Argentina outgoing government to block EU-Mercosur deal

UN Photo/Cia Pak Photo # UN71001058
Alberto Fernández, President of the Argentine Republic, addresses the General Assembly,19 September 2023. Fernández has always opposed the deal with the EU in its current form and called to reopen talks.

The potential signing of the much anticipated trade deal between the European Union and the South American trade block Mercosur is being delayed by the outgoing Argentine government ahead of a summit between the two blocs in Brazil.

The EU and Mercosur are meeting on Thursday in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil and Spain, the current holders of the rotating presidency in the two organisations, are both in favour of the deal, but it may not be enough to push for the delayed signature. Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva this week met with German chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin and he still hopes in signing the deal at the summit. The trade deal has been mostly negotiated in 2019, but the basic agreement reached was never implemented due to oppositions in both sides.

However, current Argentina Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero said in an interview to an Argentine radio station that the current trade deal “it is a bad agreement that has a negative impact on manufacturing and agricultural exports.” Cafiero reminded that the current administration of Alberto Fernández has always opposed the deal in its current form and called to reopen talks, as in its current form “it did not reflect a balance where both blocs would benefit.”

Despite the current position, Argentina may soon change its curse. Next Sunday, President-Elect Javier Milei will take office and his new administration is more in favour of it.

Incoming Foreign Minister Diana Mondino expressed her support for the deal at a conference of manufacturing trade group Industrial Organization of Argentina. “We have no objections; it is frankly desirable that it goes through.” She hoped that  Fernández will ultimately sign the treaty during the summit.

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