexible” to “give certain autonomy to the (member) states in their international relations.”
The pair held an official meeting in Buenos Aires, after which they gave a press conference at which they remarked on their two countries’ stances vis-a-vis the present and future of the trade bloc, which also includes Uruguay, Paraguay and Venezuela.
After noting the “historic ties” linking his country with Argentina and the “similarity of positions” with the Macri government, Temer emphasized the need to work together to “strengthen Mercosur” and make its rules more flexible to give countries more international autonomy.
“That’s the challenge, to believe in what we can do and build if we integrate ourselves. It’s conquering fears. I think that from 1991 – when the bloc was founded – up to now, we’ve made much progress, at other times we’ve moved backwards ... But now we see that the world has an enormous attraction to Mercosur,” said Macri.
The Argentine leader noted that the pair had exchanged offers with the European Union “to start down a road that will take many years.”
“There are many countries and regions that are asking us if we really have free trade treaties and trade more. On that road, clearly we have to prepare ourselves,” he added, emphasizing the need to protect jobs in each country but look for “conditions” under which to create new ones, since the current number of jobs “is not enough.”
Macri said that Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay have a “long road” behind them of building “unity” and of “shared learning” that must have “better frameworks” for progress for their people as its final result.
“We can work together to strengthen Mercosur as a South American institution,” said Temer.