Mercosul reached the end of 2017 as a "reinvigorated" bloc, President Michel Temer said during a summit held in Brasilia on Thursday (21 December). The president welcomed the Heads of State of the member countries and said that the nations reinforced their commitment to recovering the "original vocation" of the bloc throughout the year.
“Free market, democracy and human rights are the pillars of our integration, which we have worked together to strengthen more and more," Temer said. Public procurement, regulatory frameworks and elimination of internal trade barriers were all mentioned as examples of advances reached in the period.
The 51st Mercosul Summit marks the end of Brazil's pro tempore presidency of the bloc. For the next six months, the position will be held by Paraguay. At the meeting, the Heads of State in attendance will conclude the negotiations on the Government Procurement Agreement – a topic that had been pending since 2006, as the president recalled.
“With the agreement, our entrepreneurs will have expanded business opportunities, and our public tenders will be more competitive. Public management, which can benefit from the reduction of costs, stands to gain. So does society, which will see their tax money being applied more efficiently," he highlighted.
Temer also said that, during the Brazilian presidency, and also in the previous six months, with Argentina at the helm, important efforts were made to seek closer trade ties worldwide.
Temer highlighted breakthroughs such as the Mercosul-Egypt Free Trade Agreement, which entered into force in September; the strengthening of ties with the Pacific Alliance, the European Union and the European Free Trade Association; intensified talks with Japan, India and Southeast Asian countries; and the beginning of exploratory dialogue with Singapore.
“We have undertaken broad efforts to modernise our economies. We have a well-defined work agenda that seeks to meet the aspirations of our societies for more employment and income, for more well-being. I am sure we will continue this course," the president celebrated.
In Temer's view, the Mercosul countries have been "strong advocates" of the multilateral trading system. Last week, during a meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the bloc's countries reinforced the messages of openness and dialogue. "We know that isolation runs contrary to development," he said.