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President submits to Congress expansion of Mercosur–Colombia deal

President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday (Oct. 14) submitted to the National Congress an additional protocol expanding the agreement between Colombia and Mercosur, the bloc formed by Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. The text introduces free trade of services and requires approval from the Congresses of signatory countries to become effective.

The move comes days before Colombian President Iván Duque is expected to visit Brazil, on October 19.

Also covered by the protocol is the temporary entry of service providers in the signatory countries, cooperation for the mutual recognition of professions and diplomas, and the establishment of courts or procedures for regulating the agreement.

History

In 2017, Mercosur and Colombia inked a trade deal to try and establish a free-trade area between the countries, stimulate investment, and bolster economic, energetic, scientific, and technological cooperation. The compact also set yearly import rates for auto products.

In 2018, the Mercosur countries and Colombia signed the first protocol including services in the economic partnership. However, the text was revised and a new protocol was signed in December last year, which was now submitted to Congress.

In a note, the president’s secretariat reported that the protocol is expected to increase legal security and predictability, improving the business environment and making the trade of services cheaper between Brazil and Colombia. “It should, therefore, generate increasing opportunities to Brazilian service providers, making Brazil more attractive to Colombian investors and facilitating the import of Colombian services that help raise productivity in Brazil’s domestic market and its competitiveness overseas,” the statement reads.

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