Argentina wants a more protected Mercosur
Published on 18-05-2012
Brasilia - Argentina proposed yesterday that Brazil should raise general tariffs charged on products coming from outside Mercosur to the highest level permitted by the WTO (World Trade Organization).
The proposal aims to raise the level of protection for industry in the region. Itamaraty, the Brazilian foreign ministry, has not taken a position and has promised to study the idea.
Mercosur currently charges other countries an average import tariff of 10 percent, according to Itamaraty. The maximum level allowed by the WTO for industrial products is 35 percent.
"We will bring this proposal to the next Mercosur meeting on June 28," said Hector Timerman, the Argentine Foreign Minister, after a meeting with Brazilian ministers Antonio Patriota (Foreign Relations), Fernando Pimentel (Development) and Mendes Ribeiro (Agriculture).
Since the end of 2011, the neighboring country has increased protectionist measures. In February, the situation intensified when argentine importers were required to get advance permission from the government to buy products from other countries.
Brazil, for its part, has reaffirmed its policy of defensive trade and is one of the countries that most frequently investigates underhanded importation.
Yesterday, the two countries also discussed their most recent trade disputes.
One week after the Brazilian government began to limit the entrance of ten products that Argentina has traditionally exported to Brazil, Timerman indicated that restrictions imposed on Brazilian pork should be dropped soon.
The Argentine Secretary of the Interior, Guillermo Moreno, suggested that the restrictions would be lifted on the condition that the Brazilian market was opened to medicine, citrus fruits and shrimp.
Flaunting a pin in his lapel from the Spanish company YPF, which was recently nationalized by Argentina, Moreno adopted a different tone when he took the microphone.
"The two delegations agreed that it is important to increase trade between Argentina and Brazil," he said. "Insofar as this leads to a reduction in our trade deficit, trade will quickly increase. In this case, obviously the problem with pork is no longer an issue."
The two sides agreed that the problems should be resolved within 120 days.
In response to the trade barriers imposed on imports by Argentina in February, Brazil began to restrict the importation of 10 products, including wine, wheat flour, apples and potatoes.