Uruguay will be handed the rotating chair of Mercosur this Monday in a brief summit ceremony to take place in Paraguay. Attending will be Brazil's Michel Temer, Uruguay's Tabare Vázquez, the host Paraguay Horacio Cartes and in representation of Argentina, vice president Gabriela Michetti. President Mauricio Macri is in the midst of a cabinet reshuffle and waiting for market reaction this Monday following the naming of a new Central Bank chairman.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson concluded a five-day charm offensive in South America on Wednesday by expressing interest in a trade agreement with Chile and other countries in the so-called Pacific Alliance. Johnson extended a trip to a G20 foreign ministers’ meeting in Buenos Aires to include a tour of Peru, Argentina and Chile, seeking closer ties with all three countries.
Chilean Foreign Affairs Minister Heraldo Munoz called for closer ties between Latin America's two leading trade blocs. Mercosur and the Pacific Alliance should work more closely together, Munoz told the 51st Mercosur and associate members summit held this week in Brasilia.
Mercosur inked a trade deal with Colombia last Friday to allow limited quantities of tariff-free trade in products including automobiles, textiles and agrochemicals, Argentina's and Colombia's governments said.
Argentine president Mauricio Macri is convinced that in the second half of the year Mercosur will sign the long awaited trade agreement with the European Union and will establish closer links with the Pacific Alliance, according to a report in one of Buenos Aires leading radios.
Mercosur and Pacific Alliance foreign ministers are scheduled to meet this Friday in Buenos Aires, on an Argentine initiative to advance in a possible political and trade confluence with the prospect of a regional alliance in the near future. The controversial Venezuela case will also be on the table, but attendants have anticipated that they won't let this issue dominate the agenda or cast a shadow on the purpose of the summit.
Mercosur expects to sign a framework accord this year for a trade deal with the European Union as the U.S. shift to isolationism under President Donald Trump encourages it to look outside the hemisphere for opportunities, Brazil's foreign minister Aloysio Nunes said on Tuesday.
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.
Mercosur founding countries national coordinators met on Tuesday in Montevideo and admitted that the block is going through an emergency situation because of the presidential acephaly, but agreed on proposals to overcome the challenge and in a business as usual spirit, are readying for a meeting with the EU on trade negotiations and on the Action Plan to advance closer links with the Pacific Alliance.
Latin America needs greater economic integration and a merger of Mercosur and the Pacific Alliance should be the objective, according to Argentine president Mauricio Macri, who insists in loosening trade restrictions in his country and the region.