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Mercosur rejects bid to raise trade tariffs

Associated Press

MENDOZA, Argentina (AP) – The Mercosur trade bloc has rejected a planned hike on regional trade tariffs in a bid to protect local industries.

Argentina and Brazil had proposed raising the Common External Tariff (CET) from 22 percent to 35 percent in an effort to curb a flood of cheap imports coming from places including China and Europe during the global economic downturn. That’s the maximum allowed by the World Trade Organization.

But Mercosur members decided Friday to reject the blanket hike during the bloc’s summit in Mendoza, Argentina. Instead, each country is being allowed to decide whether to hike import tariffs on 200 selected products.

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