This Monday (26), Uruguay officially presents to its Mercosur partners its proposal to relax negotiations on the trade bloc and allow member countries to conclude unilateral trade agreements with third parties.
According to the draft document circulated by the Uruguayan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the proposal establishes that, under certain conditions, member countries can engage in negotiations “collectively or individually”.
“Countries that enter into negotiations must inform the GMC (Common Market Group), the executive body of Mercosur and provide the requested information. Likewise, they must keep the GMC informed of the development and progress of the negotiations ”, indicates the text of the Uruguayan proposal.
The initiative will be submitted for evaluation at an extraordinary meeting of the Common Market Council chaired by Argentina, to be held this Monday in a virtual and confidential manner. Foreign and finance ministers from all member countries will participate in the meeting.
Uruguay and Paraguay want to end the internal Mercosur rule which prevents each country from seeking trade agreements with third parties without the consent of the partners.
Since the agreement that created the Southern Common Market in 1991, the four members of the bloc – Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay – have not been able to reach a common external tariff and , in 2000, resolution 32/2000 established that member countries committed to “negotiate jointly”.
“Mercosur evolves by consensus and it is a subject which is not irrelevant when analyzing Mercosur decisions: there is no vote,” Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou said on Monday. journalists.
“If everyone does not agree, Mercosur does not move forward. What we plan to do is to directly address this point: those who do not wish to move forward, for whatever reason, must allow other partners to move forward, ”he added.
The initiative is in principle opposed by Argentina, whose President Lacalle Pou opposed it during the summit conference which celebrated the 30th anniversary of the bloc on March 26.
During the meeting, the Uruguayan president maintained that Mercosur “cannot be a ballast” which prevents the commercial advance of his country, to which his Argentinian colleague Alberto Fernández replied that, if Argentina is considered as a ballast, “those who catch another boat”.
Originally translated from Spanish by Paulo Migliacci