Free Trade Starts at Home, Says Brazil

    Brazil’s Minister of Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim, said that the priority for Mercosur representatives at this moment is to conclude free trade agreements with other South American countries. He guaranteed that these agreements are on the verge of being signed.

    “This matter must be concluded with urgency, to keep our project of South American integration from being upset,” the Chancellor told reporters during a collective interview together with the President of the Commission of Permanent Mercosur Representatives, Eduardo Duhalde.


    Amorim and Duhalde had lunch October 7 with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.


    Duhalde announced that, by the end of the year, the Mercosur should establish a fund to ensure the structural and financial integration of the bloc and, later, to give a final push for the union of South American countries.


    The manner in which financial resources will be deposited in the fund has yet to be defined.


    “More details on this fund should be provided on Saturday,” said Amorim, referring to a meeting that will be held in Rio de Janeiro of chancellors from the Mercosur member countries.


    At this meeting the representatives are also expected to discuss the expansion of trade flows between the Mercosur and the European Union (EU).


    President Lula, Amorim, and Duhalde also talked about security in Mercosur trade.


    According to Amorim, President Lula gave Duhalde a free hand to negotiate this issue with other countries on Brazil’s behalf.


    The Brazilian Chancellor announced that he plans to meet with the present Trade Commissioner of the EU, Pascal Lamy, in Lisbon, on October 20, to discuss relations between the Mercosur and the EU.


    Agência Brasil

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