Asuncion, 5 April 2022 (TDI): The 4th Round of Negotiations between MERCOSUR and Singapore was held in Paraguay. This is the first face-to-face meeting since the start of the Covid-19 Pandemic in March 2020.

The negotiations between MERCOSUR and Singapore began in 2019. This was the first series of meetings with a member of ASEAN. More than 80 negotiators from different technical groups will take part in the talks.

The negotiating groups will deal with the access to the goods market, rules of origin, trade in services, public purchases, investments, telecommunications, and electronic commerce. The negotiations will take place throughout the week.

The Delegations

The Deputy Minister of Economic Relations and Integration, Ambassador Raúl Cano Ricciardi, opened the round of negotiations. He reiterated the priority nature of this negotiation.

The talks will culminate in the first Mercosur trade agreement with an Asian country next June. He mentioned that Singapore has high standards in terms of commercial disciplines.

Representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the National Directorate of Public Procurement, and the National Directorate of Intellectual Property make up the Paraguayan delegation.

Ambassador Enrique Franco is Paraguay’s chief negotiator. Minister Luis Levit from the Argentine Republic, and Ambassador Michel Arslanian of the Federative Republic of Brazil, are leading the negotiations for their countries.

Ambassador Alejandra De Bellis, representing the Eastern Republic of Uruguay is also participating. The Singapore delegation is led by its chief negotiator, Francis Chong, from the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

MERCOSUR

MERCOSUR (Southern Common Market) is a South American trade bloc consisting of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Currently, Paraguay holds the Pro Tempore Presidency of the bloc.

It was established in Asuncion, Paraguay in 1991. Its purpose is to promote regional economic integration by establishing free trade and the free movement of goods, people, and currency. In 2019, Mercosur became the 5th largest economic bloc in terms of GDP.