LatinNews Daily - 07 June 2021

In brief: Former Brazilian presidents defend Mercosur tariffs

* Two former presidents of Brazil (and erstwhile rivals), Fernando Henrique Cardoso (1995-2003) and Lula da Silva (2003-2011), have released a joint statement in which they side with the position of Argentina vis-à-vis the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) trade bloc’s common external tariff (CET). The issue of Mercosur’s high CET has divided the trade bloc’s members recently, with Uruguay and Brazil pushing for a reduction of the tariff, Argentina opposing it and Paraguay attempting to stay neutral. “We agree with the position of the president of Argentina, Alberto Fernández, that now is not the moment for Mercosur to unilaterally reduce tariffs, without any benefits for the bloc’s exports”, a note co-signed by the two former presidents and shared by the Brazilian daily, Folha de São Paulo, reads. In taking this position, the left-leaning Lula and centre-right Cardoso are standing in opposition to Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, and notably his economy minister, Paulo Guedes