Chile and the European Union are quickly advancing to a free trade agreement that could be officially signed next May in Madrid during the second Euro-American summit, according to Mr. Osvaldo Rosales Director of International Trade Relations in the Chilean Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Argentina was thrown into fresh chaos on Friday when its supreme court declared emergency financial controls to be unconstitutional, raising the prospect that the country's banks will collapse.
After several long weeks of international contacts and private deliberations with banks and multilateral organizations, the current Argentine administration believes the crucial moment to thrust forward an economic program that should get the stagnant economy rolling again, has come.
Mercosur and associate members presidents will be holding an out of agenda summit next February 18th. in Buenos Aires to express full support to the Argentine president Duhalde administration.
Thousands of Argentines from all over Buenos Aires converged on the city's famous central square, the Plaza de Mayo, late Friday night as part of a massive national protest against the government and the penal financial restrictions imposed in recent weeks. But a combination of torrential rain and violent police reaction using tear gas and rubber bullets just after midnight caused many of the demonstrators to disperse. Several protestors and police were injured and stretchered into ambulances. Some demonstrators were arrested and forced to lie down on the wet roads.
Modestly optimistic projections indicate the Argentine economy will experience a 3,5% contraction in 2002, according to the annual report from the United Nations Economic Agency for Latinamerica, Cepal.