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ECONOMY | 27-04-2020 12:59

Mercosur talks complicated by Argentina's decision, says Paraguay

With surprise on the part of the authorities and criticism from the industrial sector about the effectiveness of the economic integration project, the announcement by Argentina to abandon the negotiations being carried out by Mercosur was received in Paraguay.

The Paraguayan government has expressed surprise over Argentina's decision to pull out of all future Mercosur trade talks, saying upcoming negotiations will be complicated by the move.

"This is an unprecedented event. We are going to have to use a lot of ingenuity to deal with this situation," said Paraguayan Deputy Minister of International Economic Relations Didier Olmedo.

Expressing his surprise at the move, the official told the ABC newspaper that in the past "when a country was planning a decision that would affect the rest, it was communicated and dealt with at the level of foreign ministers."

Argentina's untimely exit from the current negotiations will impact on progress towards planned agreements with other countries.

"We have to see how the negotiating partners [Canada, South Korea, Singapore, Lebanon, India] respond to because Argentina is a very important player. Without their presence, it is most likely that they are not interested in any agreement," said political analyst Fernando Masi.

However, Gustavo Volpe, president of the Paraguayan Industrial Union, took advantage of the situation to add fuel to the fire.

"We always said that Mercosur was useless to us," he said.

"It never went beyond being a customs union (...) There was never any improvement for the industrial sector but always obstacles to exports," he lamented.

- TIMES/AFP

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