African and South American Trade ministers met last week in Marrakech, Morocco, to discuss a cooperation plan in the commercial area. The Brazilian delegation was headed by the executive secretary at the Brazilian Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, Ivan Ramalho.
The secretary general at the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce, Michel Alaby, accompanied the event. According to Alaby, the main points in the final statement signed by the ministers include increasing the number of products included in the list of tariff preference of the Global System of Commercial Preferences (SGPC).
"Brazil is willing to liberalize virtually everything (that the African countries) requested, and on the other hand it expects to enter African markets," he said.
The document registers the participants' support to efforts at increasing bi-regional trade, including the signing of commercial agreements between countries from the two regions.
Along the same lines, the ministers agreed that negotiations of the Doha Round of the World Trade organization (WTO) must advance, and committed to strengthening the so-called South-South cooperation, by taking advantage of complementary aspects in the African and South American economies.
In the same area, the statement goes on to assert that participants must commit to work for the entry into the WTO of less developed countries, as well as for having multilateral organizations and funds provide financial help to the most impoverished nations in the two regions. The ministers call for solidarity to the countries suffering with the high cost of raw materials, especially foodstuffs.
The document also calls for developed countries to eliminate all international trade barriers, and especially for them to eliminate subsidies that lead to distortions in commercial relations, especially in the agricultural sector.
"The ministers also invite the private sector to hold a biennial forum turned to trade and investment, so that the two regions get to know each other better," stated Alaby. The statement goes on to claim that participants must intensify negotiations for cooperation agreements in the agricultural, commercial, logistical, infrastructure, telecommunications, and computer sectors.
In the environmental area, the ministers advise nations to seek the establishment of cooperation mechanisms that will allow for the reduction of pollutant gas emissions. Participants also reiterated their countries' commitment to achieving the Millennium Goals of the United Nations, which consist of reducing global poverty in half by 2015.
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