Merco Press, Uruguay
Uruguay criticizes Mercosur tolerance of export taxes
22 August 2008
Uruguay’s Economy minister Danilo Astori criticized export taxes and complained the fact Mercosur has allowed Argentina to apply them when “we all know this is a simple manipulation of the economy” which also has political effects.
Astori is currently with the Uruguayan delegation headed by President Tabare Vazquez which will be visiting Israel, Switzerland and South Korea and before leaving made the statements to the Montevideo press.
Astori whom President Vazquez has insistently mentioned as an “excellent” presidential candidate insisted in his criticisms of Mercosur which junior members, Uruguay and Paraguay claim has become a two member exclusive club, Argentina and Brazil.
“Mercosur is a strategic project but unfortunately Brazil and Argentina implement non consulted measures for mutual support that only damage Mercosur”, claimed Astori who has had several heated discussions with Argentine delegates over the issue of taxing and subsidies.
“Distorting measures have been tolerated, in the Argentine case, which hamper and punish smaller economies. An example of this is the export taxes”, said Astori in direct reference to the farm export levies the Kirchner administrations have been applying and recently unsuccessfully tried to increase.
“It’s a bad instrument of economic policy which only leads to an arbitrary structure of prices and is similar to establishing a set of different exchange rates for exports and imports”.
Astori who leaves his post next September 15 to begin campaigning for the ruling coalition presidential candidacy said that during the trip, business rounds have been organized in Israel and Seoul to promote bilateral trade.
“With Israel Uruguay has a long friendship and Mercosur recently signed a trade understanding which should help boost trade. In Korea we expect to implement a fisheries agreement and a carbon credit exchange, probably the first Uruguay will manage” he anticipated.