Europe demands reciprocity from Mercosur to negotiate a free trade agreement

Latin America

Negotiations for a treaty between Mercosur and the European Union (EU) are “blocked,” said French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire. In addition to the meeting of G20 ministers in Buenos Aires, Le Maire stressed that South American farmers should be subjected to the same demands as their European peers.

So far, both European and Mercosur emissaries spoke of progress in these discussions that are currently taking place in Paraguay, the country that presides over the bloc that is completed by Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.

“The negotiation with Mercosur is blocked for different reasons,” he said. “The decision of the South American countries is expected but for the moment it is blocked,” the minister said at a press conference in English.

“We believe in a free trade based on total reciprocity, which means that the rules applicable in France or in Europe, should be in Argentina or Brazil. If the rules are not equal, we must find a compensatory measure, “he said.

Le Maire, former Minister of Agriculture of former President Nicolas Sarkozy, said: “one can not explain to a producer that he must comply with very restrictive rules in France, in Germany, in Spain or in Italy if the same product is not made from the the same way in another continent. ”

Argentina gave a different version of the negotiations. Argentine Economy Minister Nicolás Dujovne estimated that an agreement between the parties can be reached before the end of the first half of the year.

The discussions between both blocks began almost 20 years ago. Europeans fear that their market will be invaded with agricultural products and South Americans that their industries will be harmed by goods manufactured in Europe.

Latin America will grow 2.6% on average in 2018/2020, according to the IDB

Latin America

Latin America and the Caribbean will grow 2.6% on average between 2018 and 2020, below global growth, due to low levels of investment and productivity, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) said today when presenting its macroeconomic report.

Although the Latin American region grows again after two years of recession, it does so at a much lower pace than other regions, such as Asia and emerging Europe, which project growth of 6.5% and 3.7%, respectively in that same period.

The Latin American expansion, however, is unequal: it is expected that the Southern Cone (excluding Brazil) will present a growth rate of 2.9% in 2018-2020, that Mexico will grow 2.7% in that triennium; and that Brazil does it 2%.

“The good news is that most of the region has grown again,” said José Juan Ruiz, chief economist of the IDB, when he presented the first part of the report in the framework of the annual assembly of the organization that is being held these days. in Mendoza (Argentina).

Ruiz pointed out that “growth is not fast enough to satisfy the desires of the growing middle class” and stressed that “the biggest challenge is to increase the levels and efficiency of investments so that the region becomes more productive, grows in a faster and more stable and safeguard the region from external shocks. ”

Hundreds of economic and political leaders from the region attend the annual meeting of the Pan-American financial institution, which will last until this Sunday, March 25.

The National Electoral Council (CNE) Approves Electoral Registry for Elections in Venezuela

Latin America
More than 20 million Venezuelans are invited to participate on May 20th to elect the President of the Republic.

The National Electoral Council (CNE) of Venezuela approved on Thursday the final Electoral Registry (RE) for the upcoming presidential,  legislative and municipal elections on May 20th.

Through a press release, the commission reports that some 20,526,978 citizens are called on to elect the president, while 18,919,364 will choose their representatives in the state legislative councils.

In addition, the commission clarified that the number of those summoned for these processes are different because, for the presidential election, all Venezuelans of legal age enrolled in the CNE are counted, even those who are abroad.

However, for legislative councils, people abroad and the inhabitants of the Capital District were excluded, due to the fact that they have a special administrative regime and added that foreigners with more than ten years of residence in the country will be able to vote next May 20th.

The cutoff for the Electoral Registry is based on voter data gathered until March 10, the date on which the registration process for new voters and the updating of data closed.

This data was audited by the different organizations with candidates for this new election day.