1 Sept 2017
Mercosur Outlines On-going Trade Liberalisation Efforts
The presidents of the four founding members of Mercosur – Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay – recently issued a joint statement outlining the following accomplishments of the regional bloc on the international trade and investment front during the first half of the year:
- signing of an intra-Mercosur investment co-operation and facilitation protocol establishing common legal provisions designed to facilitate and encourage reciprocal investments as well as extra-regional investments;
- an agreement on the treatment and definition of courses of action for a set of measures aimed at facilitating intra-regional commerce;
- promotion of Mercosur’s external economic and trade agenda by (i) holding four negotiating rounds on an FTA with the European Union, (ii) launching FTA talks with the European Free Trade Association, (iii) growing closer to the Pacific Alliance and defining specific actions within the framework of the joint roadmap aimed at promoting economic relations, (iv) signing an economic complementation agreement with Colombia, (v) making progress on the exploratory dialogue with Canada on a potential FTA; (vi) advancing intra-Mercosur work to expand the current trade agreement with India; (vii) establishing new dialogue channels with Australia, New Zealand and Japan to identify areas of mutual interest and explore possible collaboration opportunities; (viii) concluding an exploratory dialogue with South Korea on a potential FTA; (ix) improving the administration of the trade agreement with the Southern African Customs Union; and (x) ensuring the prompt entry into force of the FTA with Egypt; and
- an agreement to modernise the process to develop, review and rescind Mercosur technical regulations, which is aimed at facilitating intra-regional trade and improving the international competitiveness of Mercosur.
Challenges for the future identified in the joint statement include the following:
- concluding by the end of the year the intra-Mercosur government procurement agreement;
- strengthening free trade between the Mercosur members and enhancing the customs union in order to improve the international position of the regional bloc;
- invigorating intra-Mercosur services trade and promoting discussions on electronic commerce;
- promoting an agenda focused on trade facilitation and the internationalisation of and insertion into global value chains;
- promoting the export competitiveness of the region by reducing production, logistical and administrative costs at both the national and regional levels;
- facilitating trade flows and improving the international competitiveness of Mercosur products through an analysis of the advantage of regulatory coherence, convergence and co-operation; and
- renovating Mercosur’s digital work agenda by incorporating key aspects of the digital economy and adapting it to the global technological transformation.