Uruguay’s FM says more unilateral trade deals could be announced soon

Saturday, September 11, 2021 – 09:42 UTC

Bustillo highlighted Mercosur’s poor performance in concluding international trade agreements

Uruguayan Foreign Minister Francisco Bustillo said on Friday that besides China, there were several other countries interested in concluding individual trade agreements with his country.

Bustillo made the remarks during a visit to the traditional Expo Prado de Montevideo fair, which is due to open today.

?? Soon we may be able to make another announcement, ?? Bustillo pointed out. He also said that the three other members of Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay) would also be informed of the progress of the negotiations in Uruguay.

?? Not just with China. There are already other countries that have expressed interest in us, so we may be able to make another announcement shortly. Bustillo said. ?? We continue to claim our membership in Mercosur, ?? he added.

Bustillo also reiterated Uruguay’s position against the double perception of the common external tariff, which goes against the grain. it could be a healthy customs union. ?? He added that Mercosur was still far from being a customs union. What we need to recognize is that we are, at best, an imperfect free trade area, ?? he explained.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs also recalled that when the bloc was created, there was talk of opening up to the world under the “Mercosur brand, ?? but this has led to negotiations like the one with the European Union, which have not yet materialized. Mercosur has shown a great inability to present achievements in this regard, ?? Bustillo said, adding that in 11 years, Mercosur has failed to reach a single agreement on international insertion, while 172 such trade agreements have been signed around the world elsewhere involving “many countries and many blocks “.

Earlier this week, Uruguay announced that it would seek to strike a free trade agreement with China, which is expressly not permitted by the founding charters of Mercosur.

Regarding the Uruguayan initiative, Argentinian Minister of Development Matías Kulfas had declared that “you can conclude a bilateral agreement with China outside Mercosur or you can continue within Mercosur”.

“There is no particular post. It is clear that Uruguay is a sovereign country. You can make the decision that you think is the most convenient ??? Kulfas said.

“The economy of Uruguay is different from that of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. There are productive heterogeneities. We are open to discuss and discuss. What I am saying is that the Mercosur framework is governed by the rule of consensus and by the rule that it negotiates as a bloc, ”Kulfas also underlined.

Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou also announced that his country intended to “do it with everyone; it’s not one or the other, if the United States wants it, we’ll do it ”too. ?? Uruguay is turning words into action because we want prosperity for our compatriots, ?? he added.

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