Paraguay's President Mario Abdo Benítez Friday welcomed Spain's Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya at the presidential residence of Mburuvicha Roga in Asunción. The presence of Spain's top diplomat is linked, among other issues, to Mercosur's trade deal with the European Union.
González Laya is to participate in Saturday's VII Meeting of the Paraguay-Spain Bilateral Political Consultation and Coordination Mechanism, where the ratification of the Trade Agreement between Mercosur and the European Union will be discussed.
The Accord, which was signed after some 20 years of negotiations is now stalled pending ratification from each European Union member, some of whom, such as France, Austria, the Netherlands and Belgium, have already expressed their opposition to it unless reassurances are given regarding environmental concerns such as the protection of the Amazon and the observance of European agri-food and phytosanitary regulations in addition to the fight against climate change.
González Laya is the first foreign minister of Spain to visit Paraguay since José Manuel García-Margallo's trip in 2015.
Meanwhile, Paraguay's outreach to the world seems to have gained momentum following the latest developments regarding the commercialization of Paraguayan yerba mate in Taiwan, Japan and other Asian countries thanks to the Fomipymes Project, which is an undertaking promoted by the Technical Mission of Taiwan, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MIC) and the Centro Yerbatero Paraguayo, since 2020. The project even includes the promotion of mate tea within potential Asian consumers in the form of modifications to both the packaging and the herb itself, using filters and crushing the yerba mate as matcha tea (or ground green tea) to meet the targeted clients' demands.
Further developments are also seeking the approval of Paraguayan yerba mate by European Union laboratories. The EU is now more open to adding new and probably exotic foods and beverages following the green light given to dried worms for human consumption.