Macri on Mercosur-EU trade deal: “This is the most important agreement signed in our history”

Day 2 G20 Osaka: statements on Mercosur-EU deal, Lima group condemns Maduro, plenary session on energy and climate change.

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At a joint declaration at the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Osaka, Japan, President Macri of Argentina, together with European Commission President, Jean Claude Juncker, spoke of the political agreement reached yesterday in Brussels for a comprehensive trade deal between Mercosur and the European Union.

“On behalf of the countries that make up Mercosur, this is a historic day. It is the most important agreement we have signed in our history. It took 20 years, but we reached a point in time where the good will existed … to make this a reality,” said Macri, who spoke in his capacity as President Pro Tempore of Mercosur.

The conditions of the Strategic Association Agreement “provide clearer and more stable rules” for those seeking to support Mercosur in its growth, said Macri, adding that it will not just herald greater trade flows but greater investment as well.

Jean Claude Juncker said that “this agreement is a true message in support of open, fair and sustainable trade, because trade promotes good jobs for all involved and shows that in times of difficulty, consensus can be reached and commitments of mutual benefit can be made.”

The declarations were made after a meeting between Macri and Juncker at the International Convention Center in Osaka, and in the presence of EU and Mercosur member heads of state who had gathered for the occasion, including President Emmanuel Macron of France; President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil; Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany; Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez of Spain; Prime Minister Theresa May of the UK; Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of Italy; Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands; and President of the European Council, Donald Tusk. 

The agreement is the culmination of a 20-year negotiating process that was given greater momentum in 2016 after President Macri took office, and will create a market of nearly 800 million people, almost a quarter of the world’s GDP, with more than US$100 billion of bilateral trade in goods and services.

It is a clear commitment from both regions to rules-based international trade, and a milestone in Argentina’s concerted efforts at stronger international integration, allowing for regional economies to increase their exports, companies to participate further in global value chains, the technology transfer process to accelerate, and for greater competitiveness of the Argentine economy as well as more investment.

On this the second and final day 2 of the Osaka G20 Leaders’ Summit, President Macri also met with fellow Lima Group members, President Sebastián Piñera of Chile and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada.

Together with non-member Brazil, the leaders issued a joint declaration condemning the “illegitimate regime” of Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela, calling for a democratic, peaceful, Venezuelan-led resolution.

The declaration appeals to the international community to guarantee respect for the human rights of the Venezuelan people, and calls for the release of all political prisoners.

In statements to the press after the meeting, President Macri warned that “beyond the goodwill and the proposed dialogue”, President Maduro takes advantage of mediation attempts “to stay in power and therefore generate more poverty, hunger and corruption.

Later on Saturday, at the fourth and final plenary session of the summit, dedicated to energy, the environment and climate change, President Macri held up Vaca Muerta oil and gas field in Neuquén province as a shining example of the wealth of possibilities and opportunities in Argentina as it looks to become a global energy producer.

He reminded fellow leaders that production in this the world’s second largest shale gas reserve and fourth largest shale oil reserve, will allow Argentina to become a net exporter of gas within the next four or five years, and will within three years be exporting over half a million barrels of oil.

President Macri also attended a G20 event on the empowerment of women, and held meetings and exchanges with Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez of Spain; Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany; and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.

On his way back to Argentina, President Macri will stop off in Zurich where he will receive the FIFA “Living Football” award from FIFA President Gianni Infantini, in recognition of his work promoting football as a tool for social cohesion.


Macri on Mercosur-EU trade deal: “This is the most important agreement signed in our history”