Venezuela started in Uruguay a series of business rounds with countries of the Common Market of the South(Mercosur), as part of its policy of balanced regional integration, in opposition to the Free Trade Agreement for the Americas(FTAA), said Víctor Álvarez, president of the Bank of Foreign Commerce(Bancoex).

Álvarez., pointed out that “The agreement on Venezuela’s admission in the Mercosur has already been reached. Only the signature is pending. We want it to be a dynamic process; not only to be written on paper”, .Mercosur is integrated by Argentina Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, with Bolivia , Chile, Venezuela, and Peru as associates.

“As part of our purpose for real approach to the regional bloc, we are organizing these business rounds in Uruguay, Chile, Argentina and Brazil” he added.

The meeting of 67 Uruguayan businessmen and 15 from Venezuela; who belong to the sectors of packing, plastics, cattle raising, and food production, among others, was held in the Latin American Association of Integration (Aladi).

The president of Bancoex, qualified the FTAA as ill-fated for the region; since according to him “among other things, it disregards both the inequalities among the countries involved and their different economic and industrial developments”.

Álvarez said that the 83 million U$ in trade between Venezuela and Uruguay in the year 2003, are “insignificant” and pointed out that his country has set itself the “feasible challenge of increasing bilateral trade up to 250 million U$ in three years and to even 500 million U$ in 5 years”

Venezuela is particularly interested in fertilizers, vaccines, machinery and equipment related to cattle raising and agriculture, as well as in technical assistance from Uruguay.
In compensation, Venezuela intends to increase its exports of oil and its derivatives; steel, aluminum, tropical fruit, juice, fish, and rum to the Uruguayan market.

Published in Quantum No 31