Argentina Didn’t Do Much. Now Is Brazil’s Turn at Mercosur’s Helm

Mercosur countries Some of the main issues in the official agenda to be addressed by the coming Mercosur summit to be held in the Argentine province of Tucuman include productive integration for small and medium sized companies plus a special financing fund for that group of companies and a technological renovation plan.

But inflation, food and oil prices, plus the recent approval by the European Union of the "return directive", which makes it easier to ship back illegal immigrants, most probably will be addressed by the South American leaders.

Argentina's Deputy Secretary for Economic Integration and Mercosur, Eduardo Sigal, said Friday, June 27, that the coming presidential summit will be the "productivity summit" with three main points: "creation of a financing fund for small and medium sized companies, productive interconnection and technological development" with guaranteed access to soft credits for those companies which do not operate in the regular banking system.

Tuesday, Argentina is scheduled to pass on to Brazil the Mercosur six month rotating chair. During her period Argentina has been unable to accomplish the two goals it had announced: ensure the full membership to the group of Venezuela and finish drafting the Customs Code, which should help to avoid double levies for goods on transit, making Mercosur effectively a free trade area.

The Customs code has to wait for the elected Paraguayan president Fernando Lugo to take office next August and the Venezuela incorporation still has the hurdles of the Brazilian and Paraguayan senates.

Furthermore another pending issue is a special system of benefits to compensate asymmetries between the large and small Mercosur economies (Paraguay and Uruguay) and the persistent production incentives applied by the senior members which act as hurdles for the inter block trade.

Presidents who have already confirmed their participation in the summit are Brazil's Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva; Uruguay's Tabare Vazquez; Paraguay's outgoing Nicanor Duarte and incoming president Fernando Lugo; associate member presidents from Chile, Michelle Bachelet; Ecuador's Rafael Correa; Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Bolivia's Evo Morales. Mexico that has also been invited will send Foreign Affairs minister Patricia Espinosa.

The agenda also includes signing trade agreements with Turkey, Jordan and the South Africa Customs Union made up of South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Namibia.

Mercopress

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