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Apr | 2017 | N° 38
Marcos Pereira defends more Latin America trade04/11/2017 | 10h37
Increasing intraregional trade integration was one of the main topics addressed during the World Economic Forum for Latin America, held this Thursday (6 April) in Buenos Aires.
Speaking during the event, also attended by Argentinian Minister of Production Francisco Cabrera, Mexican Secretary of Finance Ildefonso Guajardo and Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz, the Brazilian Minister of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services, Marcos Pereira, defended the idea and highlighted that intra-Latin America trade fell by 20% in 2015.
The participants also discussed recent changes in the global scenario, such as the UK's decision to leave the European Union and the uncertainties generated by possible new guidelines in US trade policy.
"We have seen the rise of more nationalistic and protectionist trade policies outside our region, while Latin American countries are going in the opposite direction: our countries want more openness, and greater international integration," Pereira said in the debate, which was broadcast live by the World Economic Forum website.
While speaking of the importance of countries opening their economies to international trade, the minister quoted figures from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) which point to decreased trade inside Latin America: in 2016, exports from Latin America and the Caribbean fell by 5% and imports were down 9%, completing four consecutive years of contraction in trade flows within the region.
"It is important to note that intraregional trade is the one that has decreased the most. In 2015, while exports from Latin America and the Caribbean to the rest of the world fell 13.9%, the exchanges between countries inside the region were down by 20.3%," he added.
Also according to ECLAC, the participation of goods and services from Latin America and the Caribbean in global trade is at only 6%, the same percentage as 15 years ago. In the case of high-tech goods, this share actually decreased: from 8% to 5% in 15 years.
For Pereira, the loss of revenues from foreign trade in Latin America and the tapering of domestic consumption make it imperative to seek new business partners or expand existing instruments, as has been the case with Brazil.
"There has been a change of attitude towards an alignment of MERCOSUR partners. It is important that Brazil and Argentina open up and be leaders in this process," he signalled. "We are conducting negotiations seeking, at the political level, to announce a European Union-Mercosur agreement later this year", the minister added.