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ECONOMY | 04-07-2019 14:12

Mercosur eyes trade deal with United States after securing EU accord

President Mauricio Macri and Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie reveal that Argentina and Brazil, the two largest members of the Mercosur, are talking about a potential trade deal with the world’s largest consumer market.

Fresh off their first major trade pact, the leaders of the Mercosur trade bloc are already eyeing a bigger market: the United States.

President Mauricio Macri revealed Thursday that his government is talking with Brazil about a potential US free-trade deal, less than a week after landing one with the European Union.

Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie first broke the news Wednesday night during a TV interview.

“We think this would complement what we just finished with the European Union,” Faurie said, adding that Brazilian and Argentine leaders have brought up the topic with their US counterparts.

Brazil and Argentina are the two largest members of Mercosur, the South American trade bloc that includes Paraguay and Uruguay. The EU deal is the first major trade agreement for the bloc that until recently was known for its protectionist policies and high tariffs. The accord with the EU – the world’s second largest consumer market after the US, according to World Bank data – came after nearly 20 years of on-and-off negotiations.

Macri said Thursday the ratification process for the EU-Mercosur pact would take two years between all the nations involved. He argued that it marks a reversal for Argentina after decades of protectionism.

“The good thing that’s happening is that the world is interested in connecting with us,” said Macri, a pro-trade leader. “No economy in the world benefits being as closed as Argentina.”

- Bloomberg

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