MONTEVIDEO – China plans to negotiate a trade agreement with the regional Mercosur bloc and with Uruguay, the economy and trade counselor at the Chinese Embassy in Montevideo told EFE on Monday.
“The Chinese government always has a positive and open attitude toward agreements that can foster our economic and commercial relations with Uruguay even more,” Zhou Quan said.
“The issue is that Uruguay is also part of Mercosur, so, within that bloc it must abide by some conditions or subscribe certain documents with them (its partners) to make a free-trade agreement possible,” Zhou said.
Beijing is considering two possibilities, the diplomat said.
One approach would be talks with the bloc as a whole, while the other would be to negotiate a bilateral deal with Uruguay that enjoyed the support of the other Mercosur partners.
Alberto Fajardo, director of the Asia, Africa and Oceania desk at the Uruguayan Foreign Ministry, told EFE that “all Mercosur partners wish to sign, eventually, a trade agreement with China.”
Uruguay has the “willingness to conclude and sign a free trade agreement (with China), but this has been postponed for a while because it is an issue that requires coordination with our Mercosur partners,” Fajardo said.
Bilateral relations are excellent and China is becoming the South American nation’s main trade partner, the official said.