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WORLD | 21-10-2017 10:33

Macri and Trump discuss bilateral trade, Venezuela in phone call

The call came only a week after Macri shared a round of golf with Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama.

In the midst of the uproar over the apparent discovery of Santiago Maldonado’s body, President Mauricio Macri received a telephone call from his United States counterpart Donald Trump on Wednesday but neither that bombshell nor tomorrow’s midterm elections were mentioned in the 15-minute conversation apparently.

Trump’s agenda was strictly regional and economic. Following preliminary congratulations for Macri’s “attempts toward economic reform,” Trump immediately moved onto business, which was mustering regional support for “helping the Venezuelan people restore democracy in their country.” The two leaders then “renewed their commitment toward expanding trade and investment between the US and Argentina.” At no point did Macri contradict Trump in the “cordial” dialogue but he did put in a word toward the facilitation of Argentine beef exports while Trump celebrated that “US pork will soon be exported to Argentina.”

The call came only a week after Macri shared a round of golf with Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, who had just attended a Córdoba summit on climate change (an issue bitterly resisted by Trump). In April Trump received Macri with full honours in the White House. The two presidents have known each other for some three decades in the course of their previous business careers.

However, it seems Macri’s prior relationship with the former reality TV star is little help with the row over biodiesel. According to reports in US media outlets on Thursday, the Trump administration will announce the details of the anticipated sharp rise in aggressive anti-dumping duties on biodiesel imports. Any move will have a huge effect on Argentina’s soy oil exports, which sends large quantities of biodiesel to the US, as high as two-thirds of total US foreign imports of the fuel.

US producers have been pressuring the Trump administration to prevent imports that have depressed prices. Experts were expecting an announcement last night, as this newspaper went to print.

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