Brazilian Businessmen Can’t Decide If They Want Chavez in the Mercosur

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez In Brazil, the National Congress controversy over the incorporation of Venezuela to the Mercosur has moved to the business sector. A group of Brazilian businessmen have begun lobbying strongly for Venezuela's full membership but the process has been stalled by Brazilian and Paraguayan lawmakers.

The legislative branches of Argentina and Uruguay have already approved the initiative.

The incorporation of Venezuela to Mercosur will render Brazil a "strategic market not only because of its potential demand, but also because of its geo-economic and logistic condition," said on Sunday Francisco Marcondes, president of the Venezuela-Brazil Chamber of Commerce Federation.

The natural complementation between both countries will mean "great benefits for Brazil and for its entrepreneurs," added Marcondes, contradicting the Brazilian Confederation of Industries which argues that the weight of Venezuela in Brazil's foreign trade balance is "minimal" and there is also "an evident lack of legal certainty" for the Brazilian exporter working with the oil rich country.

"We must publicly sustain that the CNI position does not correspond with facts or the interests of the great majority of Brazilian manufacturers," added Marcondes in an official communiqué from the Chambers of Commerce Federation.

Delaying access of Venezuela to Mercosur means "disregarding advantages to increase markets in the continent for Brazilian exporters and allow the strategic penetration to an important regional market of a competitor such as China …particularly in the midst of an unprecedented global financial crisis."

Finally the communiqué calls to leave aside "political or ideological considerations related to governments limited in time, inevitably temporary, and concentrate in relations between peoples and countries, which are permanent."

In the Brazilian Congress there are a significant number of members who refuse to accept Venezuela into Mercosur, alleging the limited compliance with "the democratic clause" the trade block demands from its members.

Some like Senate president José Sarney and former president of Brazil go further and say they can't understand the concept of "democratic revolution" implemented by President Hugo Chavez.

The administration of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva that supports the initiative has repeatedly argued that President Chavez has been legitimized in several elections and referendums.

Congress Vote

Venezuela agreed to comply with Mercosur intra-trade conditions so that its stalled incorporation request can be finally approved by the Brazilian Congress. Hopefully the issue will be finalized for when President Hugo Chavez makes a state visit to Brazil next May 26, according to Brazilian Foreign minister Celso Amorim quoted by the São Paulo press.

Amorim spent three hours with President Hugo Chavez in Caracas and Venezuela's Mercosur membership was top of the agenda, reports Folha de S. Paulo.

"I suggested the technical teams meet to address and solve the issues because I am well aware that trade negotiations take a lot of time. This time it can't be so, we need to act fast and President Chavez was totally in agreement," said Amorim.

The Brazilian government proposal was for Venezuela to completely adapt to all intra-Mercosur trade policies so lawmakers who oppose Venezuela's admission won't have a motive to vote against.

"The purpose is for the trade issue to be solved before the state visit of President Chavez to Brazil next May 26."

The heart of the matter is a tariff exemption program for 500 goods so that the basic free trade conditions of the block can be achieved in accordance with Venezuela's Mercosur Adhesion Protocol signed in 2006.

Amorim is scheduled to defend before the Brazilian Senate Foreign Affairs Committee the incorporation of Venezuela to Mercosur, and to argue that some sectors of the Venezuelan economy are not convinced of joining the group because they fear an invasion of Brazilian goods.

Argentina and Uruguay's lawmakers have already approved Venezuela's Mercosur incorporation, but Brazil and Paraguay are still pending.

In spite of President Lula's administration insistence in Venezuela's membership some Brazilian senators are also fearful of the "ideological" content that Chavez could bring to Mercosur plus the fact they "don't understand" the concept of democracy applied by the Bolivarian revolution.



  • Show Comments (3)

  • João da Silva

    Lloyd Cata
    [quote]Thank you JoÀƒ£o for the welcome back previously. Hopefully, we will together see many more events to advance freedom, justice, and economic fairness.[/quote]

    Thanks to you too Llyod , for writing some wonderful and thought provoking comments.It is refreshing to read your entries, as they deal with Macro aspects of the Geopolitics that affect our Hemisphere that is blessed with abundant natural resource. Though you make lots of sense, I still think that we lack [i]sane[/i] leadership. I am less of a politician and more of a Technocrat. Though Chavez is a graduate of Military Engineering Institute of Venezuela (I respect him for getting admitted there, despite his humble background), he is too hotblooded and goes into a headlong clash. Besides, I don’t particularly like his promoting his family members to occupy elected posts.IMHO, he is no different from the other LatAm “Caudilhos”.

    Though I would love to see Freedom, Justice and Economic Justice in this part of the world, I think it is going to take a long time to implement them.

    BTW, I am copying your comments and sending them to my good friends (all good Technocrats). If I hear from them, shall pass on their replies.

    Nevertheless, it is great to hear from you and hope you are having a great Spring.

  • Lloyd Cata

    Si Mercosur, Si Venezuela, Si Latin America
    In this forum I have been a strong champion of Mercosur in spite of contrary arguments by noted Latin economists and scholars. The present global economic crisis has
    spectacularly justified Mercosur’s necessity and viability. It has not always been clear why another economic bloc was necessary with all the present international trade
    organisations and financial markets, but now it can be clearly seen that those “western institutions” are plagued with phoney legitimacy built on media hype and military
    hegemony. Western governments essentially negotiating among themselves how to allocate finances and resources for the rest of the world. As Obama said at the G-20;
    “it was simple when it was just Roosevelt and Churchill deciding over a brandy” how to split up the world. We are still living with the results of those decisions. Everyone
    on Earth today still lives with those decisions. The European Union(EU) is simply the clearest and most visible admission that the old order could not continue. The weak
    Europeans were in danger of collapse, threatening all of Europe. It is now the EU which gives legitimacy to its member nations. It is this concept that legitimizes the necessity
    for Mercosur.

    Mercosur is absolutely necessary for Latin American economic viability. The alternative is Africanisation of the Latin American market with the Western economies absolutely
    ruling the economic life of Latin America. For this reason it is necessary to incorporate not only Venezuela, but eventually all the states of the Southern Hemisphere. Despite
    misgivings about the state of democracy in Venezuela, it is unreasonable to deny membership on ideological grounds. It is enough that Colombia has been trapped and cannot extricate itself from Washingtons influences. See how Uribe is now ashamed being caught between Havana and Washington? Plan Colombia being nothing more than a base for
    US hegemony in the region. Mercosur is in fact the result of ‘free market principles’ which in fact are sorely lacking in Africa. If Brazil wants to join OPEC it does so under the framework of OPEC nations trade throughout Mercosur. Thus Brazil does not enter OPEC as a ‘junior member’ but as the largest economy in Latin America. The stronger that
    Mercosur is in influence in the world economy then it members have the same advantage in world trade.

    Ask yourself what would the EU accomplish without the resources from Africa? And what would Africa accomplish if it had a functional economic and trading organisation
    outside of the European/Commonwealth agenda? Now that model is under jeopardy so the US, for the first time, must have a seperate military unit(Africa Command) to ensure
    the continued western access to those resources at below market prices; usually just the price of guns and political instability. Europe is bankrupt without Africa. The US is moving
    in the same direction with Latin America. Latin American economic integration is in the interest of global stability, economic justice, and world peace.

    Thank you JoÀƒ£o for the welcome back previously. Hopefully, we will together see many more events to advance freedom, justice, and economic fairness.

  • João da Silva

    Where is Ch.c when we need him? Hope he hasn’t got Swine flu and admitted into the hospital. 😥

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