Uruguay's budget deficit reached 4% of GDP during 2016, equivalent to US$ 2.043bn, the worst performance since 1989, according to the latest figures released by the government's stats office, INE. The previous year, 2015 ended with a budget deficit of 3.6% of GDP, which also set a record only comparable to 2002 (3.7%), when Uruguay underwent one of its most challenging financial meltdowns in decades.
The leaders of Brazil and Argentina said on Tuesday they would pursue closer ties with Mexico and other Latin American nations alarmed by U.S. President Donald Trump's promises to tear apart trade deals and build a wall in the Mexican border to protect American jobs.
Uruguayan president Tabare Vazquez, six cabinet ministers and a numerous business delegation begin on Monday a two weeks official tour of Germany, Finland and Russia to increase political and trade links, particularly in the “new international scenario” and hopefully advancing in locking the long delayed accord between the European Union and Mercosur.
Brazil and Argentina will attempt to eliminate trade barriers which limit or impede Mercosur trade, ensuring a free trade space, the sooner the better, revealed Brazilian diplomats in anticipation of the presidential summit next week, when Mauricio Macri is received by Michel Temer in Brasilia.
Negotiations for an ample trade and cooperation agreement between the European Union and Mercosur are strategic, essential and must be urgently concluded, said Ramon Jauregui, head of the Euro-chamber for Latin America delegation, following on the recent accords signed by the EU with Ecuador and Cuba.
Venezuela announced on Friday that it had transferred the Mercosur pro tempore chair to Argentina, having ended its legitimate tenure of the post, although the rest of the block's members had already complied with the formalities two weeks ago when they also decided to suspend the regime of president Nicolas Maduro.
Argentine President Mauricio Macri on Monday reshuffled his economic team removing finance minister Alfonso Prat-Gay amid a stubborn recession, soaring budget deficit, a discussion on gradualism to address inflation and public opinion deep disappointment with center-right reforms.
The Rio Santiago shipyard (ARS) Tuesday began building the first ship for the Argentine Navy in 38 years, it was announced.
Argentina and Chile agreed to organize a major Mercosur, Pacific Alliance trade blocks' meeting during the first half of 2017. Last Friday Chilean president Michelle Bachelet and her cabinet were in Buenos Aires with peers Mauricio Macri and ministers as part of an agenda of regular meetings to address a joint agenda.
If Venezuela's intention was to spoil Argentina's ceremony as the new holder of Mercosur pro tempore chair for the next six months, they certainly managed. A low key event at foreign ministers level, instead of a presidential summit, was briefly interrupted by the uninvited attendance of Venezuelan foreign minister 'Delcy Rodríguez' who turned up in Buenos Aires to protest what Caracas considers a Mercosur confabulation against Venezuela, suspended from the block since last 2 December.