The Argentine government said on Thursday that Mercosur agreed to seek the “best mechanism” to carry out the bloc’s trade negotiations, also made up of Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.
As reported by the Argentine Foreign Ministry in a statement, the four partners reached that agreement during the meeting of national Mercosur coordinators that was held today via videoconference.
This meeting took place after Argentina announced last Friday to its partners its decision to withdraw from the negotiations that Mercosur has open with other markets, alleging that, due to the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the world economy, It has chosen to protect its companies and Argentine employment.
The government of Alberto Fernández then argued that international uncertainty and the very situation of the Argentine economy, in recession for two years, “advise to stop the march” of the Mercosur negotiations, while its regional partners, on the contrary, promote an acceleration of the negotiations to seal free trade agreements with South Korea, Singapore, Lebanon, Canada and India, among others.
AT DIFFERENT RHYTHMS
At Thursday’s meeting, Argentina again raised the need to seek joint solutions that would allow the countries of the bloc to advance at different rates on the agenda of external negotiations.
The rules of the South American bloc do not currently allow Mercosur to sign a trade agreement without the consensus of the four partners.
This Wednesday, the Argentine foreign minister, Felipe Solá, said that, if Argentina had wanted to enforce that clause, it would have generated a “very harsh diplomatic question and possibly an advance towards the breakdown of Mercosur.”
Therefore, he alleged, instead, Argentina proposes a search for “legal-institutional solutions” that allow two negotiation speeds, that of Argentina, on the one hand, and the “acceleration” intended “by Brazil, accompanied by Uruguay and to a lesser extent by Paraguay. ”
According to the statement, the four partners agreed today that an exchange of documents will begin next Tuesday to find “the best mechanism that takes into account the interests of each country in external negotiations, knowing that the best solution will always be the result of the agreement of all the members. ”
They also set Thursday, May 7, as the date for the next meeting of national coordinators.