In August of last year, the European Union (EU) sent Mercosur two additional protocols of a unilateral environmental nature, which demanded compliance with a series of points, also imposed unilaterally, warning that if not complied with, it would impose unilateral sanctions, without any prior participation of the countries of the South.
The two protocols, their demands, demands, and sanctions were immediately rejected by Mercosur, which is not willing to receive any kind of humiliation or arbitrariness from the European Union, or from anyone else.
Everything indicates that European countries have made a lethal strategic mistake by unleashing a political crisis that may even involve Mercosur denouncing the Brussels Treaty agreed in 2019.
The magnitude of the error is proven when it is noted that Mercosur is currently presented with a strategic option of enormous importance, which is the offer presented by the People's Republic of China to immediately begin negotiations to establish a China/Mercosur free trade agreement, which would also include an investment treaty and which would be one of the two or three largest in the world.
The importance of the Chinese offer is revealed by the impact – magnitude, significance – that the People's Republic's agreement with Argentina processed by Minister Sergio Massa has had.
What was agreed by China with Sergio Massa has three fundamental contents: firstly a) extends to three years and to US $ 19,000 million the credit "Swaps" -interbank between the People's Bank of Beijing (Central Bank) and the BCRA of the Argentine Republic-, but this is accompanied by an essential novelty and is that the part of the "Swaps" granted as "immediately available reserves", it is also authorized to carry out foreign exchange interventions, while increasing them to US $ 10,000 million, double what was initially planned; and secondly, b) an investment and growth program for the lithium industry in Argentina is implemented through the production of electric cars (SUVs) and hybrids from China, which is the first in the global system in which it can unleash exports of US $ 25,000 million of Argentine lithium in 3 years; and thirdly, (c) Progress is being made with broad support for Chinese tourism with practical measures of immediate implementation on the Argentine side, such as reducing the deadline for granting visas to tourists from the People's Republic from 50 to 15 days, in addition to authorizing the immediate use of the reminbi or Yuan for all purchases and expenses made in the country, which implies full authorization for the use of all means of payment of the second economy in the world.
It should be added that in 2019 – the year before the pandemic – more than 150 million Chinese tourists traveled abroad and spent an average of US $ 8,960 per trip and per head, above the level of its main competitors, which are German and American tourists.
A fact that should be highlighted in this regard is that Chinese tourists have been forced to save as a result of the pandemic a figure estimated at US $ 2.4 billion, and that they are now eager to spend in foreign destinations, including Argentina.
As part of this agreement between the Argentine government and the People's Republic, Argentina has decided to grant China a port in the South Atlantic, located at the height of the Malvinas, which significantly modifies the strategic balance of the region and the world.
This extraordinary policy carried out by China towards Argentina reveals that there has been a change in world conditions, with a marked rise of the People's Republic to the forefront of decision-making in global events.
China has become, in short, one of the two great protagonists of world politics, along with the US, and is deciding the future of the world.
The People's Republic's agreement with Argentina is not an isolated event. A little more than two months ago, after the long negotiation, he sponsored the pact between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which transformed the geopolitics of the Middle East, by bringing together in a friendly attitude the until then main antagonists of the region.
President Xi Jinping has also become one of the main mediators to end the Ukrainian War through a negotiated political and diplomatic solution; and it should be added that in the past week Saudi Arabia, the main oil power in the Middle East, has joined the Bank of the BRICS.
This is the country that offers Mercosur a free trade agreement, and which is also the main agri-food market in the world.