Lack of direction and disinterest in the Mercosur Summit

The LX Ordinary Meeting of the Council of the Common Market and Summit of Heads of State of Mercosur and Associated States, began on Wednesday 20 and will last until July 21, under the Paraguayan pro tempore presidency that will hand over power to Uruguay.

The regional meeting was focused on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that Uruguay promotes with China. The objective of the eastern country is to reach an agreement so that Mercosur negotiates as a block with the eastern country, or otherwise, to do so independently, without the need to leave the group.

Mario Paz Castaing, political analyst, pointed out that Mercosur is in a delicate situation that was accentuated by the same pandemic at the beginning of 2020.

“Working together was left behind and each one went their own way to rescue their health positions. There was no common regional effort there. And from there, the things that have been dragging on for decades, with indecision, have perforated the founding objectives of Mercosur”, he commented.

He pointed out that our country has relations with Taiwan, so Mercosur cannot exclude our country from the FTA proposed by Uruguay. He argued that the important thing will be the path taken by the countries after the end of the Summit, more than the speeches made by their representatives.

“If this is approved, articles 1 to 8 of the Treaty of Asunción will be violated. For this reason, it would be necessary to rethink what one wants to do with Mercosur, whether to continue with the missionary objectives or change perspective from now on”, he commented.

Brazilian lack of interest in the Summit

What is Brazil looking for?

Caio Manhanelli, a Brazilian political consultant stated that there is a cognitive dissonance between Brazil and Mercosur. Since on Tuesday, Jair Bolsonaro invited 40 ambassadors to his residence to question his country’s voting system. The data was the non-invitation of the Argentine ambassador or the Chinese ambassador.

Contrary to this, the position of the Brazilian representatives at the Summit is to support Uruguay in concluding a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China.

“We know that there is a manipulation of elements that say that China is on the left, is communist and that Argentina is close to this space.

“The first to say that it does not mean that it wants a FTA with China is Argentina and Brazil, which wants to get away from China with trade agreements, supports Uruguay’s decision to seek an FTA,” he said.

Bolsonaro in his labyrinth

The analyst explains that the Mercosur Summit is not relevant news in Brazil, both for the most important media and for the smaller ones.

“Basically the lack of interest goes through the Brazilian government itself. Bolsonaro does not have an agenda that is interested in local business partners (allies). The press does not get hooked since the main institution of the country such as the Executive is not interested. The economic elite itself is quite clumsy as it is not concerned with the potential deals that could happen between neighboring countries”, he pointed out.

He commented that Brazil’s only concern about its neighboring countries is focused on the interests of the agrarian economic elite.

“Mercosur arises to build stronger economic blocks. The block does not reach 20% of its social objectives but it does reach the commercial objectives of Argentina and Brazil when we talk about the automotive industry. And from Paraguay with agro-export. For Brazil as a country, Mercosur provides access to automobiles thanks to its integration with Argentina. This results in lower auto parts costs and there are competitive advantages in terms of consumer goods,” he commented.

Will Bolsonaro still be lost?

Finally, the analyst explains that Bolsonaro is in the midst of a psychopathic identity crisis.

“He is more concerned about the year-end elections because the polls show that the intention to vote is not favorable to him. He is not concerned about what happens outside the borders, he is focused on the threats of losing the elections”, he concluded.

Argentina has other priorities on the agenda

What are you looking for?

Guillermo Lafferriere, an Argentine strategic affairs analyst, pointed out that Argentina is focused on the adverse economic situation it is going through. Therefore, the Summit taking place in Asunción is not a topic of great interest to your country.

“Due to the economic crisis and the few signs that it can be solved, it does not generate much interest. We’re going on a collision course. Regarding the Summit, what Uruguay proposes is absolutely understandable. Because from my point of view, if you are in an association that does not allow you to do business with the world, that acts with a series of corsets to your economy, what Uruguay proposes becomes reasonable, ”he said.

Fernandez in his labyrinth

He pointed out that Argentina is at a stage where it does not see the world as an opportunity. He cited Paraguay as an example, which does not impose lower prices on exports as his country does today.

