Minister Hopes Good Faith Will Prevail in Brazil-Argentina Agreement

The Brazilian Minister of Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim, said that the bilateral safeguard mechanism established in an agreement signed between the Argentinean and Brazilian governments will be applied "with moderation.

In an interview with reporters, Amorim affirmed that the agreement is secondary to the two countries’ interest in strengthening their economies and continuing to export to each other.

"In any trade negotiation of this type, whether in the context of the World Trade Organization or the Mercosur, there is no black and white. Gray areas exist, and it is often the case that it is only because of these gray areas that an agreement is possible. We are certain that it is in our mutual interest for these gray areas be employed in good faith," Amorim responded, when asked about the consequences of the agreement for Brazil.

The Minister assured that, as is stipulated in the agreement, joint decision-making will always prevail over unilateral decision-making, and consultation mechanisms will be used to the fullest extent in implementing the decisions.

Argentina had been demanding the safeguard mechanism for some time, claiming the need for this kind of instrument to protect its industries against the "invasion" of Brazilian products.

Amorim declared that the agreement was also "a good thing" for Brazil. "There was considerable anxiety on the part of the Argentineans and uncertainty on our side concerning the adoption of certain measures.

"Now we have a framework that gives us reasonable predictability and allows us to maintain the conviction that we will continue to grow in a balanced fashion," he said, this time in response to criticisms expressed by Brazilian entrepreneurs.

When asked whether the safeguard mechanism might be extended to the other Mercosur members (Uruguay and Paraguay), the minister did not rule out this possibility.

"For an agreement of this type to be extended, there must be an interest on the part of the other Mercosur countries. This hypothesis is not excluded, but neither is it necessarily foreseen."

The Uruguayan foreign minister, Reinaldo Gargano, who also participated in the collective interview, commented that his country is not "upset" over the agreement.

"The agreement was important for both Brazil and Argentina, to resolve a problem of trade asymmetries. I only hope that Brazil, as well as Argentina, has the same willingness to resolve the asymmetries with the other Mercosur countries," he affirmed.

Agência Brasil

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