Uruguay's Foreign Minister Francisco Bustillo Tuesday announced the formation of a preliminary negotiating team to start talks with China over a future free trade agreement.
After a meeting with President Luis Lacalle Pou, Bustillo explained the team would be headed by Ambassador Fernando López Fabregat and Economist Juan Labraga who had been appointed coordinator and alternate coordinator, respectively.
This negotiating team for the FTA feasibility study, which reports directly to Bustillo and Economy Minister Azucena Arbeleche, began to work a few days ago, admitted Uruguay's top diplomat.
The feasibility study is to determine areas and issues as well as the context in which to negotiate with the Chinese government, Bustillo said. Uruguay and China have agreed to explore feasibility before the end of the year to then begin the second stage, which would be that of the negotiations themselves.
Lacalle Pou had announced Sept. 7 his country's intentions regarding such an accord, despite Mercosur's explicit ban, according to the founding rules of the regional bloc.
This Government has expressed its intention to advance towards the world, to advance towards the world with all Mercosur partners, but at the same time ... if it was not possible to advance together, Uruguay would try to do so, Lacalle had said.
China is the main destination for Uruguayan exports, with 26.21% of the volume invoiced in August, according to the latest monthly foreign trade report of the Union of Exporters of Uruguay