An agreement with Cuba is consistent with the Mercosur’s strategy of building a Community of South American or Latin American Nations. On October 18, a Cuban representative was present in Montevideo at the signing of a free trade protocol between the Mercosur and the countries that belong to the Andean Community.
“The presence of Mexico and Cuba in our midst and the prospect of having similar free trade agreements with them, too, encourage us to contemplate a genuinely strong and developed Latin America with much greater negotiating capacity in international forums,” the Brazilian Minister of Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim, reflected at the time.
It is believed that the transfer of power to the new Uruguayan President, Tabaré Vázquez, at the beginning of 2005, may facilitate future agreements between the Mercosur and Cuba.
The left-wing Progressive Encounter-Broad Front coalition that backed the new President has already declared that it favors the immediate reinstatement of the country’s relations with Cuba.
Total exports from Mercosur to Cuba reached US$ 154.2 million between January and August of this year, an increase of 168%, compared to the same períod 2003. Out of that total, Brazil exported 55.1% and Argentina exported 41%.
With regard to imports by Mercosur from Cuba, the total was US$ 32.5 million for the same period, up 273% over 2003. Brazil imports 98% of all Cuban imports to the Mercosur block.
As can be seen, Mercosur is running a surplus of US$ 121.7 million in its trade with Cuba this year.
The participation of the other Mercosur members, Paraguay and Uruguay, in trade with Cuba is practically null (3.9% of exports and 0.2% of imports).
Translator: David Silberstein
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