The Argentinean Industrial Union (UIA) called for sweeping changes in the Mercosur and demanded the implantation of adequate mechanisms in the economic bloc to protect the country’s industry and check the growth of Brazil’s surplus with Argentina.
The Brazilian National Confederation of Industry (CNI), on the other hand, criticizes the introduction of safeguards in the Mercosur and judges that this mechanism will not guarantee the growth of Argentinean industry.
“Automatic unilateral, mandatory safeguards are unacceptable. Outside this context, in a permanent negotiation, it is possible to find a point of equilibrium between the interests of the two countries,” the president of the CNI, Armando Monteiro, emphasized.
According to Monteiro, there is no “absolute” form of market protection, as the Argentineans desire.
“If Argentina creates mechanisms of protection or safeguards tomorrow with respect to Brazil, will this space be filled by Argentinean products or those from other markets, such as China?” he queried.
In Monteiro’s opinion, Brazil and Argentina must overcome their difficulties in the commercial sphere in order to seek, together, a point of understanding to make the Mercosur work.
“There are incidental problems. We have a common destiny and a common heritage to preserve, apart from our interests,” the CNI president pointed out.
For his part, Héctor Mendés, president of the UIA, defends radical changes in Mercosur trade relations.
“We have to change many things, reconsider and analyze all the symmetries that exist. We have many symmetries nowadays between Argentina and Brazil, but we also have assymetries. When a market exposes the asymmetries, it exposes the situations of conflict,” he stressed.
Mendés affirmed, however, that the Argentineans are willing to sit down together with the other countries in the bloc and negotiate adequate mechanisms for reducing the imbalances.
He said he believes that the question should be included in negotiations between the Brazilian and Argentinean governments.
“We need instruments to protect sectors that experience conflicts,” he underscored.
In a lighter spirit, the Argentinean entrepreneur admitted that commercial differences exist between the two countries. But he insisted that the differences are small in comparison with the historical conflict between Brazil and Argentina on the soccer field.
“When Brazil and Argentina play, relations are much worse. I don’t believe that commercial relations are all that bad,” he guaranteed.