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Financial Post | 25 April 2020
Argentina to exit Mercosur trade talks to focus on problems at home
par Hernan Nessi, Reuters
BUENOS AIRES — Argentina has decided to withdraw from ongoing trade negotiations with regional bloc Mercosur as it turns its focus on the growing economic crisis at home, the bloc said in a statement late on Friday.
The decision marks yet a setback for the four nation common market, which has recently been hobbled by political squabbling and government changeovers. The bloc also includes Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil.
Paraguay’s foreign ministry, which currently holds presidency of Mercosur, said Argentina had taken the decision to focus “on internal economic policy, aggravated by the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.”
The bloc said in the statement it was evaluating next moves to ensure Argentina ́s decision would not disrupt ongoing trade negotiations.
Argentina ́s foreign ministry said separately it had already communicated concerns to the bloc over fast-tracking free trade agreements with South Korea, Singapore, Lebanon, Canada and India, among others.
“Argentina made it clear that international uncertainty and the state of our economy suggest halting progress on those negotiations,” Argentina ́s foreign ministry said in a Friday statement.
Argentina said it would nonetheless continue to work with Mercosur to push forward agreements with the European Union and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).
(Reporting by Hernan Nessi, writing by Dave Sherwood Editing by Marguerita Choy)