10 March 2017
UPH – CITI Invited Expert to Discuss Potential Economic Cooperation of ASEAN – MERCOSUR
UPH Center for International Trade and Investment (UPH-CITI)’s seminar series are back to discuss current issues of international trade law. In this opportunity, the seminar entitled “ASEAN-MERCOSUR: Unlocking the Potential of Economic Cooperation” featur
Dr. Bartesaghi Gives The Explanation about Mercosur
 
 

UPH Center for International Trade and Investment (UPH-CITI)’s seminar series is back to discuss current issues of international trade law. In this opportunity, the seminar entitled “ASEAN-MERCOSUR: Unlocking the Potential of Economic Cooperation” featured Dr. Ignacio Bartesaghi – Director of School of the Department of International Business and Integration of Catholic University of Uruguay. The seminar was held in UPH Executive Education Center on 6 March 2017.

Dr. Bartesaghi explained the phases of development of MERCOSUR starting from the establishment until today. He emphasized that MERCOSUR is now a customs union and thus it now has a possibility to cooperate with ASEAN. The discussion was important considering ASEAN is a region with one of the highest economic growth in the world. Additionally, Indonesia as part of ASEAN also needs to explore non-traditional markets such as MERCOSUR.

Dr. Bartesaghi started his presentation by providing the audience with the background of MERCOSUR (Common Market of the South). It began from the bilateral cooperation between Brazil and Argentine in 1985, and then Paraguay and Uruguay joined in 1994. The four countries later signed the Treaty of Asuncion in 1991 which marked the establishment of MERCOSUR. In 1994, the Members concluded Ouro Preto Protocol which formally enjoined MERCOSUR countries into a customs union. Progress have been made since then, including the establishment of MERCOSUR Parliament and the Permanent Review Tribunal to enhance the structural formation of MERCOSUR. In 2012, Venezuela acceded to MERCOSUR, but its membership is currently suspended due to domestic issues. The suspension of Venezuela’s membership has practically hindered MERCOSUR to sign trade agreements with other countries or other regions. Furthermore, he stressed that although MERCOSUR is a customs union, but there are still differences in external tariffs applied by the Members. However, Dr. Bartesaghi is optimistic with the future of MERCOSUR, which he believes to be more business-oriented.

The potential for cooperation between ASEAN and MERCOSUR is widely opened, according to Dr. Bartesaghi. He mentioned that trade between the two regions has grown 14-17% annually from 2001-2015. Commodities traded between the two countries are also complementary. ASEAN’s exports to MERCOSUR are dominated by machinery, electrical devices and automotive; while MERCOSUR’s exports to ASEAN are mostly food, cereal and minerals. He further suggested, should the two blocs sign a trade agreement, other aspects in trade such as services and investment should be included.

The seminar is expected to provide the audience with an insight of MERCOSUR and its potential cooperation with ASEAN. Around 25 participants attended the seminar, coming from various background such as Masters Students, law firms, embassies, businesses, academics and researchers. UPH-CITI regularly hosts seminar as part of its outreach program. UPH-CITI also conduct research, provide training to government and developing curriculum in the field of international trade and investment law and policy. (rh/of)

 
 
 
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