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Bolivia advances in strengthening ties with MERCOSUR

La Paz, Jul 8 (Prensa Latina) The presence of President Luis Arce at the Summit of Heads of State of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) in Paraguay confirms Bolivia's willingness to strengthen its ties with the bloc.

The dignitary is attending the summit in Asunción, capital of Paraguay, on Monday, and 24 hours later he will meet in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, with his Brazilian counterpart, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, with whom he will assess the bilateral integration and trade agenda, said Bolivian Foreign Minister Celinda Sosa, who noted in an interview that the presidents will address a broad agenda during Lula da Silva’s visit.

Sosa mentioned topics such as energy (hydroelectric and biodiesel), fertilizers, productive and road infrastructure, as well as other commercial items.

“We will also have a meeting with the business sectors, both from Bolivia and Brazil. It is going to be a broad agenda,” she stressed.

Brazil is one of Bolivia’s main trading partners, and Sosa considered that this meeting might strengthen commercial, economic and, above all, political ties.

Bolivia began the process of joining MERCOSUR eight years ago, but membership was stalled due to a lack of approval in the legislative body of Brazil, an obstacle that was overcome after Lula da Silva’s took office and the efforts made before him by his Bolivian counterpart.

Last Friday Arce promulgated Law 1567 of the Protocol of Accession of Bolivia to MERCOSUR, which will allow him to attend the MERCOSUR Summit on Monday and present the document to the Government of Paraguay, a step that will seal Bolivia’s membership in the bloc as a full member.

From this moment on, the adoption of the regulations of the bloc will begin, which should be completed within four years.