LatinNews Daily - 13 March 2023

In brief: Paraguay’s Abdo Benítez talks trade with Argentina’s Fernández

* Paraguay’s President Mario Abdo Benítez and Argentina’s President Alberto Fernández have agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation and stressed the importance of the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) regional trade bloc, which also includes Brazil and Uruguay. During a visit by Abdo Benítez to Buenos Aires, the pair discussed the need for more regional and extra-regional trade via Mercosur given the impact of the conflict in Ukraine on the global supply chain. They also highlighted the negotiations that the bloc is carrying out with the European Union (EU) to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. Although an EU-Mercosur deal was completed in 2019, it has yet to be ratified. The two presidents also agreed to review measures that may affect the efficiency of river navigation, the main means of transport for Paraguayan exports. Abdo Benítez presented Paraguay’s position regarding Argentina’s intention to apply a toll on the Paraguay-Paraná waterway, and the need to adjust transit on the waterway. According to a press release from Paraguay’s presidential office, Fernández conveyed Argentina’s willingness to continue evaluating the issue and requested Paraguay submit a proposal that would lead to a satisfactory solution for all parties.

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