Mexico hosts Rio Group summit; negotiations start on Brazil free trade agreement

The Latin America head of states “Unity Summit” starts today in Cancún, with President Calderón as host. The group is expected to announce the decision to go forward with a new regional organization that would include all Latin American and Caribbean countries, but exclude the U.S. and Canada. According to Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa Castellanos, “The idea to have a forum—for the region and from the region—came from a proposal of President Calderón. We sincerely believe that it will assist in promoting greater integration. … From outside, it will strengthen the voice of the subcontinent.” The scope and legal framework for the new organization will not be decided until June 2011.

The government is also taking advantage of the presence of President Lula to announce the start the negotiations of a Mexico-Brazil free trade agreement. Economy Secretary Gerardo Ruíz will be in charge of the Mexican negotiating team. (SRE 2/20, Universal 2/21)

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