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Brazil’s Mercosur signs MOU with Tunisia, Lebanon to mull reduction in import rates

Brazil’s Mercosur signs MOU with Tunisia, Lebanon to mull reduction in import rates

São Paulo: Mercosur signed MOU with Lebanon and Tunisia to discuss products that might benefit in the future of import rates reduction from both sides, here the other day. The goal of these agreements is to broaden commercial relations between Mercosur countries and the two Arab nations.

According to sources, these are framework agreements that mark the opening of commercial negotiations in areas of mutual interest of the participating countries. From now on, the countries will elaborate a list of products and conditions that might or not be included in future commercial agreements. The memorandums of understandings were signed during the ministers meeting in the 47th Summit of Heads of State of Mercosur, which is comprises Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Venezuela and Paraguay.

“It is an important agreement of commercial and economic cooperation between Tunisia and Mercosur”, said by Sabri Bachtobji, the Tunisian ambassador in Brasília, about the document signed by the South American bloc with his country. “It notably provides for the creation of a joint committee between Tunisia and the countries of Mercosur with the goal of exchanging information about customs and tax legislation of both parts, with the perspective of the creation of a free-trade zone”, he adds.

The diplomat pointed out that the text also provides for trade promotion actions, participation in business fairs and other initiatives in the economic area organized by the parts with the goal to foster trade flows and economic exchange in general.

“I believe this is a major step forward for economic ties between Tunisia and the Mercosur, one which denotes the common desire to evolve into a higher level of cooperation and partnership,” the ambassador said. “Brazil’s upcoming term in the Mercosur presidency will see the implementation of this important tool, and I am convinced that thanks to Tunisia’s excellent ties with Brazil, we shall progress greatly,” he asserted. Brazil is replacing Argentina in the bloc’s rotating presidency.

According to a joint statement released by Mercosur heads of state, another agreement designed to strengthen trade relations has been discussed with the Eurasian Commission countries, a bloc that should comprise Russia, Belarus, Armenia and Kazakhstan. A memorandum of understanding should be signed by the Mercosur and the Union as soon as it has been officially established, in January 2015.

In 2013, Brazil single-handedly exported US$ 338.45 million worth of products to Lebanon and imported the equivalent of US$ 26.3 million from the country. Brazilian exports to Tunisia reached US$ 290.6 million and imports stood at US$ 136.8 million. In both cases, foodstuffs were the leading product exported and the bulk of imported goods consisted of fertilizers.

At the ongoing summit, the participating countries have also discussed Bolivia’s entering the South American bloc; talks should resume in March 2015. Argentina hosted the summit because it is occupying the summit’s temporary presidency for six months. At the end of the summit, the president of Argentina, Cristina Kirchner, passed the command on to Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff.