LatinNews Daily - 13 June 2022

In brief: Brazil seeks Uruguay’s backing for Mercosur tariff reduction

* Brazil’s Foreign Minister Carlos França and his Uruguayan counterpart, Francisco Bustillo, have signed a joint declaration agreeing on the need to reduce the common external tariff (CET) in the Southern Common Market (Mercosur). Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has lobbied alongside Argentina’s Alberto Fernández for a reduction in the CET, but had faced stiff resistance from the Uruguayan government led by President Luis Alberto Lacalle Pou, which had conditioned its support for a tariff reduction on a relaxation of Mercosur rules prohibiting member states from unilaterally pursuing free trade agreements (FTAs) with third parties. According to the joint statement, França expressed the Brazilian government’s “willingness to prioritise the flexibilisation of negotiations in Mercosur and reiterated the importance of intensifying and diversifying the bloc’s foreign relations agenda.”

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