President signs MOU towards MERCOSUR membership

Stabroek News
June 30, 1999

President Janet Jagan yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding that would pave the way for Guyana's membership of MERCOSUR.

A news bulletin from the Guyana Information Services (GIS) stated that the President signed the memorandum in the presence of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil and the presidents of Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

The release further stated that President Jagan, in an address to the Rio Summit on trade negotiations and liberalisation, noted that all Latin American and Caribbean countries have significantly liberalised their economies, in particular, the trade, payments and investment regimes in the last 15 years.

The release further quoted President Jagan as saying that the European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean have an ideal opportunity to work together to strengthen the international trading system and consolidate the gains of open markets and internationally liberalised trade.

She stated that the next round of negotiations in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) should, as a matter of priority and with the effective integration of the international trading community in mind, focus on growth, equity and development. This, she stated, should be the single charge to trade ministers and trade negotiators, who should undertake to assess the Uruguay Round to address the problems of implementation and capacity for assuming new obligations.

According to the release President Jagan also noted the importance of prioritising new areas which will build capacity, stimulate production and encourage the export trade of developing countries, in particular the economically weaker and smaller ones; concentrating on measures to build co-operation and partnership in the construction of the new global trade edifice and taking into account the special needs of the smaller and less dynamic economies.

President Jagan expressed conviction that the frame work of inter-regional cooperation that was forged provides a good basis for real partnership in the pursuit of increased trade, better functioning markets and improved living conditions for people.

MERCOSUR is a four-nation bloc in South America that represents the world's third largest trade bloc with a combined economy of US$1 trillion and 200 million people.

According to the release, President Jagan reaffirmed Guyana's commitment to CARICOM and assured that this country will become a bridge head to the Caribbean's access to South America.

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Guyana: Land of Six Peoples