Highest-level authorities of the CAN and MERCOSUR Secretariats hold important working meeting on the South American Community

Lima, March 16, 2005

Andean Community Secretary General, Ambassador Allan Wagner Tizón, this morning attended a working meeting in Buenos Aires with Doctor Eduardo Duhalde, Chairman of MERCOSUR’s Committee of Permanent Representatives.

This is the first working meeting between the highest-level representatives of the Secretariats of the two Subregional integration organizations in South America --the CAN and MERCOSUR-- since the Cusco Summit that gave birth to the South American Community of Nations.

Wagner y Duhalde held a joint press conference following the meeting to announce the following agreements reached by the two Secretariats:

1) To promote a reciprocal association between the CAN and MERCOSUR through a joint effort with the Pro-Tempore Chairs of the two integration processes and the Foreign Ministers of the Member Countries of the CAN and MERCOSUR plus Chile, with a view to establishing this reciprocal association at the First South American Summit, to be held this coming August in Brazil. Through this association, Member Countries of the MERCOSUR will become associate members of the CAN and vice-versa. The existence of similar provisions in the Treaty of Asuncion and the Cartagena Agreement will facilitate the process.

2) To define concrete contributions the Secretariats of the CAN and MERCOSUR can make to the First South American Summit, based on The guidelines the South American Foreign Ministers adopt at their meeting in Brasilia this coming April 7 and 8. These should take the form of specific issues to be developed between the April meeting of Foreign Ministers and the August Summit, with particular emphasis on seeking immediate results to benefit the South American nations and defining a unique personality for the South American Community in the area of international relations.

3) To expedite a special four-point program to support Bolivia’s participation in the Andean and South American integration processes, as follows:

a) Identification of a group of products that Bolivia currently produces and that can be placed in the South American and international markets in order to broaden and diversify Bolivia’s supply of exportable products.

b) Support for the rapid resolution of logistic bottlenecks hampering the export of Bolivian products, through joint efforts with regard to infrastructure, trade services, etc.

c) Help for the creation of a South American Energy Area based on resources such as oil, gas and coal --in which Bolivia would play a key role-- and which would contribute heavily to that country’s development.

d) In the oilseed sector --which plays an important and even critical role in the Bolivian economy and is therefore politically important to the country -- the designing of measures for cooperation and complementarity in the South American sphere that will ensure this sector’s harmonious development in Bolivia and in the rest of the South American countries.

4) The two Secretariats will also engage in joint efforts in the following areas:

a) Organization of CAN-MERCOSUR seminars on the progress and the treaties and legislation of the two organizations, with a view to making a plan for their dovetailing.

b) Establishment of links between the websites of the two institutions.

c) Construction of a virtual workspace between the two organizations through the Andean “e-can.”

d) “South Americanization” of the Andean “Business Directory” as an instrument to promote South American trade.

e) Fostering of a South American business forum that could take sectoral approaches.