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China Gains Ground in Latin America: President of Argentina Asks the Region to Negotiate a Trade Agreement with Beijing

China gana terreno en América Latina: presidente de Argentina pide a la región negociar acuerdo de comercio con Pekín

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The President of Argentina, Alberto Fernández, bet on Thursday for a “united” Mercosur in the face of the problems derived from the Russian invasion of Ukraine and proposed to negotiate a joint trade agreement with China within the bloc, in allusion to Uruguay’s attempts to advance individually in a deal with the Asian nation.

“In this very difficult scenario, the only thing I ask of all of us is that we not conceive the idea of separating, that we do not have the illusion of looking for individual solutions, that we don’t get excited about the idea that I can come up with a project of my own that will be enough for me, because all of that is short-lived,” said the President during his speech at the plenary session of the LX Summit of Heads of State of Mercosur and Associated States, which is being held in Paraguay in person.

“If there is an opportunity for China to have an agreement with Mercosur, why don’t we analyze it together, why don’t we see its feasibility together? Because the agreement will be much more important if we include Brazil’s 200 million inhabitants, the agreement will be much stronger”, added Fernández.

During his speech, the Argentine head of state invited the rest of the bloc’s member states to “found another” Mercosur, to guarantee its cohesion “once and for all” while showing understanding for the demands of his counterparts from Uruguay and Paraguay, due to the existing “asymmetries” with Argentina and Brazil.

In this sense, Fernandez expressed his intention to discuss the “flexibilization” of Mercosur proposed by his Uruguayan counterpart, Luis Lacalle Pou, as long as this debate takes place with the consensus of the Member States.

“I do not refuse to analyze everything that has to be analyzed because I realize that I live in a world that is changing and that in that change, we are on the ledge, and I do not want any of us to fall off the ledge. I want all of us to continue walking together through this moment in time and overcome it together”, said the Argentine President.

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