Proposed free trade agreement between Mercosur and China opposes Brazil and Argentina

From BBC Brazil
By Ruth Costas
June 27, 2012

Amid the Paraguayan crisis, the announcement that China would be interested in a free trade agreement with Mercosur has caused surprise and put into opposing camps diplomats from Brazil and Argentina, according to experts questioned by BBC Brazil.

The Beijing government also offered a credit line of $ 10 billion to finance infrastructure projects in Latin America.

The Chinese proposals were made in Argentina on Friday last by Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, during a video conference where he also attended by the Brazilian president, Rousseff, and the Uruguayan José Mujica, as well as Argentine President Cristina Kirchner. The only absentee was in Paraguay, who lives a troubled process of presidential succession.

According to experts, the chances that the proposed free trade to flourish are small due to the opposition of the Brazilian industry.

Scott Miriam Gomes, a professor at State University of Rio de Janeiro, explains that the idea of ​​a free trade agreement between Mercosur and China is clearly advocated by Argentina in Brasilia and views with concern because of the threat that Chinese products can pose to the industry Brazilian.

The opinion is the same as Kevin Gallagher, an expert on China-Latin America at Boston University and is in Buenos Aires researching the topic.

“All Latin American countries could benefit from privileged access to the Chinese market, which consumes 72% of Argentine soybean and 50% of Brazilian steel, but the potential impact of an increase in Chinese imports divides the region,” he explains.

Read the full article at BBC.co.uk (translated from Portuguese).