MercoPress | 7 March 2023
Uruguay-China’s FTA is “improving” at a slower pace, President Lacalle says
The President of Uruguay, Luis Lacalle Pou, referred to the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China. In an interview with the Argentine radio program “Alguien tiene que decirlo” (Radio Mitre), Lacalle stated that negotiations with Chinese authorities are “progressing”. However, the processes of the Asian country advance at a “slower” pace, the head of the South American Government said.
“Perhaps the speed that one would like is not what we have today. The processes of those giant countries are not like ours ; we are here to sign tomorrow,” he said in response to journalist Eduardo Feinmann’s question.
In this regard, the Uruguayan president added : “There are legitimate pressures from Argentina and Brazil for Uruguay not to advance unilaterally.” Lacalle assured that he discussed the issue with Argentine President Alberto Fernández in various forums, such as Mercosur summits and “honestly, eating a barbecue”.
“Uruguay’s attitude is not ’I got mad and I’m taking the ball.’ We want all of Mercosur to progress, but there is not much willingness because each country has its interests. There is no urgent willingness to advance agreements with other countries ; Uruguay does. When we reach a principle of agreement, we will look to the side and ask, ’Are you coming ?’, and if they don’t want to join, we will go alone,” Lacalle emphasized.
On the other hand, Lacalle referred to the “21st-century socialism” when asked by Feinmann if he was concerned about the situation in countries such as Nicaragua or Venezuela.
“What is 21st-century socialism ? In our country, the Socialist Party is one of the oldest, and I agree with them on very few things, but they have a democratic vocation. To say that socialism is to defend authoritarians and dictators is to discredit a movement,” the president replied.