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Uruguay snubs Mercosur and announces entry into treaty


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This Wednesday (1st) Uruguay formally submitted an application to join the CPTPP (Ample and Progressive Agreement on Transpacific Association), formed by 11 countries from Asia and America, including Chile and Peru.

The request comes a day after Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay presented a joint text threatening Uruguay to “adopt any measures it deems necessary to defend its interests in the legal and commercial spheres” if the country goes ahead with joining the agreement.

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Similar warnings were issued regarding a study being undertaken to enable a free trade agreement between China and Uruguay.

The official presentation was delivered by the Uruguayan Foreign Minister, Francisco Bustillo, to the Minister of Trade and Export Growth of New Zealand, Damien O’Connor, during his visit to Oceania.

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On his social networks, Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou applauded the advance. “Minister Francisco Bustillo has just formally submitted his application to join the CPTPP. More opportunities for our country and our people. An Uruguay open to the world. We trust Uruguayans and their potential.”

In response to Mercosur partners, Lacalle Pou stated that his government feels entitled to move forward with joining the CPTPP, despite warnings from its partners, and appealed to international law. He retorted with the decision taken by Argentina and Brazil, to reduce rates between the two countries, in which Uruguay and Paraguay did not participate.

If accepted in this free trade area, Uruguay will have free access to the markets of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Chile and Vietnam.

Under current rules, countries that make up Mercosur cannot make unilateral trade agreements with other partners. However, there are loopholes in the bloc’s statute that allow these Uruguayan movements.

A few days before the last Mercosur meeting of the year, in Montevideo, the subject fueled conversations about how the meeting will go.

Brazil, it seems, will not be represented by President Jair Bolsonaro (PL). Argentina’s Alberto Fernández, on the other hand, will only be present for a few hours, according to official sources —the bloc’s meeting will take place on the same day that vice-president Cristina Kirchner’s sentence is due to be handed down, accused of leading a scheme to embezzle public funds.

The idea of ​​making Mercosur more flexible was defended by Brazil, Argentina (when governed by Mauricio Macri), Uruguay and Paraguay. Already under Fernández, the country isolated itself in defense of a more closed bloc.

In a recent interview with SheetArgentine Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero stated that Mercosur cannot “prevent each country from following its course, but in cases of common interest, the only request is that these agreements be extended to the other member countries”.

The meeting in Montevideo will also be one of expectation about the direction that Brazil will take after the inauguration of Luis Inácio Lula da Silva.

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