Leaders of economic powerhouses Brazil and Argentina to discuss free market reforms

Leaders of economic powerhouses Brazil and Argentina to discuss free market reforms

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Argentine President Mauricio Macri will hold bilateral talks today in Buenos Aires. The two will

macri bolsonaro meet

Photo: AP/Eraldo Peres

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Argentine President Mauricio Macri will hold bilateral talks today in Buenos Aires.

The two will discuss, among other things, reforms to the regional trade bloc, Mercosur. In order to make the five-nation trade bloc more competitive internationally, the heads of state will champion market-friendly reforms that could include cutting domestic agricultural subsidies and allowing greater market access for imports from Europe.

Reform efforts come as Mercosur seeks to finalise a free trade agreement with the EU; after almost two decades, talks finally appear to be reaching an end. Agriculture has long been an area of contention between Mercosur and the EU. The former has accused the latter of not allowing sufficient access to its farming sector, while Brussels has demanded greater competition in public procurement and auto market concessions.

A deal is expected to be reached within the year and would help position Mercosur as a larger international exporter, especially at a time of dramatically slowing growth and inter-regional trade.  Though this would pose greater competition for major regional industries, such as agriculture and auto manufacturing, the benefits of greater access to European markets could promote higher growth in the long-term.

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