CAIRO, Egypt is attending the ministerial meeting of the Mercosur bloc in Brasilia to deliver a message about the importance of joining the group, Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Tarek Kabil said in a statement.

Kabil headed to the Brazilian capital to take part in the Mercosur meeting, on the behalf of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, with the aim of boosting trade and economic cooperation with the bloc.

If Egypt joined them, it will increase trade volume with these countries and reach new markets, Kabil stated.

The Mercosur is a regional economic bloc in Latin America, which includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela which remains suspended.

Last week, a delegation from Egypt’s Ministry of Industry and Trade participated in the first joint committee meeting of Egypt � Mercosur Free Trade Agreement, which was held in the Argentinean capital of Buenos Aires.

Trade volume between Egypt and Mercosur stood at US$5.3bn last year.

In 2010, Egypt and Mercosur signed a free trade agreement, and the Argentina parliament has approved it in July.

The GDP of the countries founding the Mercosur reached US$1.7 trillion, with a growth rate of seven percent. The bloc’s global imports amounted to $235 billion in 2016.

Founded in 1991, the Mercosur bloc saw a fivefold increase in regional trade in the 1990s. The accord called for the free movement of goods, services, and factors of production between countries., but still remains basically as a customs union.