Potentiate Mercosur to reach trade agreements with the rest of the world, soften the rules and bet on less protectionist policies were some of the objectives outlined on Monday by the presidents of Brazil and Argentina, the two large South American economies in difficulty and whose governments are in full tuning policy.
After his visit to Buenos Aires, Michel Temer made a lightning visit to Paraguay, where he met with Paraguayan President Horacio Cortes, one of the first heads of state to recognize the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff.
Temer and the president of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, showed in Buenos Aires affinity in economic matters, in relation to the Venezuelan crisis and support for Colombia to implement the peace agreement with the FARC, rejected by the people in a referendum last Sunday.
“We believe in a globalized world full of global challenges, which is why we strengthened and We leverage Mercosur, for squarely facing the relationship with the world”, expressed Macri.
Amid the protest of about twenty protesters chanting “Fora Temer” (away Temer), the Brazilian president expressed the need to soften the rules for the block.
“In order to strengthen Mercosur as a South American institution that has an interest in the world, the two main steps are to reach a formal agreement in Mercosur and relax a bit the Block rules to give some autonomy to Member States,” said Temer .
Both presidents, pro-free market, considered a priority move into an agreement with the European Union.
“The European Union has exchanged offers with Mercosur to begin a path that will take years,” Macri said.
“We realize that the world is very interested in Mercosur. There are many countries that ask for in the free trade and more exchanges,” Macri said.
After the signing of agreements between foreign ministers and a typical Argentine barbecue at the presidential residence in Buenos Aires, Temer left for Paraguay.
Arriving in Asuncion, the Brazilian president said he intends to visit “other States of South America to collaborate with Latin American nations integration.
Temer said he agreed “completely” with Macri and stressed that the two countries live the same problems: poverty and unemployment. ”
Brazil and Argentina, first and third economy in Latin America respectively, are going through a tough recession. Therefore, the two leaders are multiplying diplomatic efforts to attract foreign investment, while employment and economic activity fall.
Brazil is the main destination of Argentine exports and Argentina is the third largest trading partner of Brazil, after China and the United States. Bilateral trade totaled $23 billion in 2015 and 14 billion in the first eight months of 2016, according to Foreign Ministry data.
The Argentine consultant ABECEB estimates that 2016 will end with a deficit for Buenos Aires of $4 billion dollars, and that the exchange stopped falling.
According to Dante Sica, director of the company, “today’s discussion is not about whether to grow (the exchange), but as how much it will grow. And if Brazil grows 1%, it’s excellent news for the industry in general.”
Macri said the relationship with Brazil “está bem, tudo joia e tudo legal”, he said jokingly in Portuguese. (it means: all good, all ok and all cool).
Both Presidents reaffirmed dozens of bilateral commitments existing among other nuclear cooperation, and highlighted the presence of the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC).
– Peace in Colombia, eye on Venezuela –
Temer and Macri were asked about the subjects that focus attention on the region: the rejection in a referendum the peace agreement in Colombia and the severe crisis affecting Venezuela.
“We seek a choice of peace in Colombia. Maximal efforts and desires are to come to peace. This is useful for Colombia and all the countries in South America,” Temer said.
Macri said the little difference between “No” and “Yes” “shows that there are many people who believe in the way of an agreement, and certainly many of those who voted against should want the same, but with another kind of agreement.” “We hope the conditions are generated,” he added.
On Venezuela, both exhibited a monolithic stance and reminded the ultimatum given to Caracas to “meet the requirements” to fully integrate the regional bloc.
Temer ensures that the goal is not to take Venezuela away from Mercosur. Macri said they are concerned about the “violation of human rights” and the rejection of the revoking referendum to President Nicolas Maduro request by the opposition.