Mercosur Summit, live: Modernization and new agreements, including one with China – National

This new two-day summit of heads of state of Mercosur and associated states, and of the Common Market Council, will take place in the Historic Building of the Port of Asunción. The South American bloc, according to estimated values, concentrates a GDP of USD 2.86 trillion and represents the equivalent of the 7th largest economy in the world.

The first day of the meeting, today, starts at 9:00, with the ordinary meeting of the Common Market Council (CMC), which will be chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Paraguay, Rubén Ramírez Lezcano; and tomorrow, Monday, the plenary session with the attending leaders, led by the President of the Republic, Santiago Peña.

7:30 United Arab Emirates, Japan and Korea

First negotiating table between Mercosur and the United Arab Emirates, in Asunción.

This 64th Mercosur Summit will be marked, as on previous occasions, by the interest of the associated States in seeking new extra-zone agreements and by the impossibility of closing the association agreement with the European Union (EU), despite more than 20 years of negotiations.

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Paraguay, upon assuming the rotating leadership of the regional bloc, announced that it would promote rapprochements with other countries and move forward in concluding the pact with the European Free Trade Association.

On the agenda of priorities are the countries of Asia – Japan and South Korea – and the Middle East.

On the eve of this summit, the first negotiating table with the United Arab Emirates was established.

Been: Mercosur and the United Arab Emirates advance in negotiations for an economic partnership

7:25 China for EU?

The economic partnership agreement between Mercosur and the European Union (EU) lost prominence during the six-month presidency of Paraguay, led by Santiago Peña, who prioritized agreements with other regions: the Middle East and Asia. Although there is talk specifically of initial dialogues with Japan and South Korea, in recent days the mutual interest in a partnership with the People’s Republic of China has gained strength.

On the eve of the 64th Mercosur SummitBrazil joined – more openly – this week the possibility of opening talks with China for a possible trade association agreement, as Uruguay has been insisting on and which it is assumed will be presented again at this meeting in Asunción.

“There would be no problem in opening talks with China if we all go together,” said Gisela Padovan, secretary for Latin America and the Caribbean at the Brazilian Foreign Ministry.

In 2023, during a visit to Beijing, President Lula da Silva had declared that “We want to discuss, with our Chinese friends, a Mercosur-China agreement”, meanwhile, this week the Foreign Minister of Uruguay, Omar Paganini, declared that “we are going to propose that the Mercosur-China dialogue be revitalized”.

The EU and Mercosur have been negotiating the creation of a common market for 700 million people for more than 20 years. In June 2019, they reached a political agreement with several open points. But a European environmental addendum – branded “unacceptable” by Brazil and also rejected by Paraguay’s production unions – blocked the negotiations.

7:20 Uruguay assumes rotating presidency

The “Treaty of Asunción” is the origin of the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) and according to the “Ouro Preto Protocol”, the presidency of the group must rotate.

At this 64th Mercosur Summit, the President of Paraguay – Santiago Peña – will hand over the pro tempore presidency of the bloc to Uruguay, chaired by Luis Lacalle Pou.

According to the protocol, the turns are in alphabetical order and last six months. In the case of Paraguay, it took office in December 2023, after the Brazilian presidency. Although Venezuela is a member, its membership in the bloc was suspended in 2017 for “breaking the democratic order.”

7:17 Pre-meetings

During Paraguay’s presidency, 14 ministerial meetings were held in various areas, with topics focused on education, health, justice, work, culture, human rights, the environment, tourism, social development and the indigenous population. Among the measures adopted was the creation of committees, one of the most important of which was the committee for integrated border control.

“These committees decide the most concrete things. It is important for the region to resolve the border issue. Eliminate queues, have more facilities, decide things. Let’s sit down and talk,” said Ambassador Gisela Padovan, Secretary for Latin America and the Caribbean at the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Presidents Santiago Peña (Paraguay, left), Luis Inacio Lula da Silva (Brazil, center), and Luis Arce (Bolivia, right)

7:00 Present and absent at the summit

The Paraguayan Foreign Ministry confirmed that they will be present at the 64th Mercosur Summit the leaders of the States Parties to the Southern Common Market (Mercosur): Luiz Inacio Lula da Silvafor the Federative Republic of Brazil; Luis Lacalle Poufor the Eastern Republic of Uruguay.

The Argentine president decided not to participate Javier Miley. Will be represented by Foreign Minister Diana Mondino.

Also, the president Luis Alberto Arcefor the Plurinational State of Bolivia, whose accession to the regional bloc will be made official after the plenary session of the heads of state tomorrow, Sunday.

The new president of Panama will participate as a special guest, Jose Raul Mulino.

The foreign ministers of the Mercosur member states and representatives of the other associated countries will also be part of the delegation.

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