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ARGENTINA | 28-07-2018 09:07

President Macri meets with BRICS as BA hosts G20 agro summit

Macri heads to South Africa in a busy week for bilateral ties.

In a week that highlighted the government’s increasing and enlarging role on the international stage, President Mauricio Macri’s administration looked both inward and outward this week with a host of international events.

The president ended the week in South Africa. The heads of the BRICS group – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – met in Johannesburg for their 10th annual summit, which was dominated by the risk of a US-led trade war, although leaders did not publicly mention US President Donald Trump by name.

Macri, invited to event in Johannesburg due to Argentina’s position as pro-tempore president of the G20, said it was a “great honour” to attend as he declared Argentina wanted to “act as a bridge for diversity.” The president used his speech to say that “Latin America and the Caribbean have a lot to offer to the world order , through the talent of its people, its rich endowment of natural resources and as a zone of peace and cooperation.”

While there, the president held meetings with world leaders including Russian President Vladmir Putin and Chinese premier Xi Jingping.

On the sidelines of the event, Macri also met his Brazilian counterpart, Michel Temer, to study the “differences” that still exist within the Mercosur trade bloc on the drawn-out negotiations for a free-trade deal with the European Union (EU).

The leaders “reviewed the progress toward an agreement between the Mercosur and the European Union (EU) to allow the commercial exchange between both economic blocs,” the Foreign Ministry said.

During the meeting, Macri and Temer “emphasised the differences that still persist within the regional bloc, among them, in the automotive and wine sectors,” read an official statement “Macri proposed to Temer they organise a meeting of ministers of both countries for the second half of August in order to adjust details.

Back home, in the nation’s capital, Argentina hosted the latest in a series of G20 meetings. Just days after the heads of central banks and finance ministers from the G20 group of nations flew out of Buenos Aires, after a high-intensity two-day summit in Argentina, agricultural ministers touched down in the capital for their own meeting, this time at the San Martín Palace.

Ministers have a lot of the agenda, which is being overseen by Argentina’s Agricultural Minister Luis Miguel Etchevehere. During talks scheduled to last two days, government officials are expected to undertake comprehensive discussions on subjects like ensuring a sustainable food future, responsible soil management, food waste reduction and the role of technology in agriculture.

The G20 nations account for around 60 percent of the world’s farmland and almost 80 pecent of global trade in foodstuffs and agricultural products.

The culmination of the G20 series of events under Argentina’s presidency will be the leaders’ summit, which takes place in Buenos Aires on November 30 and December 1.

In advance of that date, the G20 unit announced this week that the government would shut down public access to the Jorge Newbery metropolitan airport in the capital, reserving its use for dignatories and world leaders – including US President Donald Trump, China’s Xi Jinping, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin – who will be attending the event.

Commercial and civilian flights will be directed to alternative airports and landing strips, including El Palomar, Morón and San Fernando, among others., from Thursday, November 29 to Saturday, December 1. No air traffic will be allowed within 25 kilometres of Jorge Newbery Airport during this time.

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