Brazilian president calls for FTA between Mercosur, CARICOM

Xinhua | April 27, 2010

Brazilian president calls for FTA between Mercosur, CARICOM

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Monday called for a free trade agreement between the four-member bloc Mercosur and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

Speaking at the opening of the First Brazil-CARICOM Summit, Lula said "the time is ripe" for a free trade agreement between Mercosur, a bloc consisting of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, and CARICOM.

Lula said the Brazil-CARICOM Summit was part of the integration process involving the Latin American and the Caribbean countries.

The summit came after a meeting of the Latin American and the Caribbean countries with their own agenda in the Brazilian city of Bahia in December 2008 and the creation of the Community of the Latin American and Caribbean States in February this year, he said.

"The integration process that we are launching is part of a movement that is rewriting the history of Latin America and the Caribbean," he said.

The Brazil-CARICOM summit began Monday at the Itamaraty Palace, seat of the Brazilian Foreign Ministry, with cooperation agreements expected in finance, health, agriculture, among others.

A mechanism is expected to be created for political consultations between Brazil and CARICOM at the summit.

The Brazilian president said negotiations would be launched on Brazilian participation in the Development Fund of CARICOM.

An agreement between the Brazilian Ministry of Health and the Caribbean Environmental Health Institute will be signed.

The Brazilian Enterprise for Agricultural Research (EMBRAPA) will share its progresses with the Caribbean Institute of Agrarian Development, Lula said.

Lula also stressed the need to establish direct air and sea links between Mercosur and CARICOM.

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source: Xinhua