Venezuela making most of MERCOSUR membership


The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, last week, highlighted its economic and trade accomplishments in only five months of becoming a full members of MERCOSUR regional trade bloc, while it is hesitant to include Paraguay in all official documents signed by its leaders in Caracas. 
Even though Paraguay is currently suspended from MERCOSUR until its new president takes the oath of office, on August 15, 2013, it is legally considered as a full member of MERCOSUR. Venezuela has not included Paraguay in the official press releases issued recently, that shed light on trade liberalization policies applied by MERCOSUR countries towards Venezuela.
According to the information released by the Venezuelan Minister of Communication and Information, Ernesto Villegas, Venezuela signed on Dec. 26 an agreement with the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI), as well as bilateral economic agreements with Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay.
Villegas published a document stating that: "This is an event of great importance since these instruments contain the development of trade liberalization programs between Venezuela and its partners: Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. They regulate trade relations between Venezuela and its MERCOSUR partners, under the principles of steady development, flexibility and balance, while recognizing the asymmetries and preferential treatment, and the principles of food safety, welfare security and rural development,” As it might be noted from the official agreement text, Paraguay does not appear among the other member countries of MERCOSUR.   
It is also cited that beginning in January 1, 2013, Venezuelan producers can export their products to Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay without paying any taxes, it will be completely duty free; this way Caracas will further foster a new era of exports in MERCOSUR region. This trade block has granted to Venezuela a blank check in fulfilling her interests of shipping goods and commodities towards the three countries of MERCOSUR and it is obvious that Caracas will be ripping the fruits of having the advantage to export its products under a very liberal trade regime of no customs or exports’ tax.  
Venezuela has also agreed to provide technological information, lead joint venture projects, provide cheap packages of insurance products and assist Brazil and Argentina with complementary industrial infrastructure.  Venezuela is also exploring the opportunities to expand more its role in the financial sector in South America and establish ties with the central banks of MERCOSUR countries.  
On November 29th, three Venezuelan ministers held the eleventh High-Level Joint Committee meeting in Beijing, with their Chinese counterparts, in order to begin a new era of cooperation agreements in electric power production and oil exploration.
According to Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez: “An agreement is reached for the development of a plant that would produce 900 megawatts of electricity by using petroleum coke and coal; In addition new areas of oil drilling are being considered and approved by both parties; one of them is Junín 10 Sur.”
Spero contributor Peter M. Tase writes on Latin American business and international affairs.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only, not of Spero News.


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