Monday, August 06, 2007

Know your Neighbors. Latin America taking shape of a new era with Brazil, Argentina and Mexico.
Welcome to Mercosur.

I’ll have more to say on this later, but it’s something I’ve thought for a long time would be a positive direction for Mexico looking south instead of north. Having gone spectacularly broke trying to do business outside of NAFTA, yeah, there’s a now-dead vested interest in seeing Mexico move away from an imbalance in their trade with the U.S. and Canada. The PRD and the “legitimate presidency” were pushing for more Latin American ties, so I get the feeling FeCal is once again being dragged by the majority in a direction he really didn’t plan to go.
The Argentines are an odd people. As Jorge Luis Borges once put it, his countrymen “are Italians and Germans who think they’re French, wish they were British, but speak Spanish.” But, for all their weirdness, they and the Brazilians have been moving in the right direction (ok, the “left” direction, or at least their governments are supposedly “leftist”) since coming up with the idea of a Latin Common Market.
Brazil and Mexico are essential, and though there’s nothing concrete here, this is an excellent start.
Calderón says Mexico will “move closer” to Mercosur, but does not say he’ll join. Mexico’s entry to Mercosur is “essential,” President Néstor Kirchner insisted yesterday after a meeting with his Mexican peer Felipe Calderón in Mexico City. He later added that “all those who make up Mercosur” felt the same way.

President Calderón replied that his country “looked kindly on Argentina’s leadership within Mercosur,” and that he planned to “move closer to Argentina and to all the countries that make up Mercosur.” He refrained from saying that Mexico, a partner with the US and Canada in the NAFTA treaty, would seek participation in the southern trade bloc.

President Kirchner is in Mexico on a state visit accompanied by his wife, presidential candidate Cristina Fernández.

The remarks by the presidents were made after they signed a deal, the Strategic Association Accord, aimed at strengthening the ties between the two countries. The signing at Mexico’s National Palace heralds the “taking shape of a new era”, Kirchner stressed. He said he was sure the deal represented “a point of reference” that will be “very important for the integration of Latin and South America.” The agreement, Kirchner said, made the relationship between the two countries “deeper and stronger” and would promote bilateral trade and investment.

The presidents discussed working together within international bodies, such as the UN, and agreed on “mutual backing,” in effect to support each other’s candidacy for one of the rotating seats on the Security Council. Mexico will launch its bid for the 2009-2010 period. Argentina hopes to join the Council for 2013-2014. Both countries would “continue to contribute to a comprehensive integral reform of the United Nations,” Calderón said.

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