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Uruguay and Mainland China Agree to Launch FTA Talks

Mainland Chinese President Xi Jinping and Uruguayan President Tabaré Vázquez agreed during President Vázquez’s 19-21 October state visit to the mainland to establish a strategic association between their two nations and initiate as soon as possible bi-lateral negotiations on a free trade agreement. According to a press release issued by the Uruguayan government, mainland Chinese authorities have agreed to be in close communication with Mercosur on an eventual FTA with Uruguay given the importance of that regional trade bloc. The two sides also signed 16 co-operation agreements on such areas as visa exemptions, education, agriculture, tourism, culture, and information and communication technology.

Uruguayan Minister of Economy Danilo Astori recently highlighted the importance of enhancing Uruguay’s economic linkages at both the regional and global levels by pursuing trade agreements. Negotiating bi-lateral FTAs is especially critical for Uruguay given the inability of the World Trade Organisation to conclude the Doha Round of trade negotiations as well as the lack of ambition of Mercosur’s external agenda, which is currently paralysed by the rapidly deteriorating political situation in Venezuela. Astori emphasised the need to increase and diversify the value generated by domestic production activities and integrate Uruguay into global value chains, two goals that will be achieved in part by reaching high-quality trade deals with key partners around the globe.

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