Brazil’s Lula: ‘Beware of the European Union’

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is reported to have asked that the talks on an inter-regional association between Mercosur and the European Union continue, but also warned that care must be taken with regard to possible concessions.

“The President pointed out that the negotiations must not favor any one sector over others. It is the common interest that is paramount,” revealed Foreign Minister, Celso Amorim.


The problem is that on October 31, the EU negotiating team will be substituted and that always carries the risk of some renegotiations. At the moment, both Mercosur and EU negotiators are not satisfied with the offers that have been made so far. Renegotiations would inevitably mean further delays.


However, it is possible that Amorim will meet with Pascal Lamy, the EU trade commissioner, some time this month.


“We want the meeting. It shows that we are interested in continuing to seek an agreement,” said Amorim.


But he added, “The offers remain unsatisfactory. Additional gestures must be accompanied by sustantial improvements. A final agreement would be excellent. But if that is not possible, we leave the door open for further talks with the new negotiating commission,” concluded Amorim.


Argentina


Amorim, said recently that he is confident in the understanding between Brazil and Argentina.


According to him, it is necessary for both sides to change their focus and stop thinking only about obtaining another 10 or 15%.


Together, he affirmed, we will be more competitive, and it is in this manner that the issues of a common industrial policy in the Mercosur should be dealt with.


Even though his visit to Buenos Aires in August did not dissuade the Argentinean government from erecting trade barriers to Brazilian products, Amorim informed that the meeting represented a “reconfirmation of both countries’ willingness to work more and more on behalf of integration and to seek ways to get there.”


Despite acknowledging the differences between Brazil and Argentina, Amorim emphasized that this is a unique moment, since both Presidents, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Néstor Kirchner, have a favorable view of integration.


“We realize that South America has to be the basis of any Latin American integration and any kind of insertion in world trade,” he declared.


With respect to Brazil’s recent victories in the World Trade Organization on the matter of cotton and sugar subsidies, the Minister said that these conquests are a reflection of the faith President Lula has in Brazil, and this is having a positive influence throughout the government.


Agência Brasil
Translator: Allen Bennett

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