efe-epaSanta Fe, Argentina

Officials from Mercosur member-states Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay said here Monday that they will urge their respective governments to agree to allow the recently announced economic accord with the European Union to take effect on a rolling basis as each nation ratifies it.

"That is one of the clearest decisions that Mercosur will take to show that times have changed and that today, what we need are effective instruments that provide rapid response to what the exporting, productive sector of our countries are expecting," Uruguay's Valeria Csukasi said.

Mercosur wants the benefits of the strategic association accord signed with the EU on June 28 to materialize "as soon as possible," she said.

It could take two years for all four Mercosur member-states to complete the process of ratifying the agreement.

"Having the possibility that this accord begins to take effect provisionally for the EU with the simple approval of the European Parliament, not all the member-states, we are going to push for the bilateral enactment in Mercosur, country by country," Csukasi told a press conference ahead of this week's Mercosur summit in Santa Fe.

Her Paraguayan counterpart, Juan Angel Delgadillo, agreed that "the idea is to take the maximum advantage as quickly as possible."

In response to a question from Efe, Csukasi said that the proposal for a rolling bilateral enactment would not require any change to Mercosur's existing procedures.

"Mercosur has had accords that have been ratified by the will of the four (member-states), which can sometimes take a long time. And in other cases, due to the importance of the accord, we have followed a bilateral path," she said.

The Argentine representative, Horacio Reyser, said that the deal with the EU consolidates Mercosur as a "platform to integrate with the world."

"We are making an accord with a bloc that represents 20 percent of global GDP (gross domestic product), so it is one of the most relevant and most important accords in recent history," he said.

Reaching agreement with the EU has already made Mercosur more attractive to other potential partners, Brazilian negotiator Pedro Miguel da Costa Silva said.

"We have broken the curse of Mercosur, that didn't negotiate any other great accord of this ambition," he said. "In the moment we have reached, it's clear to other partners that we are open and it is going to accelerate the schedule of negotiations we already have." EFE

nk/dr