Mercosur bloc seeking fresh trade deals, increased regional commerce: Brazil’s Lula

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Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Tuesday he wants the Mercosur bloc to advance in talks for trade deals with Canada, South Korea and Singapore, while also aiming to increase commerce with other countries in South America.

The leftist president’s remarks during a summit of Mercosur leaders in Argentina came as he took over the temporary presidency of the bloc, which comprises Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

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Lula said at the summit that he is committed to completing the trade agreement struck in 2019 between the bloc and the European Union, but again called some addenda proposed by the latter “unacceptable.”

He is particularly critical of an addendum introducing penalties for nations failing to comply with climate goals and a procurement clause allowing European companies to sell to Brazil’s public sector.

Lula, who has been pushing for greater integration between Latin American countries, added that he also sees room for more trade between Mercosur nations and Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, while also calling for Bolivia’s accession to the bloc.

“It is urgent that Bolivia becomes a full member of Mercosur,” he said. “I will personally work for Brazil’s Congress to approve Bolivia’s accession.”

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