VIENNA, April 15 South American trade bloc
Mercosur plans to sign a trade agreement with the European Union
this year, the president of Argentina, which holds the rotating
presidency of Mercosur, said in an interview published on
The comments by Argentine President Mauricio Macri appeared
to confirm remarks by Brazil's foreign minister, who told
Reuters last month that the members of Mercosur - Argentina,
Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay - would sign a framework political
deal with the EU this year.
"We firmly intend to sign an agreement in the second half of
this year," Macri said in an interview with Swiss newspaper Neue
Zuercher Zeitung. He did not elaborate on the nature of the
"We also want to move towards the Pacific alliance comprised
of Chile, Columbia and Mexico. It won't happen immediately and
will take a couple of years," he said, adding that he believed
the continent agreed on the need for closer cooperation.
Macri said he would also seek to use a meeting with U.S.
President Donald Trump in Washington this month to improve ties
with the United States.
Relations between the two countries were seriously damaged
by Argentina's $100 billion debt default in 2002 and have
improved since Macri, who like Trump worked as a businessman
before entering politics, took office in 2015.
"Argentina barely has relations with the USA anymore. There
is a great deal we could improve and hardly anything we could
make worse," Macri said.
(Reporting by Francois Murphy; Editing by Alison Williams)