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Mercosur approves 10% reduction in import tariffs

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The countries that make up Mercosur reached an agreement to reduce by 10% the rate of the Common External Tariff (TEC), a tax that, with exceptions, is uniform, levied on goods imported from other nations outside the South American bloc and varies according to the product.

The measure was announced this Wednesday (20), during the ordinary meeting of the Common Market Council, an event that preceded the 60th Summit of Heads of State of Mercosur and Associated States, which takes place this morning in Luque, Paraguay.

Yesterday (20), when announcing the joint decision, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Paraguay, Júlio César Arriola, said that the measure will help “improve the competitiveness” of the member countries of the bloc and in “access, under better conditions, to our productive sectors to inputs and capital goods”.

In a note released today, the Ministries of Economy and Foreign Affairs of Brazil detail that the 10% reduction in rates applies to “most of the tariff universe, subject to the exceptions that already exist in the bloc”. Under Mercosur rules, each member country can elect up to a pre-agreed limit of products for which the joint tariff rules do not apply.

“The understanding reached takes into account the different needs of the member countries, demonstrating Mercosur’s ability to move forward with a constructive vocation towards updating and adapting its tariff structure to the current conditions of regional and world trade, in a balanced way with regard to to the productive capacities of the bloc”, explains the Ministry of Economy. The measure applies to about 80% of the tariff universe and brings the tariff levels practiced by Brazil and other members of the bloc closer to the average practiced internationally.

“This is an important step to increase the competitiveness of the bloc’s countries and to strengthen regional production processes, in order to promote a beneficial insertion of Mercosur production in global value chains,” said the ministry.

Also during the 60th Ordinary Meeting, the Common Market Council announced the conclusion of the negotiation process to sign a free trade agreement between Mercosur and Singapore.

In addition to Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, the South American bloc is formed by Venezuela, although the country has been suspended since 2007. Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Suriname are considered associated states of Mercosur.

Translated to english by RJ983

From Brazil, by EBC News

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