On Wednesday 7 April, under Argentina’s Presidency Pro Tempore, the 118th Ordinary Meeting of the Common Market Group was held with the participation of Brazil Paraguay and Uruguay. During the meeting, which was chaired by the Secretary for International Economic Relations, Jorge Neme, methods to reform the Common External Tariff and the foreign relations agenda were discussed.
The Argentine PPT presented a proposal to modify the Common External Tariff, based on the goal of prioritizing productive structures and tools that favour competitiveness, while protecting sensitive sectors. The proposal uses tariff escalation, further reducing the CET on raw materials and inputs and not on finished goods, thereby enhancing effective protection of the latter. It also retains the links system in the agroindustrial and industrial sectors and maintains the balance between them.
During the meeting, the coordinators agreed to continue working on the proposals presented by Argentina and Brazil at the Ad Hoc group meeting to be held on 14 April.
With regard to the foreign relations agenda, the Argentine Presidency Pro Tempore highlighted its strong commitment to negotiate jointly within a united MERCOSUR, as set forth in the Treaty of Asunción, to continue strengthening the current agenda and to establish priorities to move forward in different scenarios.
Other aspects of the economic and trade agenda of MERCOSUR were discussed, such as the Special Import Regimes, the Nutritional Labelling of Packaged Food, the MERCOSUR Rules of Origin, and the Sugar, Automotive, Electronic Commerce and Services Sectors. On the subject of institutional matters, the participants discussed the financial situation of the organs that have their own budget and the adaptation of the institutional structure. Other topics of importance to the bloc, such as FOCEM and the Citizenship Statute, were reviewed.
The CMG also met with representatives of the Economic and Social Consultative Forum, which gathers MERCOSUR businesspeople, unions, and civil society, headed by the Argentine Coordinator, Gerardo Martínez.