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Brazil’s Senate approves Venezuela in Mercosur

December 16th, 2009

MercosurBrazil’s Senate on Tuesday approved Venezuela’s request to join the South American trade bloc Mercosur.

The Senate voted 35-27 in favor of Venezuela joining the 18-year old customs union.

The proposal must now be approved by Paraguay’s parliament before Venezuela can join. Paraguay is the only other member country that had not yet approved it.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has lobbied hard for Venezuela to the join the group that is made up of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia are associate members.

The Lula administration has been eager to expand Mercosur as a counter-balance to trade interests of industrialized nations.

Opposition senators voted against the proposal, arguing Venezuela did not comply with Mercosur’s democratic principles..

Brazil has a trade surplus of around $5 billion a year with Venezuela, with Brazilian contractors holding $20 billion worth of orders for public works projects there.


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