Chancellors gear up for Mercosur summit assembly

This will be Brazil’s last meeting as bloc president

Published in 05/12/2019 - 08:07 By José Romildo - Brasília

The foreign ministers of Mercosur member countries gathered Wednesday (Dec. 4) in the city of Bento Gonçalves, in Vale dos Vinhedos, Rio Grande do Sul State, to prepare for the 55th summit meeting of heads of state of Mercosur and associated states, at which Brazil is to step down from his six-month post as Mercosur president.

Under Brazil’s administration, Mercosur restated its commitment to democratic values, and stressed “its original vocation for open regionalism [towards other economic blocs] and sought to adopt a pragmatic approach, with concrete results for citizens, said Pedro Miguel da Costa e Silva, secretary for Bilateral and Regional Negotiations in the Americas.

“This summit is a source of pride, as Mercosur has displayed an agenda of openness and defense of democracy during Brazil’s tenure,” he stated. He went on to describe the bloc as “a mirror of the work Brazil has conducted internally.”

Among Brazil’s accomplishments as pro tempore president, Ambassador Pedro Miguel mentioned the conclusion of the trade deal with the European Union in August, and also the agreement with the European Free Trade Association, comprised by Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein. He noted that the hectic foreign agenda also includes pacts with Canada, Singapore, Lebanon, and South Chorea, with dialog with Vietnam and Indonesia, and Colombia and the Pacific Alliance locally.

The ambassador also mentioned that Mercosur has made significant strides in border cooperation, consumer’s defense, and food security and nutrition. Institutionally, the Brazilian presidency continued the efforts to streamline the bloc, with lower costs and less red tape.

In commerce, the balance was favorable for Brazil in 2018. The country exported $20.83 billion to Mercosur and imported $13.37 billion, a surplus of $7.46 billion.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Nira Foster

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