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ECONOMY | 29-01-2023 10:31

Alberto Fernández expects Mercosur, EU to close trade deal soon

The Mercosur trade group and the European Union will reach a trade agreement soon, declares president during German chancellor's visit to Buenos Aires.

The Mercosur trade group and the European Union will reach a trade agreement soon, Argentine President Alberto Fernández said Saturday in Buenos Aires, during German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s visit to the South American nation.

The trade bloc, which also consists of Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, is keen to finalise the long-negotiated deal, Fernández said, adding that he has spoken to his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva about the matter. Scholz echoed the expectation, saying that specific topics that still need to be discussed should be resolved in the near future. 

These include a need to discuss asymmetries between the European and Mercosur economies, such as the automobile industry, as well as Argentine policies that seek to promote local production, Fernández said. At the same time, Europe has protectionist policies that make it challenging to sell agricultural or dairy products there.

“The important thing is that it doesn’t take so many years” of negotiation, Scholz said. Germany is Argentina’s biggest trade partner in the European Union.

Argentina highlighted the Vaca Muerta shale deposit and its natural gas potential, as well as the development of lithium and green hydrogen. The leaders also discussed the possibility of Argentina supplying liquefied natural gas to Europe and other regions.

“We have the world’s second-largest, non-conventional gas reserves at a time when the world needs gas as a transition energy,” Fernández said. “Argentina wants to become a safe supplier of gas and energy.”

Both countries agree on the need to address the climate crisis and promote policies to protect the Amazon rainforest, together with Brazil, said the Peronist leader.

Argentina won’t send weapons to Ukraine to assist in the war against Russia, Fernández said, adding that Moscow should cease hostilities.

by Oscar Medina, Bloomberg

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