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The Mercosur summit was characterized by the dispute of Argentina's President Alberto Fernandez with his counterparts from Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay.
The presidents of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) member states held a virtual summit on Saturday where they celebrated 30 years of the integration mechanism and discussed the bloc's tariff policy.
MERCOSUR is currently formed by five permanent members: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela, which did not take part in the summit. Venezuela was suspended in August 2017 after its National Assembly was declared in contempt, which was considered as a "rupture of democracy" by Mercosur's right-wing governments.
The summit was marked by President Alberto Fernandez's confrontation with his counterparts from Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay, who advocated for redefining the external common tariff and allowing each member state to negotiate its trade treaties separately.
"We do not believe that a reduction of the external tariff is the best measure we can take right now. Argentina proposes to preserve the balance between agricultural and industrial sectors amid the absolute global uncertainty environment," said Fernandez.
#FromTheSouth News Bit | MERCOSUR celebrates its 30th anniversary. Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay were the initial member states of the bloc, followed by Venezuela and Bolivia, which continues in the admission process. pic.twitter.com/23pMyIvp4c
However, later on, Argentine Foreign Affairs Minister Felipe Sola softened his country's position by stating that the common tariff and the issue of commercial agreements would be discussed in depth to avoid making a hasty decision.
Mercosur is the fifth largest economy in the world, whose achievements and setbacks have been mainly determined by political affinity among member states' government.