In her first overseas visit as Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff ratified Monday in Buenos Aires the “special strategic” relation with Argentina while her counterpart Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, CFK, called for an “increased productive integration” between the two leading Mercosur partners.
It was not a casual decision to pick Argentina as my first foreign destination said President Rousseff who added, I'm here to promote our nations' relationship and make it stronger than ever in both their commercial, political and cultural ties.
Rousseff underlined the roles that Brazil and Argentina must play for the transformation of Latin America in the current century, “we are the two countries with the largest GDP in the region and we have a great potential that Latin America must take advantage off”. She mentioned specifically agriculture, energy and industry.
The Brazilian president, who was sworn in only a month ago, also talked during her five hours visit about joint undertakings with Argentina and mentioned the bi-national Garabí hydroelectric dam.
She also recalled former Argentine president Nestor Kirchner’s commitment to Unasur and the consolidation of regional integration through Mercosur, and mentioned the fact Argentina and Brazil, as members of the powerful G 20 are involved in the defence of the interests of Latin America.
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner described the summit as a continuation of the commitment from their predecessors (Nestor Kirchner and Lula da Silva) “which marked an end to the existing differences between our countries and built for the first time a bilateral relation that has prospered and must be deepened”.
Further on she called for “greater productive integration” between Argentina and Brazil underlining that “our destiny and that of the region are indissolubly united to that of Brazil and vice versa, and from now even more”.
Mrs. Kirchner said that the current century is signalled by three different issues: food, energy to sustain economic growth and scientific development and the partnership with Brazil in the three areas is strategically crucial for both countries. “The world changed completely in 2008, and this offers the region a unique opportunity”.
Finally the two presidents participated of the signing ceremony of several agreements referred to nuclear energy and bio-fuels, trade and called on the private sectors of both countries to have a more active role in promoting bilateral contacts and business.
The agreements include the construction of two hydroelectric dams and cooperation in the development of nuclear research reactors. The two dams are expected to generate 2.200 MW and will demand an investment of 5.4 billion US dollars. There are also plans to further integrate the power grids and construct a bridge between the two neighbouring countries.
President Rousseff in a special gesture towards Argentina’s human rights policy and her own government’s incipient approach to Brazil’s dictatorial past which remains locked to any revision by an amnesty law dictated by the military in 1979, met with members of the Mothers and Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo associations.
More specifically on the agreements signed according to Buenos Aires sources, Argentina asked the Brazilian delegation to keep on the “mutual trade loyalty system”, which was agreed and signed back in 2005 by then presidents Lula Da Silva and the late Néstor Kirchner. Thanks to the system agreed, all those imports that might affect certain sector of the importer’s industry will be automatically limited by the exporter side in order to soften the impact.
Brazil is Argentina’s leading trade partner and main market for most of the country’s manufacturing exports. Bilateral trade in 2010 was over 30 billion US dollars with Argentina holding a trade deficit of 4 billion US dollars.