“Argentina is brutally squeezing the private economy that is self-destructing. Argentina does not want to trade with the world and lives in a utopia that believes that we can sell things to the world but you do not need to buy anything, “she said.

He argued that his country is against the FTA between Uruguay and China, because their rulers consider that they should restrict their trade with the world as much as possible.

“This group has been in power for 15 years. They consider that agricultural and livestock businesses should be carried out by oligarchic families. As if producing something in the field was something very simple”, he maintained.

Fernandez totally lost

He pointed out that Argentina should suggest opening Mercosur to expand in the world from an economic perspective.

“What the Argentine government will do is make a call to the members of Mercosur, not to cut themselves on these things, but rather to govern themselves according to what the bloc considers best,” he said.

Mercosur, an obstacle for Uruguayans

What is Uruguay looking for?

Federico Laitano, a Uruguayan journalist from La Diaria, pointed out that it seems that what was expected happened. With Uruguay, he made it clear what he wants regarding the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China.

“A week ago, President Lacalle Pou announced that he had completed a pre-feasibility study with China regarding a possible FTA. It was announced before but it was delayed. It was announced a week before the Mercosur Summit. Uruguay is determined beyond the opinion of some of its partners. The main reticent is Argentina”, he stated.

From Uruguay they see with uncertainty the position that Paraguay will take.

“Today the rejection was not explicitly opposed either, as if it was that of Argentina. They are opposed because in the future, Brazil could go down a similar path”, he stated.

Lacalle Pou in its labyrinth

The communicator highlighted the Government of Uruguay has announced that it is convenient for it to ally itself with China, since it is one of the world powers.

“You have to see how the differences with other countries are resolved. At some point, a profound debate on the subject must take place in Uruguay”, she pointed out.

On the usefulness of Mercosur for Uruguay, he replied that the functions for the same citizenship are not clear. But for the government that has many intentions of advancing in treaties with China, Turkey and other countries, Mercosur represents something similar to an obstacle.

“Alberto Fernández invited him to Lacalle Pou and to ‘take another boat’. In other words, he told him that if the Uruguayan government wants to leave, let it go. While Lacalle Pou stated that he wants to stay, “he said.

Lacalle Pou found the exit

Laitano announced that Lacalle Pou’s intentions have been stated on several occasions that he does not want to leave Mercosur. But the future will depend on what is resolved today regarding the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China.

Topics of Paraguayan interest are not on the agenda

What is Paraguay looking for?

Rubén Ramírez Lezcano, former national foreign minister, pointed out that the regional health agenda, the agreement with Singapore, among other issues related to trade flow, will also be discussed at the Summit.

“I think there are aspects that should be treated, such as the coordination of macroeconomic policies. In addition, inflation should also be analyzed. Since its origin is related to the increase in fuel prices. There are very important aspects in the regional debate”, he mentioned.

The analyst maintained that when Mercosur was born 31 years ago, the ambitions were not realistic.

“In 1994 we should already have the first article, which is the common external tariff. We had to have the free movement of people and services. And the coordination of macroeconomic policies”, he maintained.

Abdo in his labyrinth

Ramírez Lezcano stressed that the Fund for Structural Convergence (Focem) that Mercosur delivers to its member countries is one of the positive aspects of being part of the bloc.

“Paraguay has to continue insisting on deepening the debates on economic and trade issues. There are advances in the social field but in the health part it was exposed to expand the efforts in that context. The regional security issue should also be better coordinated where Paraguay faces a scenario of many challenges”, he stated.

He argued that Paraguay becomes a balanced country from the perspective that foreign policy has not been ideologized.

“The pro tempore presidency of Paraguay ends with many challenges and misunderstandings. Since the two great powers of the regional bloc, especially at the political level, are in disagreement. In addition to exchange policies, they are related to economic crises”, he explained.

Abdo doesn’t know where to go

Finally, he argued that the problem of Mercosur is related to internalizing the decisions adopted by the Council on sanitary restrictions and other aspects.

“There are advances in the export of certain products. But when we talk about businesses destined for only markets, we do have a problem. Problems related to exchange aspects.



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