Germany and Argentina are working together to ensure that negotiations on the world's largest free trade zone are concluded quickly.
The talks between the European Union and the South American confederation Mercosur, which have been going on for more than 20 years, have lasted long enough, said Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) yesterday evening (local time) after a meeting with Argentine President Alberto Ángel Fernández in Buenos Aires. "That's why it's important that everyone now contributes with a constructive spirit so that we can join hands and find a way to bring the negotiations to a successful conclusion soon."
Fernandez stressed that he agreed with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva: "We want to push this agreement and get it going. It would benefit Latin America and especially Mercosur, it would benefit Europe and it would also strengthen multilateralism. "
It is also about protecting the Amazon
The EU has been negotiating a trade deal with Mercosur, which includes Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, since 1999. A breakthrough was achieved in 2019, but there are still problems, especially when it comes to protecting the Amazon rainforest, which has already been largely cleared for livestock and agriculture. The agreement would create a market of more than 700 million people, covering nearly 20 percent of the global economy and 31 percent of global goods exports. It would be the largest free trade area in existence.
Two agreements on cooperation in the promotion of start-up companies and in the energy sector were also signed in the presence of Scholz and Fernandez.
The latter is primarily about green hydrogen, but Scholz also expressed an interest in Argentine liquefied gas. Fernández said Argentina wants to "become a safe gas producer in the world" and expand its capacity. Argentina has one of the largest shale gas deposits in the world. But extraction is difficult and controversial with the fracking technique. There is a lack of infrastructure for distribution in the country and for export to other countries.
Ukraine is also an issue
The conversation also dealt with the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. Fernández made it clear that Argentina, unlike Germany, has no intention of supplying arms to Ukraine. "Argentina and Latin America have no thought of sending arms to Ukraine or any other country in conflict," he said.
According to media reports, the United States is asking several Latin American countries to hand over Soviet-designed weapons to Ukraine. At the UN General Assembly in March last year, Argentina, Brazil and Chile were among the 141 countries that condemned Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine. Of the Latin American and Caribbean countries, only Bolivia, El Salvador and Cuba abstained.