José Raúl Mulino Formalizes his Country's Interest in the Southern Common Market

706Views 0Comments Posted 09/07/2024

Panamanian President José Raúl Mulino formalized this week his country's interest in participating in the Southern Common Market; commonly known by the Spanish abbreviation “Mercosur”, and Portuguese “Mercosul”, is a South American trade bloc established by the Treaty of Asunción in 1991 and Protocol of Ouro Preto in 1994.  It is made up of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia. 


"I cannot ignore such an important forum as this one to demonstrate our government's interest in participating in Mercosur," said Mulino, speaking as a guest at the 64th summit of heads of state of the South American bloc, which represents the fifth largest economy in the world.  "I say yes, Mr. President, we do want to participate," added the president, addressing his Paraguayan counterpart and host of the presidential meeting, Santiago Peña.  In this regard, he said he hopes that "the relevant communications" will be established with the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Commerce and the private sector of his country, which he considered "have a great opportunity to work on a free trade agreement" of which there was an attempt in 2020. 


"We will take it up again, and as appropriate, you will tell us what route to follow, but for now, we are very interested in participating in this condition and continuing to move forward towards full integration with the participation of the Panamanian private sector, which is essential," he added.  The head of state, who was sworn in last Monday and arrived in Asunción on his first official trip, clarified that he cannot make this decision alone, but that he requires the support of the private sector, since he heads a “private enterprise government.” 


Mulino said he believes in integration and stressed that his country has “the opportunity to open a world of connections to this community of nations,” including “important players in the international economy.”  Paraguay, which on Monday hands over the presidency of Mercosur to Uruguay, is hosting the meeting of heads of state of the South American bloc, which will be attended by, in addition to Mulino and Peña, the presidents of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva; Uruguay, Luis Lacalle Pou; and Bolivia, Luis Arce.