RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) -- Brazil's president said Sunday that Mercosur
South America's largest trade bloc -- is heading toward the adoption of a
euro-style single currency.
Fernando Henrique Cardoso made his remarks in a speech during the formal
opening of Mercosur Economic Summit, an annual event sponsored by the
World Economic Forum.
He said Mercosur was advancing toward "macroeconomic convergence ...
(leading) to a monetary union, which we would like to see implemented in the
Created in 1991, Mercosur is a customs union comprising Argentina, Brazil,
Paraguay and Uruguay as full members and Bolivia and Chile as associates.
Today, it represents a market with a combined gross domestic product of more
than $1 trillion and a consumer market made up of the region's 200 million
Nearly 100 business and political leaders converged on this city to attend
summit which will focus on Latin America's economic integration and
competitiveness on the world market.
Cardoso told those assembled that before a single currency could become
the countries of the region would need to enact fiscal policies "that guarantee the
solvency of our accounts and monetary policies that guarantee price stability."
Mercosur and other regional blocs like the Andean Community were stepping
stones for the eventual formation of the U.S.-sponsored Free Trade Area of the
Americas, Cardoso said.
He also said Mercosur would continue negotiating with the European Union
the creation of a trans-Atlantic free trade zone.
The summit will also focus on the region's competitiveness and ways to
strengthen it through greater investment in education, infrastructure and
Other topics on the agenda include the environment, business-to-business
commerce via the Internet and biotechnology.
Copyright 2000 The Associated Press.