Former Brazilian presidents Lula da Silva and Fernando Henrique Cardoso signed a joint declaration in support of Argentine President Alberto Fernández, who is against the reduction of Mercosur tariffs, as the government of Jair Bolsonaro wishes.
The President rejects a relaxation of the Common External Tariff of the bloc, a demand of the Brazilian Minister of Economy, Paulo Guedes, and also from Uruguay.
“We agree with the position of the President of Argentina, Alberto Fernández, in the sense that this is not the time for tariff reductions unilateral by Mercosur, without any benefit in favor of the bloc’s exports, “says the document, according to a note published by the newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo.
“We also agree that it is necessary maintain block integrity, so that all its members can fully develop their industrial and technological capabilities and participate in a dynamic and creative way in the contemporary world economy “, says the note.
The signature of the text marks another point of convergence between Cardoso and Lula, that recently opened a dialogue interrupted by decades of direct electoral confrontation. Since 1994, they have contested elections in opposing camps, either as candidates or supporting the names of their respective parties.
Last month, the two met at the home of former Supreme Court Minister (STF) Nelson Jobim and posed hand in hand for a historic photograph.
Argentina defends that the tariff reduction percentages are lower and wants it to fall mainly on intermediate goods – the finished products would maintain the tariffs.
Bolsonaro considers that the Argentine proposal is not very ambitious and one more example of Fernández’s protectionist line.
Buenos Aires, for its part, considers that the cut defended by Guedes is too deep and wide, which represents a risk for the country’s industry.
The issue of tariff easing was the axis of a dispute between Uruguayan President José Luis Lacalle Pou and Alberto Fernández last March, when the Argentine president said that the country “does not want to be the burden of anyone” and opened the door to an eventual separation from the bloc.