Fresh off their first major trade pact, South American leaders are already eyeing a bigger market: the U.S.
Argentine President Mauricio Macri said Thursday that his government is talking with Brazil about a potential U.S. free trade deal, less than a week after landing one with the European Union. Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie first broke the news Wednesday night during a TV interview.
“We think this would complement what we just finished with the European Union,” Faurie said, adding that Brazilian and Argentine leaders have brought up the topic with their U.S. counterparts.
Brazil and Argentina are the two largest members of Mercosur, the South American trade bloc that includes Paraguay and Uruguay. The EU deal is the first major trade agreement for the bloc that until recently was known for its protectionist policies and high tariffs. The EU accord came after nearly 20 years of on and off negotiations.
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Macri said Thursday the ratification process for the EU-Mercosur pact would take two years between all the nations involved. He argued that it marks a reversal for Argentina after decades of protectionism.
“The good thing that’s happening is that the world is interested in connecting with us,” said Macri, a pro-trade leader. “No economy in the world benefits being as closed as Argentina.”