BUENOS AIRES – Argentina and Spain have sealed an agreement to act together in the multilateral environment, Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said on Monday.
“It’s obvious that Argentina ... has played and will play an even greater (role) ... Argentina is coming back in the region and we will listen to Argentina with enormous attention. We’ve made a pact of blood and of mutual understanding to inform ourselves, to try and act together in the countries where we both have interests,” he said during a press conference with Argentine counterpart Susana Malcorra.
The Spanish minister said that he and Malcorra discussed, besides the issues on the bilateral agenda, the situation in Brazil, Venezuela, Cuba, Peru and Colombia and the negotiations for a free trade pact between the European Union and Mercosur, the trade bloc comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Garcia-Margallo later joined Argentine Finance Minister Alfonso Prat-Gay for the inauguration of the Argentina-Spain Business Forum.
The Spaniard said that he views with “hope and enthusiasm” the road taken by the team of new Argentine President Mauricio Macri, who took office in December, and he urged the EU to send “an unequivocal and urgent signal” to Latin America so that “it doesn’t get displaced by other (international) actors.”
“The Spanish businessman knows Argentina better than any other foreign businessman,” Prat-Gay said. “If they see the Spaniards mobilizing themselves, the doubts about Argentina will dissipate.”
Despite the fact that Spanish investment in Argentina has dropped off significantly, from $23 billion some years back to $6 billion in 2015, the country remains the second largest investor in Argentina and both nations make up “an unbreakable marriage,” Malcorra said at the business event.
The more than 200 Spanish companies doing business in Argentina, according to the vice president of Spain’s CEOE business confederation, Antonio Garamendi, a sign of the “confidence” Spanish businessmen have in the South American country, which – in turn – needs to recover “the importance it deserves” in Latin America.