Argentina's Foreign Ministry Friday issued a statement according to which Uruguay's negotiations with China towards a Free Trade Agreement must go through Mercosur.
”The Secretariat of International Economic Relations emphasized that Uruguay's decision to begin talks soon to sign a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China, without the participation of Mercosur, is in the evaluation stage,” the diplomatic document highlighted.
Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou announced earlier this week that his country and China had finalized the feasibility studies and were now moving forward with their intention to reach a bilateral FTA.
Lacalle had already voiced his plans in September even though Mercosur rules ban members (namely Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay) from unilateral talks with other countries or blocs.
Argentina's Lower House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eduardo Valdés of the ruling Frente de Todos (FdT) Friday said China was breaking up Mercosur with such a deal.
On the part of Lacalle Pou of Uruguay, it hurts me, but the fact that China is finalizing it hurts me even more, Valdés said while decrying the current global situation amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukrainian war.
War is the impossibility of dialogue, the lack of civilization; it generates global changes again and the regions that suffer the most are the ones that are farthest from the conflict: Africa, Latin America, he said.
In this context, some people such as arms dealers and food sellers make a profit, he added.