Argentina pledged on Thursday to manage Bolivia's entry into Mercosur, after both countries relaunched their trade relationship during the official visit of the Argentine Foreign Minister, Felipe Solá, who sees the need to approve the full entry of the Andean country at the next Mercosur summit to be held on March 26.
In addition to the incorporation to the Montevideo-based bloc, Bolivian President Luis Arce and Solá held a meeting this Thursday at the headquarters of the Government, in which they analyzed issues such as the expansion of trade. We analyzed expanding trade and the incorporation of #Bolivia to MERCOSUR as a full member. Democracy recovered, we normalize bilateral relations between brotherly countries, the president wrote on Twitter.
For the sake of the meeting next March 26 in Buenos Aires between the presidents of the four member countries, the Argentine diplomat said that it remains pending, if possible, that President Arce [attends] for his country.
We had a more than interesting day of work, in which we covered many important issues of the relationship, said the Argentine foreign minister, after receiving the a medal with the legion of honor Mariscal Andrés de Santa Cruz, in degree of Grand Cross, from the hands of his Bolivian peer, Rogelio Mayta.
Bolivia's adhesion as a full member of Mercosur has been in process for ten years and Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay support it. However, it is stuck in the Brazilian Congress, a situation that Solá hopes will be addressed soon.
On the other hand, Bolivia and Argentina signed the General Agreement on Cooperation, Integration and Brotherhood, which defines the bilateral relationship for the next ten years and is divided into these axes: cooperation and integration on infrastructure, border integration, transit agreements, cooperation in nuclear, space and defense industry, and integration in energy and productive chains linked to the exploitation of lithium.
We believe that in Bolivia there is an important and developed technological capacity in extraction, and both countries want a very broad technological cooperation, which could later lead to a joint production of lithium, said Solá about the possibility of industrializing this raw material.
The Argentine government is seeking to intensify trade in cold storage and medical supplies, as well as to increase the sale of vehicles and agricultural technology.
Argentina's exports to Bolivia reached US$523 million in 2020, down from US$617 million the previous year.
Economic recovery in the region at risk
The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) warned that the pandemic has generated an increase in the levels of indebtedness of Latin American and Caribbean countries that jeopardizes the recovery and the ability of nations to carry out a sustainable and equal reconstruction.
This was stated this Thursday by the organization in a virtual meeting with member countries in which the executive secretary, Alicia Bárcena, presented the tenth Covid-19 Report of the institution.