Germany’s Merkel Would Welcome South American Trade Deal With EU

  • Chancellor gives further sign of rejecting Trump agenda
  • Trade deal could cover agricultural products and energy

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would welcome a free trade agreement between South America and the European Union, further signaling her rejection of the protectionist stance being taken by U.S. President Donald Trump.

A deal could include agriculture and energy, Merkel said Saturday in her weekly vodcast. She singled out Uruguay as one member of the Mercosur trade bloc that’s supporting closer ties with the EU ahead of President Tabare Vazquez’s visit to Berlin on Feb. 8.

“First, it would be important now to start talking to each other again,” Merkel said.

The prospect of a trade deal follows Trump’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific-Partnership, a pact that includes three Latin American countries. Brazil President Michel Temer and Argentinian counterpart Mauricio Macri will meet in Brasilia next Tuesday to discuss the expansion of Mercosur trade agreements.

Merkel and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang spoke in favor of closer trade ties last month in a call between the leaders of world’s No. 1 and No. 3 exporters. Germany will host in July a summit of Group of 20 leaders in the port city of Hamburg, gateway to the world for German high-end goods from Siemens machinery to BASF chemicals and the entry point for Chinese goods.

— With assistance by Patrick Donahue

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