MONTEVIDEO – Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy told Spanish and Uruguayan businessman on Wednesday that he supports accelerating negotiations for an accord between the European Union and Mercosur with an eye toward concluding the pact this year.
Rajoy, who presided at a bilateral business forum on his first official visit to Uruguay, took advantage of the meeting to clearly enunciate the message regarding the pact that he also had conveyed on his recent visit to Brazil.
In the premier’s judgment, the accord is “closer than ever” and will create benefits for both parties, and he added that Spain and Uruguay have excellent institutional, economic and trade relations.
He emphasized that Uruguay is a very stable Latin American nation, with high judicial transparency and security, asserting that proof of that is the country’s ability to deal with the risks of an economic recession that has greatly affected other countries in the region.
Rajoy noted that Spain, too, is overcoming an unprecedented economic crisis “thanks to a reformist agenda that has returned stability and trust to the economy.”
In that ongoing task, he said that the foreign sector had played – and is playing – a central and decisive role.
In addition, he presented a series of figures he said show Spain’s new situation of economic growth and job creation in recent years, as well as the dynamism of its export sector.
The premier said that the big players in the change in the country’s growth model are companies, as well as the large number of small and medium-sized businesses.
Rajoy also noted the growing trade flows between Spain and Uruguay, making the point that last year bilateral trade amounted to $410 million, a 27 percent increase over 2013.
There are more than 125 Spanish firms with a presence in Uruguay, and they generate more than 12,500 jobs.
Rajoy also said he thinks that trade relations can be augmented even further, adding that the Uruguayan government is launching projects to provide new opportunities to Spanish companies within the framework of modifying the energy grid and the national infrastructure plan.
He also said that Spain is an attractive market for Uruguayan companies and investment and “a good gateway to the European community market.”
“Spain and Uruguay are partners and friends, and my government will do everything possible to continue intensifying trade and economic relations between the two countries,” he said.
After participating in the forum, Rajoy is scheduled to meet with Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez.