- first visit by a UK Trade Minister to Argentina in 10 years signals step change in trade relations
- Trade Minister also urges ambitious and comprehensive progress on EU-Mercosur free trade deal
- Lord Price leading high level trade missions to Colombia and Argentina
Trade and Investment Minister, Lord Price, is leading the government’s first trade mission to Argentina in 10 years, as he looks to strengthen trade relations with Latin America’s third largest economy.
Keen to expand trade and investment with the region, Lord Price’s trip will see him visit Argentina today (5 May 2016) where he will also call for substantial progress on the EU-Mercosur free trade deal. This follows on immediately after a 2 day visit to Colombia and a successful trip to Mexico just 3 weeks ago.
Lord Price said:
Argentina and Colombia are Latin America’s third and fourth largest economies respectively. If we are to improve our exports to Latin America, it’s vital that we not only build stronger trade ties with traditional trading partners like Colombia, but build on renewed relationships like that with Argentina.
The growing economies of Latin America offer huge opportunity for British business and that’s why I want to see real progress on an EU-Mercosur free trade agreement.
Forming part of the Mercosur bloc of 4 countries, Argentina represents a market of over 43 million people. The EU has long been negotiating a free trade agreement with the group of countries with negotiations first beginning in 2000.
The potential benefit to the UK economy of an EU-Mercosur free trade agreement is £2.5 billion per year and Lord Price’s visit to the region will come ahead of the EU and Mercosur exchanging offers in May as they look to progress negotiations.
His visit to Colombia saw him take a contingent of businesses covering professional services, oil and gas and healthcare. As Colombia’s second largest investor, the UK accounted for 13.2% of investment over the last decade and, according to EU figures, 2015 saw UK goods exports increase by 21.5% compared to the previous year.
Arriving in Argentina today, Lord Price is the first UK Trade Minister to do so in over 10 years. The visit follows a meeting between the Prime Minister and Argentine President, Mauricio Macri, in Davos in January 2016 as the UK and Argentina look to build a more productive relationship.
Accompanying him is a business delegation of senior executives from a range of sectors including finance, infrastructure, architecture and transport – all areas in which the UK has expertise and where Argentina could benefit as it undertakes an ambitious reform agenda.
The UK is one of Argentina’s largest trade and investment partners in Europe, and with the Argentine government embarking on an ambitious reform agenda, the UK is well placed to take advantage of the markets that are opening up.