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Mercosur, China Seek to Boost Trade to $200 Billion by 2016

South America’s Mercosur trade bloc and China agreed to take steps to boost exports and seek to increase annual trade to $200 billion by 2016, according to a statement posted on the Mercosur website.

China, the second-biggest buyer of goods from Mercosur, and leaders from the trade bloc that met today in Mendoza agreed to adopt measures to diversify trade, according to the statement.

The accord comes after Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited Brazil, Argentina and Chile in a bid to bolster relations with the South American countries. In Brazil, Wen and President Dilma Rousseff agreed to sign an agreement in the next few weeks to swap as much as $30 billion in their two currencies.

Wen and Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner on June 25 signed trade and investment agreements, including a 9.5 billion-peso ($2.1 billion) loan from China Development Bank Corp. and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., for work in the Belgrano Cargas rail line.

Leaders from Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay today agreed to suspend Paraguay’s membership from Mercosur after congress last week ousted President Fernando Lugo. The suspension will last until the country holds presidential elections, Fernandez said.

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