Brazil, Argentina agree on framework to lower Mercosur tariffs

Oct 8 (Reuters) - Argentine Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero and Brazilian counterpart Carlos Alberto Franco França on Friday agreed on a framework to reduce Mercosur's common external tariff, the two countries said.

Members of Mercosur, a common market formed by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, have for years discussed a tariff reduction to help increase trade between Mercosur countries and the rest of the world.

"This is an important step towards increasing competitiveness," Argentina and Brazil said in a statement.

The statement said Brazil and Argentina agreed to work with Paraguay and Uruguay for the prompt approval of a 10% tariff reduction.

Brazil earlier in the day said it favored modernizing the rules that govern the Mercosur trade bloc and reducing tariffs, calling on the group's partners for talks.

Reporting by Marcela Ayres, Walter Bianchi and Ana Mano, writing by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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