GEORGETOWN, Guyana (GINA) -- The Guyana government is moving ahead with its decision to establish closer relations with the South American regional trading bloc (Mercosur).
The decision was taken in December 2012 at the Mercosur summit, which was held in Brasilia, Brazil, when both Mercosur and CARICOM signalled their intention to pursue a programme of joint collaboration in the near future and appealed for the strengthening of the collective vision of growth, economic prosperity and stability for Latin America and the Caribbean.
The decision was taken by the Council of Ministers (CMC) at the Mercosur Summit to foster and strengthen the relationship between the bloc and Guyana.
Mercosur is a regional trade agreement among Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay which, under the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), is integrated with the Andean Community of Nations (a trade bloc comprising Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru).
On April 12, 2013, a high-level technical team from the Mercosur group visited Georgetown to explore closer relations between Guyana and the trade bloc.
Guyana’s delegation was led by Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Minister of Foreign Affairs, while the Mercosur delegation was led by Minister Valeria Csukasi, National Coordinator within the Uruguayan Common Market Group, Uruguayan Pro-Tempore Presidency, Uruguay.
The visiting delegation made a presentation on Mercosur’s institutional framework, trade and economic relations, and the requirements, rights and obligations for associate membership. The two sides also engaged in preliminary discussions regarding the steps to be followed towards associate membership status in Mercosur.
At the conclusion of this meeting, a joint communiqué was adopted with both sides undertaking to continue bilateral discussions with a view to concluding a framework agreement by the next Mercosur summit to be held in Montevideo, in June 2013. For this purpose, the Mercosur delegation will submit, for Guyana’s consideration, a draft framework association agreement, addressing political, economic and trade, productive development, cultural and other cooperation issues.
At the December meeting, President Donald Ramotar had said he was heartened by the decision taken. He hailed Brazil for encouraging relations with Guyana and the wider Caribbean Community (CARICOM), a process that began with the first Brazil-CARICOM summit in the city of Brasilia on April 2010, where heads of state and the government of Brazil and CARICOM met under the presidency of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Ramotar has also stated that, as a small developing country, Guyana values the role integration plays in achieving the economic growth and sustainable development necessary to address the asymmetries and vulnerabilities of small developing economies.