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    Argentine's President Mauricio Macri after partipating in a Mercosur trade block summit in Montevideo, Uruguay December 18, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 15 January 2019

Bolsonaro will meet with Macri in Brazil starting Wednesday to talk about agroindustry, trade and Mercosur.  

Argentine President Mauricio Macri will meet with his Brazilian counterpart Jair Bolsonaro in Brasilia on Wednesday in their first encounter since far right-wing Bolsonaro took office on Jan. 1.

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Spokespeople for both leaders say their agenda will include their bilateral agreements including Mercosur.

Brazil is Argentina’s biggest trading partner and Macri will travel to Brazil, Argentina’s biggest trading partner, with several cabinet members including Security Minister Patricia Bullrich, Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie, Minister of Finance Nicolas Dujovne and Justice Minister German Garavano among others.

"The region needs Brazil to recover its leadership," says the Argentine ambassador in Brazil, Carlos Magariños to local media. Employment, agroindustry, security and defense are also on the agenda, according to Magariños.

A central question for Argentina is whether or not Bolsonaro will follow through with his threats to leave the free trade Mercosur pact between Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.

In late October then president-elect Bolsonaro’s Economic Minister Paulo Guedes criticized Mercosur calling it “too restrictive” and “not a priority” saying it wouldn’t for the Brazilian government.

"Mercosur is too restricted for what we are thinking. When it was created it was totally ideological. Brazil was a prisoner of ideological alliances and that is bad for the economy," he said Guedes in October.

Though Guedes added: "We will not break any relationship (but) we are going to negotiate with the world. We will be more countries. We will not be prisoners of ideological relations with trade."

Argentina media says that Brazil is seeking bilateral agreements with the United States.

Argentina’s Magariños said on Tuesday that he’s “very confident ... the four member countries will continue.” He added to La Nacion on Tuesday, “Mercosur is a useful tool that also needs reforms, updates, modernization and flexibilization. …I have no doubt that we will find the best mechanisms to achieve the objectives that Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay share,” said Magariños.

The four countries formally formed Mercosur in 1991.


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