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Montevideo, April 19th 2024 - 08:40 UTC

 

 

FMs of Paraguay, Argentina discuss Paraná waterway toll

Thursday, January 25th 2024 - 10:12 UTC
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“It is becoming clear that there are a series of works for which there is a cost,” Mondino told reporters after conferring with Ramírez “It is becoming clear that there are a series of works for which there is a cost,” Mondino told reporters after conferring with Ramírez

Foreign Minister Diana Mondino of Argentina and Rubén Ramírez of Paraguay discussed Wednesday in Asunción the issue of collecting a toll for the use of the Paraná waterway, the binational Yacyretá hydroelectric plant, and other bilateral matters in a sitdown on the sides of the Mercosur gathering.

Paraguay's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Mondino and Ramírez “made a broad review of the bilateral agenda and decided to continue with the meetings to reach an agreement on the management of the waterway,” which connects Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay and sparked controversy after the administration of former President Alberto Fernández decided to charge barges sailing through it.

For Paraguay, the waterway represents the way out into the Atlantic Ocean for all its exports not shipped by plane.

“As a first step, bilateral conversations will be held to reach consensus and then present a proposal to the other countries involved,” Asunción also said.

“In the coming weeks,” a meeting will take place “to analyze the technical report that will be presented by the Waterway Working Group and from there move forward towards a definitive solution,” it was also explained.

Argentina insisted that the coordinator of the Group of Experts of the waterway countries had produced a report attesting to “the existence of both the works and the services actually provided, for which the toll rate is paid.”

“It is becoming clear that there are a series of works for which there is a cost,” Mondino told reporters. “This cost has to be covered; what has to be determined is by whom and what amount,” she added while admitting her country was in the red toward its partners in the Yacyretá dam. “We believe that with goodwill and a lot of patience, we will be able to resolve this issue,” she said.

Also Wednesday, the Foreign Ministers Affairs of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Bolivia reviewed Mercosur's trade deal with the European Union (EU). The officials concurred “that it will be a priority to conclude the pending aspects of the negotiations with the European Union and reach the signing of a balanced agreement for both parties as soon as possible.”

“We are going to have a meeting starting tomorrow with Europe and we estimate that, if the interests of each one of the Mercosur countries and its group are contemplated and we reach a balanced agreement, we can proceed,” Ramírez also said.

The ministers also pledged their “technical support” to Bolivia, a partner admitted into the alliance on Dec. 7 that still needs to adjust its domestic legislation to Mercosur standards, a process expected to last about four years.

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