German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called for an early conclusion of negotiations on a free trade agreement between the European Union and the South American trade bloc Mercosur during a visit to Buenos Aires as part of a tour of the region, Reuters reports.
Berlin wants to reduce its dependence on China for minerals key to the energy transition, making resource-rich Latin America an important partner. The region's potential for renewable energy production is another attractive feature.
There is great potential to further deepen our trade relationship, and the opportunities that could arise from an EU-MERCOSUR deal are obviously particularly significant, Scholz said at a news conference with Argentine President Alberto Fernandez.
Fernandez blamed European protectionism for delaying the deal, agreed upon in 2019 but not ratified by national parliaments. EU ambassadors said Brazil must take concrete steps to stop the rapid destruction of the Amazon rainforest.
Berlin hopes that fears can be allayed after the election of Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who has promised to review the country's climate policy. Scholz is scheduled to meet with him on Monday at the end of his three-day tour.