Brazil threatens Mercosur exit

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Brazil’s economy minister has said the country could leave the Mercosur trade bloc if Argentina’s opposition wins presidential elections later this year. He also questioned how dependent Brazil’s economy was on Argentina.

Brazilian Economy Minister Paulo Guedes said that the country cannot get hung up on the crisis in Argentina, adding that Mercosur is a vehicle for Brazil’s integration into international trade but was ready to leave Mercosur depending to the political developments in Argentina.

“If Cristina Kirchner gets in and closes the economy, we will leave Mercosur,” Guedes said at an event in Sao Paulo hosted by Santander bank, referring to Argentina’s Peronist vice presidential candidate and former president.

“Foreign trade is a warning sign, but our main concern is internal. Brazil is a continental economy, and we need to recover our own growth momentum. We are not so dependent on others,” Guedes said.

Argentinian opposition candidate Alberto Fernandez received nearly 48 percent support on Sunday in Argentina’s primary vote, considered an important bellwether ahead of the general elections on October 27. Alberto Fernandez’s vice-presidential candidate is former Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who adopted protectionist policies during her tenure from 2007 to 2015. Conservative incumbent Mauricio Macri, an ally of far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, took just 32 percent of the vote.

Brazil and Argentina, along with Uruguay and Paraguay, make up the Mercosur trade bloc. Bolsonaro and Macri recently helped Mercosur sign one of the world’s biggest free trade deals with the European Union after 20 years of negotiations. Both of their respective governments have expressed interest in signing a similar agreement with the United States.

 

Via Reuters/ DW

 

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