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ECONOMY | 28-04-2020 23:58

EU 'welcomes' Argentina's commitment to Mercosur free-trade deal

European Union pleased that Argentina remains engaged in talks over long-awaited free-trade deal, despite decision to withdraw from all future Mercosur trade talks.

The European Union (EU) has expressed its satisfaction that Argentina will continue to be part of talks on the sweeping free-trade agreement between the bloc and the Mercosur, despite the government withdrawing from all future talks involving the Latin American bloc.

"The EU welcomes Argentina's continued commitment to the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement and maintains its firm commitment that the agreement enter into force as soon as possible," read a statement from a spokeswoman for European Union's High Representative Josep Borrell issued on Tuesday.

The spokesperson said that that the agreement between Mercosur (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay) and the EU "will play an important role in promoting the cooperation relationship" necessary to "face the immediate crisis" and help in the "economic recovery on both sides. of the Atlantic." 

"The coronavirus crisis demonstrates that solidarity, open trade and rules-based multilateral cooperation is the only way to recovery. It is crucial to focus on a positive agenda to strengthen future political dialogue, cooperation and economic exchanges between Mercosur and the EU," continued the statement.

Last Friday, the government decided to withdraw from all future free-trade deal negotiations involving the Mercosur, placing talks with countries such as South Korea, Singapore, Canada and India in doubt. The opposition decried the move, which the Alberto Fernández administration said was down to uncertainty over the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent shutdown. 

The government said, however, that it would continue to with existing talks, including negotiations over the implementation of the agreement with the EU.

The deal was approved last year but both blocs still have to push the agreement through their respective parliaments.

– TIMES/AFP

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