Jan 28, 2023
Argentine Leader Expects Mercosur, EU to Close Trade Deal Soon
(Bloomberg) -- The Mercosur trade group and the European Union will reach a trade agreement soon, Argentine President Alberto Fernandez 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 finalize the long-negotiated deal, Fernandez said, adding that he has spoken to his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inacio 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 Argentinian policies that seek to promote local production, Fernandez 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,” Fernandez 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, Fernandez said.
Argentina won’t send weapons to Ukraine to assist in the war against Russia, Fernandez said, adding that Moscow should cease hostilities.
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.