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Free trade agreement between the EU and Mercosur: Olaf Scholz and Argentina's President are striving for a quick agreement


The EU has been negotiating a free trade agreement with the South American confederation Mercosur for more than 20 years. Chancellor Scholz and Argentine President Fernández are now seeing progress.

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Olaf Scholz, Alberto Fernández in Buenos Aires


Kay Nietfeld / dpa

Germany and Argentina are campaigning for a speedy conclusion to the negotiations on one of the largest free trade agreements in the world.

The talks between the EU and the South American confederation Mercosur, which have been going on for more than 20 years, have now lasted long enough, said Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz after a meeting with Argentine President Alberto Ángel Fernández in Buenos Aires.

"That's why it's important that everyone now contributes with a constructive spirit so that we can join hands and find a way to bring the negotiations to a successful conclusion soon."

Fernández stressed that he was in agreement with Brazil's new President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva: "We want to push this agreement and get it going.

That would benefit Latin America and Mercosur in particular, it would benefit Europe and it would also strengthen multilateralism.” Scholz has been visiting Latin America for the first time since taking over the chancellorship over the weekend.

Further stations after Argentina are Chile and Brazil.

He will be accompanied by a business delegation.

The EU has been negotiating an agreement with Mercosur - which includes Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay - since 1999.

A breakthrough was achieved in 2019.

But there are still problems, especially when it comes to protecting the rainforest in the Amazon region, most of which has already been cut down for cattle breeding and agricultural use.

The agreement would create a market of more than 700 million people, covering almost 20 percent of the global economy and 31 percent of global goods exports.

Talk to Lula is pending

On Monday, Scholz will also speak to Lula about the agreement in Brasilia.

The left-wing president has only been back in office for four weeks.

Predecessor Jair Bolsonaro, also known as the "Donald Trump of the tropics," played a key role in the negotiations stalling.

During the visit to Argentina, two agreements for the promotion of start-up companies and for cooperation in the field of energy were also signed.

The latter is primarily about green hydrogen, but Scholz also expressed an interest in Argentine liquefied gas.

Fernández said Argentina wants to "become a secure gas producer in the world" and expand its production capacity.

Argentina has one of the largest shale gas deposits in the world.

But funding with the fracking technique is controversial.

In addition, there is a lack of infrastructure for distribution.


Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2023-01-29

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