July 17, 2019 / 5:51 PM / 6 months ago

Brazil wants cars, sugar in Mercosur customs union: Bolsonaro

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro speaks during the 54th Summit of Heads of State of Mercosur and Associated States, in Santa Fe, Argentina July 17, 2019. Argentine Foreign Ministry/Handout via REUTERS

(Reuters) - Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Wednesday that his country, which now holds the presidency of Mercosur trade bloc, will work to include the automotive and sugar industries in the regional customs union.

South American leaders from the Mercosur’s member countries are meeting in Argentina, with plans for how to fast track a recent free-trade deal with the European Union likely to be at the center of discussions.

“It is unjustifiable that there is no agreement between us,” he said in a speech during a Mercosur summit in Santa Fe, Argentina, noting that both industries are still on the group’s exception list of products.

Bolsonaro reiterated that no South American country should follow Venezuela’s path and urged for what he called a responsible vote in coming elections in Argentina, scheduled for October.

Bolsonaro has publicly criticized the possibility of former president Cristina Kirchner, a candidate for the Argentine vice presidency who in the past cooperated with Labor Party governments in Brazil, to return to power.

Reporting by Alexandre Caverni in Sao Paulo; writing by Gabriela Mello, editing by G Crosse

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