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DR, Mercosur initiate talks on free trade

Dominican Today

DR, Mercosur initiate talks on free trade

9 December 2005

SANTO DOMINGO. - The Common Market of the South (Mercosur), made up of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, today signed a "document of intention" with Dominican Republic for "broadening the common political and economic dialogue."

A ceremony was held within the framework of the 19th Summit of Mercosur presidents, slated to begin tomorrow, but which was preceded this week by a series of meetings of technicians and Foreign ministers from several countries, in addition to the four from the South American regional bloc.

Dominican vice-president Rafael Albuquerque told the press that the document signed today "sets a common agenda to discuss, from the first quarter of next year, concerning tariff structure, sanitary legislation, norms and regulations, Customs regulations, legislation on services and investments and particularly, agreements on free commerce made with third countries."

Albuquerque also said that it was agreed today to analyze a date for the presentation of free trade agreement between Mercosur and his country.

This Montevideo event is being utilized for a series of bilateral and multilateral meetings, such as the one expected to take place tomorrow, between presidents Néstor Kirchner, Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva and Hugo Chávez, of Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela.

Tomorrow the presidents of Bolivia, Eduardo Rodriguez, and of Chile, Ricardo Lagos, will sign an agreement to bolster trade integration that both governments have been promoting.

Attending to the 19th Mercosur Summit of presidents are the leaders of Chile and Bolivia, which are States associated to the bloc, while Venezuela will be integrated as a full member and Peruvian president Alexander Toledo was also invited.

In addition there are governmental delegations from Ecuador, Colombia, Mexico, Guyana, Surinam, Dominican Republic, Austria, France, Russia, Israel and China.