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Argentina, Brazil ready to talk on trade impasse

Argentina, Brazil ready to talk on trade impasse

Brazil and Argentina agreed Tuesday to negotiate a way out of a trade dispute over cars, food and appliances that threatens to cost thousands of jobs in both countries.
Brazil closed its borders to cars imported from Argentina last week after executives in Sao Paulo complained that Argentine restrictions on Brazilian products were harming their companies. The dispute hurts both sides, since Brazilians buy 80 percent of Argentina's new cars, which are made largely with parts from Brazil.
Since Brazil's economy is much bigger, the dispute threatens more damage for Argentina, where 137,000 jobs depend on vehicle production.
Brazilian Ambassador Enio Cordeiro and Argentine Minister of Industry Debora Georgi agreed Tuesday in Buenos Aires to hold two days of meetings on the problem next week. They haven't decided yet on the location of the talks.
The dispute started after Argentina imposed import restrictions in February to keep its trade deficit with Brazil from growing. The protectionist rules require individual approval for each license to import Brazilian products that are also made in Argentina. After the Brazilians realized the approvals were taking more than two months each, the government responded last week by closing its borders to Argentine cars.
Georgi then wrote her Brazilian counterpart complaining that Argentina loses $7 billion a year from Brazil's bureaucracy.
The dispute shows how far South America's economies are from the integrated market envisioned 20 years ago when the Mercosur trade bloc was created to eliminate import-export barriers.
Meanwhile, China is aggressively expanding trade in Latin America. On the same day Georgi sent her letter, China's commerce minister was in Brasilia announcing a new deal to sell Chinese-made cars to Brazil and build factories there.


Updated : 2021-05-09 07:51 GMT+08:00