President Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday emphasised the importance of integrating South America and the CARICOM to form a sizeable bloc to impact every major global decision, when he participated in a plenary session of the Mercosur Summit being held in Brazil.
Jagdeo said that despite the relative small geographical population and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the CARICOM region, integration with South America could have a positive impact. According to a GINA report, Jagdeo said that given the imbalances in the global arena it is important for the World Trade Organisation and global trade affairs to find a special niche for small countries. “We have just emerged from a situation where we had to negotiate an agreement with the European Union that is based upon full reciprocity. How can a country with 35,000 people like St. Kitts and Nevis trade with the European Union and the USA?” Jagdeo said. “I hope that we will see the same support that we have from President Lula in pushing a trade agreement between the Caribbean and Mercosur and that the new Brazilian government will be, as has always been, supportive of this strive to integrate the Caribbean even though we are not a technical trading entity,” Jagdeo added.
Jagdeo was at the time performing the dual role as Chairman of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and CARICOM ambassador.
Mercosur was established on March 26, 1991, when the Presidents of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay signed the Asunción Treaty in Paraguay, declaring the establishment of the group.
The body was established with the aim of promoting the scientific and technological progress and economic modernization of its member states, to improve people’s livelihood and to advance the economic integrated process in Latin America.