The LXI Summit of Presidents of the States Parties to Mercosur and Associated States took place this Tuesday, the 6th, in Montevideo. The session was headed by the president of Uruguay, Luis Lacalle Pou, who stated that he is optimistic about the future of the bloc and that it must modernize to compete on equal terms in the international arena. In addition, he indicated that our country is far from a disruptive vision.
The presidents of Argentina, Alberto Fernández; and Paraguay, Mario Abdo Benítez, and the Vice President of Brazil, Hamilton Mourão.
Lacalle Pou gave the words of welcome and expressed his gratitude to all the hierarchs for attending the meeting. Then, the Undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry, Carolina Ache, reported on the progress made during the presidency pro tempore of Uruguay, exercised in the last semester.
In his speech, Lacalle Pou maintained that agreements must be sought at the meeting on all issues, but that in any circumstance the bloc must be thought with an eye to the future, since the world is different compared to when it was founded, 31 years ago. years. “The world does not wait for us, it advances”he claimed.
In addition, he pointed out that this summit is reached with tensions, but that life is about resolving these situations and seeking a fair balance. In this sense, he considered that each member of the bloc must fight for the national interest, first, and for the well-being of its partners, in the background.
For this, he asserted, each country must say clearly and sincerely what it expects from the bloc. In the case of Uruguay, he reiterated what he stated at the last summit, in Asunción, Paraguay, that foreign policy opens up to the world.
He also stated that the negotiating power of the countries, to move forward together, is better, and that is what Uruguay wants; however, if that does not happen, the country will not wait. “He who stays still falls behind.” Indian.
Then, he affirmed the will to conclude agreements with other blocs, such as the European Union, and reviewed the critical position of that body, which raises objections to the completion of the negotiations. “We cannot spend 25 years to sign an agreement, it is not serious”, valued.
Regarding this, he recalled that when he communicated to the Mercosur partners that negotiations for a free trade agreement with China would begin, he took the same position as today, to inform, but to invite the partners to join, and that something The same is true of the talks with Turkey and the Trans-Pacific Agreement on Economic Cooperation.
“Here it is not about rupture, we must remove it from our collective imagination, here it is about resolving tensions,” highlighted Lacalle Pou.
He then described the free trade zone as “imperfect” and added that, therefore, it cannot have a classic customs union and needs modernization and honesty.
“In the last two months there have been two reductions in the common external tariff, and they were not by consensus, because it served certain countries of the bloc, and that’s fine, we cannot be an obstacle for countries to progress,” held.
The president also referred to trade balances with partner countries and considered that they should be improved, as well as the free movement of individuals.
“Today’s meeting is in the terms that should be, between countries that have decided to associate a long time ago and that maintain that vocation,” he said.
He also argued that Uruguay maintains a rational optimism about the meeting, since the rulers must have real inputs to be so.
In his argument, he stated that Mercosur continues to be one of the most protectionist areas in the world and that, in the international arena, those countries that are most closed today open up to the world, while those that were most favorable to free markets today do the opposite. .
He opined that the bloc is a region that no longer only feeds the world, today it exports intelligence and knowledge, and that they must enter without paying tariffs, as in the great powers. “Nobody can deny that,” he asserted.
That is why he expects the bloc’s partners to seek to compete on equal terms, in international trade.
At the closing of the ceremony, the formal transfer of the presidency was executed pro tempore of Mercosur, from Uruguay to Argentina, through the traditional delivery of the hammer, which symbolizes the hierarchy of the bloc.
On behalf of the bloc’s associated states, the Bolivian Minister of Foreign Relations, Rogelio Mayta; the head of the Regional Integration Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile, Mauricio Hurtado; the Director of Regional Agreement and Integration Organizations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, Javier Higuera, and the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador, Luis Vayas.
The Uruguayan delegation was made up of the Ministers of Economy and Finance, Azucena Arbeleche; Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries, Fernando Mattos; Industry, Energy and Mining, Omar Paganini; National Defense, Javier Garcia; Interior, Luis Alberto Heber; Education and Culture, Pablo da Silveira; Public Health, Daniel Salinas; Tourism, Tabaré Viera, and Environment, Adrián Peña.
On behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Relations, the general director, Diego Escuder; the general coordinator of Uruguay before the Common Market Group, Enrique Delgado; the chief of staff, Fernando López Fabregat; the director of Political Affairs, Ricardo González Arena; the Deputy Director General for Integration and Mercosur, Alejandra de Bellis; and the Uruguayan ambassador in Argentina, Carlos Enciso.
In addition, attended by the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the director of Economic Policy, Marcela Bensión, and the director of the Trade Policy Advisory, Juan Labraga.