Uruguay Asks from Brazil a Bigger Role in the Mercosur

In his second visit to Brazil, the President of Uruguay, Tabaré Vasquez, said that his country is willing to work to strengthen the Mercosur.

The development of the bloc was one of the issues discussed in a meeting between Vásquez and Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, at the Planalto Palace, this Thursday, March 16.

"We have a strong commitment for a greater and better Mercosur. A bloc that really contemplates all member countries, and that has no economic or territorial differences," affirmed Vásquez in a press conference.

Uruguay, one of the bloc’s smallest economies, has demanded more advantages for itself and other poorer members.

Lula said he wants a stronger, cohesive, and participative Mercosur as well. The Brazilian President pointed out the fact that he has insisted to make the Uruguayan capital, Montevideo, the capital of the Mercosur.

Brazilian Ministers of Finance (Antonio Palocci), Agriculture (Roberto Rodrigues), Development, Industry and External Trade (Luiz Fernando Furlan), Mines and Energy (Silas Rondeau), and the Secretary General of the Presidency (Luiz Dulci) also participated in the meeting with Vásquez.

The governments of Brazil and Uruguay signed cooperation agreements in the area of energy. Documents were signed during the visit of President Tabaré Vasquez, and, according to Lula, have the objective to guarantee energy supply to Uruguay.

The two countries also signed agreements to really implement an agreement signed in 2002, which authorizes citizens of one country to live on the other. The objective of this agreement is to legalize the situation of many Brazilian and Uruguayans living irregularly in the other country.

During the ceremony, Lula mentioned the improvement of the relationship between the two countries, such as the increase of Uruguayan exports to Brazil, and of Brazilian investments in the neighbor country. Petrobras announced it will invest US$ 80 million this year in Uruguay, and the National Bank of Economic and Social Development (BNDES) evaluates the possibility of financing Brazilian participation in improvements at the Nova Palmira port.

President Lula affirmed he has determined the conclusion of the studies for the reform of a bridge (Barão de Mauá), which connects the Brazilian municipality of Jaguarão to the Uruguayan Rio Branco, in addition to the construction of a second bridge over the Jaguarão river, in the Brazilian Southern state of Rio Grande do Sul.

"All these initiatives mean new opportunities for Brazilian entrepreneurs to invest in the neighbor country," said Lula, who added that a seminar about investments opportunities in Uruguay is scheduled to take place in September, in São Paulo.

Agência Brasil

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