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Lula expresses desire to strengthen Mercosur and says it is possible to reach an agreement with China

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The Brazilian president is in Uruguay and, alongside the Uruguayan leader, Luis Alberto Lacalle Pou, defended the possibility of unilateral trade agreements with countries outside the bloc

DANTE FERNANDEZ / AFP

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Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou (L) greets Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva at the presidential residence in Montevideo on January 25, 2023, during Lula’s visit to Uruguay

In a meeting with the President of Uruguay, Luis Alberto Lacalle Pouthe president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva (PT), expressed the desire to strengthen the Mercosurand said that it is possible to make an agreement with China. “We agreed to discuss reforms in Mercosur. What do we need to do to modernize Mercosur? We want to sit at the table first with our technicians, then with our ministers, and finally with the presidents so that we can renew whatever needs to be renewed”, he declared in a joint press conference with the Uruguayan president, who had already made clear his will to to have a more “modern, flexible and open to the world” block. The Uruguayan said that the conversation with Lula was productive and that he was optimistic with the vision presented by the PT. On Tuesday, the 24th, Lacalle Pou proposed that the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) promote the creation of a regional free trade area. “We have the possibilities to trade freely. Many of our economies are complementary, and I am sure that we could move forward”, argued Lacalle Pou, at a time when his country is under pressure in Mercosur after its decision to negotiate a free trade agreement (FTA) with China, which the other partners – Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay – are wary.

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During the interview, Lula also said it was possible to reach an agreement with China. “Although Brazil has China as its biggest trading partner and has a large surplus, we want to sit down with Mercosur and discuss with our Chinese friends a Mercosur China agreement”. Uruguay has been criticized by other countries in the bloc for making deals with the Chinese. The president of Argentina, Alberto Fernádez, even spoke of breaking up with other partners due to the fact that the country was allegedly failing to comply with the bloc’s rules. However, the Brazilian president said he understood Lacalle’s questions and decision. I want to tell the president and the Uruguayan press that President Lacalle’s claims are more than just. First, because the role of a president is to defend the interests of his country, the interests of his economy and the interests of his people. Second, because it is fair to want to produce more and want to sell more and, therefore, it is necessary to be as open as possible to the business world”, he declared. Lula’s trip to Uruguay was the second leg of the PT’s first trip since he took office. He had been in Argentina since Sunday the 22nd, where he participated in Celac on Monday and Tuesday and spoke about the possible creation of a single currency.

Source: Jovempan

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