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President Lacalle insists on requesting MERCOSUR to allow Uruguay to negotiate trade agreements with other countries individually.
At the end of a virtual meeting held on Friday, Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay signed a joint document committing to review the Common External Tariff of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR). Uruguay, however, did not sign that statement.
Previously, Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle asked MERCOSUR to allow its members to negotiate trade agreements with other countries individually. This demand was set as a condition to support the reduction of common external tariffs.
The document signed after the meeting, however, insists on "achieving a quadripartite agreement to benefit the productivity and competitiveness of the MERCOSUR economies."
Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay also reiterated their interest in working "with a constructive spirit and spirit of understanding." The reduction of the external tariff by 10 percent was practically consensual, but it was frustrated by pressure from Uruguay, which wants to advance rapidly in its unilateral negotiation of a free trade agreement with China.
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Although Lacalle vowed to share the MERCOSUR's desire for "prosperity and freedom," he also stressed that disagreements generate "certain tensions" with his country's nationals. Although he did not mention the negotiations with China, the Uruguayan President emphasized that his nation knows "the way forward" and will continue to follow it with optimism.
In contrast to this position, the Argentinean President Alberto Fernandez proposed to strengthen unity among the countries so that MERCOSUR achieves "greater negotiation capacity" with the rest of the world.
“In this increasingly regionalized world, there is no future for hermit countries. There is no room for States that are closed in on themselves. There is no room for those who underestimate the risk of going on adventures alone,” he said.