By Lisandra Paraguassu
BENTO GONÇALVES, Brazil (Reuters) – Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro said on Thursday that the South American trade bloc Mercosur needs to hurry up and implement agreements the group has negotiated.
The Mercosur common market concluded a free trade accord with the European Union in June that took two decades to negotiate but still needs to be ratified by Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay as well as all the EU member states.
Resistance in Europe by some EU farming nations and criticism by Argentina’s incoming President-elect Alberto Fernandez, a left-leaning Peronist who takes office on Tuesday, has cast doubt on the deal’s future.
Speaking at a summit of its leaders, Bolsonaro said the Mercosur common market had a key role to play in Brazil’s efforts to open its economy to international trade and improve the business environment for foreign entrepreneurs.
He urged the group to lower its common external tariff and undertake reforms to make it more agile, a notable turnaround for a president who was critical of globalization and said Mercosur was not a priority when he took office in January.
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