The European Union is optimistic about the possibility of Argentina ratifying the EU-Mercosur free-trade agreement, a high-level EU source has told Perfil.
The optimism contrasts sharply with previous statements made by Alberto Fernández during last year's presidential campaign, when he said he would review the deal point by point and not rush into any deal. The Peronist leader has said he fears the impact of the deal on local industry.
The source, who participated in an analysis workshop on the agreement organised by the EU in Brussels and asked to remain anonymous, told journalist Santiago Farrell that the EU considers its deal with the Mercosur to be one of the most ambitious trade deals that has ever negotiated.
"At the time, Alberto Fernández's statements felt fatal, but we understood that he was campaigning and needed to speak to his potential voters," the source explained.
"But since he came to power his position has been much more cautious, correct, and we are working very well with Argentine diplomats," he added.
In particular, the high-level official praised Fernández's trip through Europe on his recent tour, during which he met, among others, with leaders such as Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel. "It was very well received and left a very good impression," said the source.
The European Union knows that the priority for the Argentine government is the debt issue and to drag the country back to growth. Th=e agreement between Mercosur and the EU can play an important role, the source argued.
“Experience shows us that all countries that have signed trade agreements with us have started exporting products with more added value to the EU, in many cases produced by SMEs [small and medium sized businesses]. European investments in those countries also increased,” added another source in the EU community.
EU officials dismiss the argument that the deal would pave the way for an "influx" of industrial products from Europe to countries in the Southern Cone.