Argentina's industrial output crashed 33.5% in April from the same month last year, the government's statistics agency said on Thursday, as the national lockdown to fight the coronavirus pandemic bludgeoned Latin America's No. 3 economy.
Argentine Foreign Minister Felipe Solá reaffirmed on Thursday the decision of president Alberto Fernandez's government to continue being part of Mercosur. When asked about links with the other member countries of the bloc, Solá said that a “rupture or union depends on the political will of the governments and our will is, that we are not on the rupture path”
US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he is considering imposing a halt on all travel coming from Latin America amid worsening coronavirus outbreaks in the region.
The world's largest operational hydroelectric dam, Itaipu Plant announced that starting next Monday, May 18, it will open its spillway to help Paraguay and Argentina, which are suffering from a drought and hence having problems transporting their grain harvest.
Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benítez has said the spread of coronavirus in Brazil threatens his country's success in containing the virus. Mr Benítez said more than half of Paraguay's 563 cases were people who had entered from neighbouring Brazil.
Foreign minister Felipe Sola said Argentina is “not abandoning Mercosur, and did not leave any chair at the table”. Furthermore, this Thursday a round of ministerial talks will be taking place, requested by Paraguay, to keep analyzing the legal and institutional framework that some members pretend to speed a list of negotiations with other countries.
Mercosur member Paraguay has a high likelihood of bouncing back best once the novel coronavirus is contained, Rebeca Grynspan, head of the Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB), told Radio Nacional del Paraguay on Thursday.
Uruguayan president Luis Alberto Lacalle Pou and his Argentine peer, Alberto Fernandez held a half-hour video conference Tuesday mid-morning to address the recent decision by the current Argentine administration to freeze Mercosur free trade negotiations with potential new partners and instead concentrate efforts in overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic and its sanitary, social, economic and employment consequences.
Brazil's giant meatpacker Marfrig Global Foods CEO, Miguel Gularte, said the company has resumed sales of fresh beef to the US following a decision by US authorities to open their market to Brazilian beef. American slaughterhouses have been closing amid coronavirus social distancing rules and this has led to unmet demand within the US.
In the midst of the chaotic situation caused by the pandemic, the Argentine government announced the abandonment of Mercosur negotiations to prioritize the country’s domestic economy and the struggle against the virus. The rest of the bloc members must evaluate legal, institutional, and operational measures emerging from the decision.