A Kinder and Gentler Mercosur, Courtesy of Brazil

Brazil will continue working to eliminate obstacles which have effects on Mercosur junior members, Uruguay and Paraguay, said the country's Foreign Affairs minister Celso Amorim.

"We're going to try and eliminate existent obstacles to trade in Mercosur," said Amorim in Brazilian capital Brasí­lia. He also informed that Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will be flying to Uruguay for an official visit next February 26.

Uruguay has repeatedly complained about the block's asymmetries between the larger (Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela) and junior members' economies which hinder Uruguay and Paraguay's market access.

President Lula's visit to Montevideo is "a clear signal of interest, of the president's commitment", but what is going to be signed "I can't advance with certainty," said Amorim.

Last December to address Uruguay's growing claims, Brazil decided to eliminate the double tariff system which means that an out of the block product will now pay only once when it's introduced to Mercosur, "a standing distortion from the very beginning of Mercosur in 1991."

Brazil also unilaterally offered to reduce from 50 to 30% the percentage of local input for articles manufactured in Uruguay and Paraguay and exported to the larger members with the benefit of the only tariff system.

However since Mercosur works on consensus and some members (Argentina) did not adhere to the Brazilian initiative, some internal regulations must be modified before they become applicable.

A task force is currently working on details of the Brazilian proposal in Paraguay.

Mercopress

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