“A ten-year-long dream that finally came true,” was the way Minister of Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim, described the agreement signed yesterday by Mercosur and the Andean Community (Comunidade Andina de Nações) (CAN).
The agreement will promote Latin American integration, not only in trade, but also in the areas of investment and scientific and technological cooperation.
The announcement of the agreement was made at the 13th Ministers Council Meeting of the Latin American Integration Association (Aladi).
It will establish a connection similar to that which exists between Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) and Chile and Bolivia, with the Andean nations of Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela.
The result will be a gradual reduction of import tariffs that will boost regional trade.
Amorim declared that the agreement respects differences and, in that area, can serve as a model for other agreements.
He also commented that by uniting together the member nations will have more bargaining power in international negotiations.
Amorim pointed out that the next step is to begin talks on services and government procurement between Mercosur and CAN.
“It is absurd that we talk about these issues with the European Union and the US, but we do not discuss them among ourselves,” said the Brazilian Minister.
Translator: Allen Bennett