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La Razón | 21-12-2014
(Freely translated by Anoosha Boralessa for bilaterals.org)
Jimena Paredes/La Paz
National Chamber of Commerce of Bolivia requests process towards trade deal with EU be accelerated
The National Chamber of Commerce (CNC) considers that before Bolivia becomes a full member of Mercosur, the country must conclude a trade agreement with the EU. This is because negotiations would be difficult once Bolivia becomes a member, and such talks would have to be done through Mercosur as a bloc.
This was the explanation given by CNC Chairman Fernando Caceres, who, together with his technical team, explained to La Razón that if Bolivia negotiated alone, the negotiations would be quicker. He explained, "Right now Bolivia is in negotiations with the EU. While discussions are well structured, we need to further clarify some issues. We have to formalize our agreement with the EU before becoming a member of Mercosur. This is because as soon as we become a member of Mercosur, we are then governed by the rules of Mercosur."
On 28 April, this newspaper reported that the EU had announced that it had entered into negotiating “the finer details” of its trade agreement with Bolivia but in the context of the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) and the process that began in 2011.
At the time, the EU ambassador to Bolivia, Timothy Torlot, recalled that the EU "had always supported the integration of Latin America". In this context, he recalled the EU’s desire for a closer arrangement with Mercosur through a free trade agreement (FTA), the negotiations for which had already taken 10 years without an agreement being reached.
On Wednesday, in Parana, Argentina (where the Mercosur summit was taking place), Evo Morales Ayma stated that Bolivia had made progress on becoming the sixth full member of the bloc which currently consists of Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Venezuela and Brazil.
He indicated, “Here, we are talking about economic integration. Not just trade, but full integration." He then proceeded to emphasise that the bloc needed to find solutions to “the pilfering of natural resources”.
The CNC considers that before becoming a member of Mercosur, Bolivia needs to analyse how to adapt the bloc’s customs regulations and the customs regimes of the other state parties.