A free trade deal between Uruguay and China would undermine Mercosur by going against the bloc’s integration policy, Brazil’s Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira said in an interview published Sunday. Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper.
Vieira hinted that the Uruguayan government announced in July that it had taken the first steps to negotiate a bilateral deal with the Asian giant.
“If you negotiate outside the Common External Tariff, you are destroying the tariff. Destroying Mercosur is in no one’s interest,” the foreign minister told the newspaper.
“If they negotiate a different, lower tariff, what’s cheaper in that country will circulate in other countries because circulation is free.” [of goods]’ said the foreign minister, who opposed moves to make the bloc’s rules more flexible.
Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva will visit Uruguay on Wednesday on his first international tour, visit Argentina on Sunday, and the 7th Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) on Tuesday. be done.
Lula leaves for Buenos Aires to restore Brazil’s regional prominence and strengthen South American integration mechanisms such as Mercosur, following the regime of far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro.
The bloc, founded in 1991, is in crisis amid tensions between partners and initiatives to become more flexible, backed by Bolsonaro.
“MERCOSUR is not the same as when it was created. We need to look at the needs of each country and the asymmetries that exist and see if we can make any concessions,” said the Brazilian minister. Folha.
The Common External Tariff (CET) referred to by Vieira had multiple exceptions, including those unilaterally applied by Argentina and Brazil.
“We need to discuss the present and future of Mercosur with Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay (…) and make the necessary adjustments in dialogue with businessmen from both countries,” Vieira said on Saturday. told Teram.
The big differences within the block were revealed at the MERCOSUR Summit in Montevideo last December.
In particular, the partners accused the Uruguayan government of starting negotiations with China without their consent, as required by the group’s rules.
Vieira, meanwhile, referred to an agreement that Mercosur has sought to flesh out with the European Union for more than two decades. If the analysis is positive, we move forward. ”
Lula said the agreement was not valid and that he hoped to discuss a version that respects “Brazil’s wishes” and does not force the abandonment of “re-industrialization”.