Last week, Argentina, the second-largest partner of the Southern Common Market that was created in 1991 (Mercosur), decided to withdraw from the negotiations that the bloc has open with other nations. The government of Argentina made this decision to protect the country's companies, employment, and the most humble families within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic global crisis.
The Foreign Ministry stated that the Government's position was "different than the positions of some partners, which propose an acceleration of the negotiations towards free trade agreements with South Korea, Singapore, Lebanon, Canada, and India, among others."
However, Argentina guaranteed its regional partners that it would continue to accompany the progress of the Mercosur agreements with the European Union and the EFTA (European Free Trade Agreement), as the president of Argentina, Alberto Fernandez, confirmed on Tuesday to his counterpart from Uruguay, Luis Lacalle Pou, in a telephone conversation.
"The decision is not to leave Mercosur, it is to make it bigger, with more members," the Argentine president told Lacalle Pou, according to Argentine official sources.
Correcting asymmetries in the region
Fernandez and Lacalle Pou pledged to deepen joint work within Mercosur to correct the asymmetries in the region and agreed that they will instruct their respective foreign ministers to advance in this regard.
The presidents also spoke about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region and agreed to complement the health work between both countries, official sources stated.