Merkel visits Argentina, discusses trade and climate change
The Dollar Business Bureau
During her visit to Argentina, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday, that the two countries have agreed to promote multilateral trade and to protect the environment from climate change.
The German Chancellor is on a visit to Latin American countries ahead of the G-20 summit, to be held in July in Germany. Merkel has criticised the protectionist stance taken by the US and called the decision of President Donald Trump of withdrawing from the Paris climate accord ‘extremely regrettable.’
In a press conference with Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri, she said that both countries want to be a part of the ‘interconnected world’ and are dedicated to protecting the Paris accord.
“No one alone in this world — no individual and no country — can solve all the problems alone. We must all work together and we both advocate ... a free, open world in which we want to shape globalisation in a humane way,” Merkel said.
Merkel also praised the potential of the South American country in the development of renewable energy resources and said that Germany can use the country’s experience to help develop them.
She further said that the European Union (EU) should be committed to go in for a trade agreement with the Mercosur group of South American nations.
“The EU must compromise if it wants to reach a trade accord with South American trade bloc Mercosur,” Merkel said.
Merkel said that Germany’s agriculture has its own interests, however, the country has supported Argentina's drives to come quickly to a trade pact with the EU, and added, “Great progress had been made already.”
“Negotiating a free trade agreement is always a difficult matter. And Germany is not always an easy partner,” she told reporters.
“If there is a will to sign such an agreement...then we must also make compromises,” she added.
Mercosur bloc started negotiations with the EU in 1999, but discontinued them in 2004 and again resumed discussions in 2010. Currently, the EU is negotiating a free trade agreement with the members of Mercosur including Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay) as a part of complete negotiations for a bi-regional association pact.
Argentine President told reporters that Mercosur bloc was committed to a pact irrespective of the political chaos in Brazil, and said according to him protectionism stance in Europe was a major obstacle to be overcome.
“Brazil is perfectly aligned with this idea, we share it with Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay. We see it as an opportunity to reach an agreement with the EU after more than 20 years of these conversations,” said Macri.
“In this sense, I am very optimistic. I believe Chancellor Merkel will have more work with protectionist themes against the agricultural measures that we will have within Mercosur,” he said.
In 2016, Germany ranked as the fourth-largest trading partner of Argentina after Brazil, China and the US.
Merkel stated that her Argentina visit comes after Macri helped his country end a legal row that made it return to global credit markets after almost 15 years.
The German Chancellor also welcomed the more open policies of Argentina and said Germany can be a good partner of the South American nation as it sought to reconstruct and modernise its infrastructure.