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Joint communiqué by the Presidents of MERCOSUR member states and Bolivia

21 December 2017
Información para la Prensa N°: 
588/17

The Presidents of MERCOSUR Member States, Mauricio Macri, of the Argentine Republic; Michel Temer, of the Federative Republic of Brazil; Horacio Cartes, of the Republic of Paraguay, and Tabaré Vázquez Rosas, of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, and the President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Evo Morales Ayma, gathered in Brasilia, on 21 December 2017, on the occasion of the 51st Summit of Heads of State of MERCOSUR:

1.       Ratified that the full force of democratic institutions is a key factor in the development of the regional integration project. In this regard, they agreed on the importance of monitoring the democratic situation of the countries of the region. 

2.       Reiterated their firm commitment to the principles that guided the creation of MERCOSUR: economic and commercial integration, strengthening of democracy and respect for human rights.

3.       Welcomed the adoption of the MERCOSUR Protocol on Government Procurement, which will create business opportunities for our companies and benefit our workers by broadening the universe of suppliers of our public bodies, reducing costs and guaranteeing greater transparency and competitiveness in the entire field of government procurement.

4.       Welcomed the successful completion of the Plan of Action for the Commercial and Economic Strengthening of MERCOSUR, the implementation of which led to effective improvements in the flow of regional trade, and reiterated their commitments to avoid trade barriers between the countries of the bloc and to continue searching for solutions to pending issues.

5.       Noted with satisfaction the adoption of a new regulatory framework for the development and review of technical regulations in the context of MERCOSUR, which will align the bloc with the most advanced international standards and practices, for the benefit of citizens, consumers and businesses of MERCOSUR.

6.       Welcomed the updating of the MERCOSUR work agenda, which reintroduced important issues such as e-commerce and the liberalization of services, and addressed new and pressing issues such as the mutual protection of geographical indications and trade facilitation in MERCOSUR.

7.       Agreed on the importance of adopting a digital agenda for MERCOSUR, which includes a true bloc strategy that explores issues such as digital economy, digital governance and public innovation, security and trust in the digital environment, infrastructure and connectivity, as well as coordination at international fora on these matters.

8.       Underscored the strategic importance of the continuity of the MERCOSUR Structural Convergence Fund (FOCEM), as a tool to reduce asymmetries. Highlighted the work of the ad hoc group for the institutional strengthening of FOCEM, which analyzes complementarity proposals with regional funding organizations for development, particularly the River Plate Basin Financial Development Fund (FONPLATA), in order to boost and strengthen the financial mechanism of FOCEM.

9.       Reaffirmed their commitment to continue working on the assessment of proposals for the inclusion of sectors which are not yet part of the MERCOSUR free trade system.

10.     As regards MERCOSUR institutions, commended the efforts to restructure existing bodies, with a view to enhancing efficiency and rationalizing the use of human and financial resources, and welcomed the conclusion of negotiations for the strengthening of the Support Group for Social Participation (UPS), in order to guarantee plurality, transparency and the proper financial management of social participation mechanisms in the bloc.

11.     Welcomed the progress made in the discussions of the Working Group for the accession of Bolivia to MERCOSUR, which will contribute to expediting the process of incorporation of MERCOSUR regulations into Bolivian laws, upon the entry into force of the Protocol of Accession of Bolivia to MERCOSUR.

12.     Commended the consolidation of the MERCOSUR extraregional negotiations agenda. Highlighted the progress made in the MERCOSUR-European Union Bi-regional Partnership Agreement negotiations in 2017. Reaffirmed MERCOSUR's determination to conclude, as soon as possible, an ambitious, broad and balanced agreement in all respects.

13.     Welcomed the progress in negotiations with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and agreements with the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as well as in negotiations with India, Morocco and Tunisia. Highlighted the prospect of opening negotiations with Canada and South Korea.

14.     As regards foreign intraregional relations, commended the advances in the process of deposit and internalization of MERCOSUR-Colombia Economic Complementarity Agreement No. 72, as well as in the implementation of the Roadmap ("Roteiro de Atividades") between MERCOSUR and the Pacific Alliance. Underscored the 1st Meeting of Coordinators of the Common Market Group and the High Level Group of the Pacific Alliance, MERCOSUR's proposal for a regulatory framework on trade facilitation, its initiatives on regional value chains and its support for small and medium-sized enterprises.

15.     Reviewed the contacts established with the Central American Integration System (SICA), for the purpose of arranging a meeting soon to advance the commercial and economic agenda between both groups.

16.     Highlighted the hosting of the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference, organized by Argentina, which reaffirmed the support for the multilateral trade system and multilateralism, reiterating that it is the best response in order to seize opportunities and tackle international trade challenges.

17.     Agreed that Argentina's G20 Presidency is an important demonstration of the region's commitment to international cooperation, multilateralism and global governance. Underscored the role of the Group in the promotion of inclusive economic growth, in order to guarantee sustainable development in every country.

Acknowledged and thanked the President of the Federative Republic of Brazil, Michel Temer, and the Brazilian Government and people for their hospitality and dedication to the 51st MERCOSUR Summit. 

 

Press release No. 588/17

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