New York confirms first polio case in nearly a decade

New York confirms first polio case in nearly a decade

In the first in-person summit since the start of the pandemic, the presidents of Argentina, Alberto Fernández; Uruguay, Luis Lacalle Pou, and Paraguay, Mario Abdo Benítez, sought to iron out the rough edges that have surfaced within the mechanism created in 1991.

The meeting, marked by Uruguay’s announcement that it will begin talks with China with a view to a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), was absent from the Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, who sent a recorded message to his colleagues.

Bolivia, a country in the process of accession to Mercosur, as well as Colombia, Chile, Ecuador and Guyana, as associated States, were also represented at the meeting.


In his opening speech, Abdo Benítez, whose country held the temporary presidency of Mercosur in the first half of the year, defended the bloc’s consolidation and highlighted the closing of negotiations for a trade agreement with Singapore as an example to follow.

“The world economy demands more than ever the consolidation of spaces such as Mercosur and others that help us align our interests in search of prosperity,” said the president.

Without alluding to Uruguay’s announcement and given the possibility of an individual negotiation of trade agreements, he asked to “evaluate the impact of each of the party countries.”

In subsequent statements to journalists, he admitted that his concern lies in the entry of China “with preferential tariffs.”

“They have very competitive costs and that can threaten the industries of both Paraguay and Argentina, as well as Brazil,” said the president, who favored a joint negotiation in which each country can defend its interests.


During the plenary session of the summit, Fernández was open to the possibility of jointly negotiating a trade agreement with China.

“If there is an opportunity for China to have an agreement with Mercosur, why don’t we analyze it together, why don’t we see the feasibility together? Because the agreement is going to be much more important if we include the 200 million inhabitants that Brazil has, that agreement is going to be much stronger,” Fernández said.

In this context, he called for unity, and even invited the rest of the bloc’s member states to “found another” Mercosur, in order to guarantee its cohesion “once and forever.”

“The only thing I ask of all of us is that we not get excited about the idea of ​​separating, that we not get excited about the idea of ​​looking for individual solutions, that we don’t get excited about the idea that I can come out with my own project that reaches me, because all this is short-lived”, he affirmed.

Bolsonaro celebrated, for his part, the consensus reached at this summit to reduce the bloc’s common eternal tariff by 10%, which he considered “will make an important contribution to combating inflation.”

In addition, he guaranteed the “dedication” and “commitment” of Brazil “so that Mercosur is up to the challenges of current times” and allows greater “expectations of freedom and prosperity” to the citizens of all member countries.


In his turn, Lacalle Pou ratified in his speech before his colleagues that Uruguay will advance in the negotiation with China and warned that the idea is “to go all together”.

“In a few days, our teams will be getting together to start negotiating the FTA and of course, once that stage is advanced, the first thing we intend to do is talk to the Mercosur partners and go together,” the government official explained.

Despite this, he pointed out that Uruguay “is not going to amputate”, and indicated that this initiative “is a national feeling”.

In the end, the Uruguayan leader sealed the transfer of the Presidency of Mercosur with a hug with Abdo Benítez, although he declined to give any additional words to the attendees.

The Chilean Foreign Minister, Antonia Urrejola, also participated in the plenary session, reaffirming her government’s commitment to Latin American integration.

“For the government of President Gabriel Boric, regional integration, particularly with South America, is a pillar,” said Urrejola.

In her speech, she highlighted as examples of cooperation the bi-oceanic corridor that will connect the Atlantic and Pacific oceans by land and the signing of the “Agreement on Mutual Recognition of Protection Measures for Women in Situations of Gender Violence.”

And in his last participation in this forum, since the mandate of the president of Colombia, Iván Duque, ends on August 7, his vice president, Marta Lucía Ramírez, asked to leave the rhetoric and move towards integration.

In addition, he advocated greater participation of women “in the labor market and in business development.”

The leaders said goodbye to Paraguay with a declaration on food security and sustainable agricultural production of Mercosur and another on economic and social recovery.

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